Trailer Tires vs. Light Truck Tires
Choosing the best tires for your trailer, 5th wheel, or recreational vehicle should be carefully done. You have to carefully make your choice and study all your options, so your ultimate choice will be one, which is perfectly suitable not only for your rig but also for the normal conditions and situations that it is constantly exposed to.
In this case, two of your options are the trailer tire and the light truck tires. Find out which between the two can handle your needs the most by having a comparison of trailer tires vs. light truck tires. By comparing the two, you will get a clearer idea about which one can provide you with the highest level of satisfaction.
Trailer Tires Definition
If you are thinking of getting a trailer tire then note that it actually refers to that, which is designed in such a way that it can handle trailer-position axles only. It is not designed for use on steering or drive axles. In most cases, you can see these tires being developed with bigger polyester cords than the others.
It also features stiffer sidewalls as a means of boosting its strength while improving its ability to handle the stress often linked to high-load capacities. In comparison to the standard passenger tires often utilized in tow vehicles that are mainly created to offer more traction, the trailer tire is created with durability in mind.
This is a major help in allowing it to handle the wear and tear often associated with extended towing. Also, take note that the trailer tire often features strengthened sidewalls that are used in preventing the tire from rolling beneath the rims in case of turns and during the time when it is cornering.
Furthermore, all trailer tires often boast of a max 65 mph speed rating. They also make use of materials that can handle the high demands and load requirements that can often be expected from a towing trailer.
Light Truck Tires Definition
A light truck tire, on the other hand, is designed in such a way that it is stronger when compared to passenger car tires. However, when you compare it to its trailer tire counterparts, you will instantly notice that it is less durable and more flexible, making it prone to blowouts and swaying.
It should be noted that one common definition of a light truck tire is any size or line of a tire, which is typically applicable to a light truck – ex. van, SUV, and pickup. However, you can also see it being used in recreational vehicles sometimes. It is not generally used on utility trailers, though.
It is mainly because as a kind of passenger tire, it does not have a thicker sidewall just like what is provided in a trailer tire. It should be noted that a thick sidewall is often essential in ensuring that the tire will be able to handle a higher amount of vertical load. Still, many consider light truck tires beneficial.
One major benefit that people enjoy about this tire is that it comes with a high-speed restriction. In fact, it can go over 65 mph, which is higher than what the trailer tire can usually offer.
For you to distinguish the two, though, consider checking out the letters preceding the number set found on their sidewall. You will know that a tire is a special trailer tire if it starts with the letters ST. Light trucks tires, on the other hand, start with the letters LT.
More often than not, the trailer tire has a max speed rating of 65 mph. Note that traveling at a speed, which is higher than what’s rated will cause the tire to fail. It causes the buildup of heat, which will eventually lead to tire failure and fatigue. That’s why if you use a trailer tire then ensure that you do not go beyond its max speed rating.
However, you can also do something to make it handle more than that rating. If you intend to use it at around 66 to 75 mph speed then you can do that but you still have to make sure that you raise its cold inflation pressure by around 10 psi over the pressure recommended for the max load rating.
By increasing such pressure, it will not supply additional load carrying capacity. Ensure, though, that the added pressure does not go beyond 10 psi over the specified inflation for the max tire load.
As for the light truck tire, note that it can give users with a max speed rating of more than 65 mph. With that, it is no longer surprising to see it being used in recreational vehicles and some trailers from time to time.
Additional Information on Your Tires
The DOT code is used by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to track tire production for recall purposes. If a tire proves to be defective, this number helps keep track of where these tires ended up so buyers can be notified of the problem. At the end of the DOT code you’ll find a four-digit number. This is the manufacturing date of the tire. The first two digits stand for the week; the other two are the year. For example, if your tire had “1613” listed, it was manufactured on the 16th week of 2013.
If you come across a three-digit number, you have a tire that was manufactured before 2000. A DOT tire code of “127” indicates the tire was made on the 12th week of the seventh year of the decade. But it’s difficult to know whether that was 1997 or even 1987. According to tirerack.com, some tires produced in the 1990s may have a small triangle following the DOT number to identify the decade. But any tire that has a three-digit code is history. Tire experts recommend that you replace tires that are six or more years old, regardless of their tread depth.
