Tires are a crucial component of any vehicle and your utility trailer is no different. While a worn or flat tire can mean a loss of revenue, more importantly, it can cause serious injury or death if neglected for too long.
At Camco Wheel & Axle, we want our customers and drivers to stay safe, and the easiest way to do that is to take good care of your utility trailer and its parts – especially its tires. In order to better protect your field personnel, and to extend the life of your utility trailer, consider the following tire safety guidelines.
Adhere to the speed limitations recommended by the manufacturers of both your trailer and tires.
Determine your utility trailer’s load limit.
Maintain Tire Pressure
Utility trailers require a specific type of tire in order to perform their basic tasks in a safe and optimum fashion. Special trailer (ST) tires are designed to be used for utility trailers. These tires are equipped with a stronger sidewall than the normal tires you would find on a passenger vehicle, ensuring that they can handle higher air pressure and heavier loads.
When it comes to delivering heavy loads with your utility trailer, high speeds can be the quickest way to destroy your tires. A tire blowout at high speeds can easily cause an accident. While risk your life and those of your passengers and other commuters? Follow the recommended guidelines to stay safe on the roads.
Each ST has specifications and limitations detailed on their sidewall. It is best for tires that were manufactured before 2015 to stay under 65 mph.
There are two very important ratings that are detailed on the VIN/label of your utility trailer. The first one is your Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and the second is your Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR). The GVWR is the maximum weight that a fully loaded trailer should ever weigh. For instance, if your GVWR indicates that the maximum weight of your fully loaded trailer should not exceed 10,000 pounds, don’t load 10,001 pounds of weight on to it.
Also, don’t forget that the weight of the trailer should also be included in your measurements. Use a public scale to weigh your trailer and take that number into consideration when loading your utility trailer.
The GAWR is the maximum weight that the axle, or axles, can withstand, with each axle GAWR recommendation provided on the label. The weights of the vehicle pulling it, passengers, the trailer tongue weight, and cargo are all distributed between the two axles. Should the weight exceed the GVWR or the GAWR recommendations, it could cause the tires to flex in an unnatural way. This, in turn, can cause the air pressure within the affected tire to heat up, causing the tire to fail.
There can’t be too much or too little air pressure within a tire. It has to be just right. There are a few things to consider when it comes to the pressure levels of your tires including:
- Has the weather been really hot or cold in your area lately?
- How much weight have you been towing lately?
- Are you properly loading your trailer?
- When was the last time you filled your tires with air?
- Has the trailer been in storage for a while?
Taking these questions into consideration can help you determine the wear and tear done to your tires. For instance, the weight of the utility trailer itself can cause the tires to lose pressure if it has sat idle for a while. It’s also worth noting that cold weather lowers tire pressure while hot weather can increase it – both of which can cause tire failure.
Improper weight distribution on your trailer can leave one tire with a lower level of pressure in comparison to the other, causing the trailer to tilt and increasing the risk of a blowout. One other thing to consider is that there is such a thing as too much air pressure. Over inflating your utility trailer tires can heat up the inside of a tire, making a blowout imminent.
Ultimately, regulating your tire pressure at a proper level will extend the life of your tires.
Tire Balance and Wheel Alignment
Properly balanced and aligned tires provide for a smoother ride than if they weren’t. An imbalanced or misaligned tire can cause the entire vehicle to noticeably vibrate or shake. This will make driving your vehicle towing your cargo much harder as the utility trailer will be pulling everything to the left or right.
Proper alignment and balance are crucial to a stable drive while in transit. If your tires are off balance internally or if the tread is wearing down on one side of your tire, it may be time to bring in your utility trailer to our specialists here at Camco.
Practice Regular Tire Maintenance
A simple tire balance and/or rotation can solve your problems for a misaligned or unbalanced tire. It will smooth out your drive while making sure that your cargo remains in your utility trailer; not dumped on the side of the road or worse.
Make repairs to any tires that have holes punched into their thread, even if the effects can’t be seen. These tears can grow worse, eventually leading to tire failure. A simple patch can save you money and ensure your safety further down the road, so to speak. If the hole was punched into the sidewall, the tire must be replaced.
Check up on the trailer tire’s tread while you’re at it. The tread is what keeps the tire on the road, and if it has some wear on it, it could cause the trailer to slip and slide. One neat trick you can use to see if your tire tread is too low is to take a penny and insert it into the tread groove with Lincoln facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tire.
For all your utility trailer parts and needs, Camco Wheel & Axle is here for you. We provide utility trailer servicing and can answer any questions you may have regarding utility trailer safety.
Do you need to replace parts on your utility trailer? Is it time for your fleet to have routine maintenance? Contact Camco Wheel & Axle at (956) 781-4800 today, and let’s get you back on the road to safety and success.