Sometimes the DOT number will be located on the inside of the tire. In this case, you can either jack up the car to inspect it, or check with your local mechanic or tire shop. You should also make a habit of checking the manufacturing date on your spare tire as well.
Maximum Air Pressure
This number refers to the maximum amount of air you can put in a tire before you harm it. It is not the recommended tire pressure; that number can be found in your owner’s manual and on the doorjamb.
A traction rating can also be found on the sidewall of all modern tires. It can be represented as AA, A, B or C. This is a rating of a tire’s traction when tested for straight-line braking on a wet surface. For this rating, AA signifies the best traction performance and C indicates the worst.
The temperature rating refers to the ability of the tire to withstand heat at high speeds. The ratings, from best to worst, are: A, B and C.
Finally, you might find the word “TREADWEAR” on the sidewall followed by a number like 120 or 180. This is a rating of the tread’s durability, as tested against an industry standard. The reference number is 100, so a tire with a treadwear rating of 200 has a predicted tread life that’s twice as long as the industry standard, while a rating of 80 means a predicted tread life that’s only 80 percent as long as the industry standard.
How to Use a Truck Tire Patch Kit
Following the step-by-step instructions described below will help you to complete the task of truck tire repair successfully:
Identify the punctured spot
The first step is to find out the spot that is leaking the air. If you see a sharp object such as a nail, spoke, or something else pierced into the tire, remove it by using the pliers.
However, sometimes it becomes a little difficult to find out the leak. In that case, mix a small amount of dish soap into water and brush the mixture onto the tire. You’ll see bubbles coming out of the leaking area.
You may need to remove the tire if the puncture is located somewhere where it’s not possible to reach with the tire attached to the truck.
Probe the Puncture
Now, it’s time to use the puncture probe. Pour a couple of drops of rubber cement or sealant on the tip of the probe tool. The use of sealant will lubricate the hole and act as adhesive for the plug.
Insert the tool into the puncture and then take out. Repeat the process for a couple of times with applying adhesive each time. It will widen the hole and clean it out.
Insert the Tire Plug
Hold a tire plug with the tire holder and see if the plug fits into the needle eye of the tool. Apply a few drops of sealant to the end of the tool and insert the plug into the hole. You may use some force to do it properly.
Insert the entire plug except for about ¼-inch. Remove the holder tool while the plug is still inside the tire. Cut the excess part of the plug with scissors.
Inflate the Tire
As you are now done with the patching work, it’s time to inflate the tire. Fill it with air at the correct pressure level and see if any air is leaking through the patched hole.
Tire Blowout Risks and Driver Safety
Any type of vehicular tire blowout is scary. But a tire accident involving a passenger car is not the same as an accident where a 50,000-pound truck is involved.
You can still protect yourself if you are involved where a truck tire is blown out by using some of the tips provided in this article. Imagining or understanding some of the risks that may be involved is important. The worst cases involve the following scenarios.
- Truck Driver Losing Control
- Flying Debris and Loosened Cargo
- Other Driver Panic
- Truck Rollover
The best way to protect yourself from a situation that involves an emergency situation like this is to prevent over-reactive steering and braking to a stop immediately.
Typical Tire Blowout Causes
- Poor maintenance – It is up to trucking companies to keep a regular maintenance schedule, ensuring their vehicles meet certain safety requirements and are fit to be driven and transport materials. If a company does not take its maintenance obligations seriously, the fleet can quickly deteriorate and put other drivers in danger every time a semi hits the road.
- Improper tire inflation – When a truck’s tires are over-inflated or under-inflated, they are not safe. An over-inflated tire puts too much pressure on the tire itself and can bring it to the point of exploding. An under-inflated tire can explode when heat fills the empty space inside and causes the air to expand.
- Roadway hazards – Sometimes, even when a trucking company keeps their trucks properly maintained and follows all of the rules, a truck can still have a tire blowout. If a road is in disrepair,
has potholes, or the pavement is uneven, tires can be damaged.
Where to Turn for Help If You’re Injured
There are even more reasons that a truck tire blowout can occur, so if you’ve been the victim of a truck accident caused by a tire blowout, it may be in your best interest to seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney. Take a look at some of Attorney Steve Lee’s case results and see how he’s been able to help injury victims just like you.