Trailer & Caravan Tyres

Trailer and Caravan Tyres


How to choose, use and maintain your wheels

Choosing the best tyres for your trailer or caravan may seem like a no-brainer, but there's a bit more to understand than you might think.

Contrary to popular belief, the tyres on your tow-behind work quite differently to those on regular car tyres. They're designed to support the weight of your caravan or the load in your trailer and to keep you, the driver, and others on the road as safe as possible.

If you're not sure what you should be looking for when it comes to trailer tyres or wheels for your caravan, keep reading.

What are trailer or caravan tyres?

Trailer tyres and caravan tyres are wheels specially designed to support excess weight and to maximize safety on the road when you're towing.

To reduce swerving, these tyres can't be steered and are unable to brake.

There are different types of tyres depending on the weight you are planning to tow and the terrain you are planning to drive across.

The wrong tyre can increase fuel consumption, your chances of a blowout, and the risk of vehicle instability.

You may not realize it, but the choice you make when it comes to your caravan or trailer tyres is a crucial safety consideration.

If in doubt, a technician from a nearby JAX Tyres & Auto store can help you identify the most appropriate tyre.

Trailer tyres

The most important thing to consider when it comes to trailer tyres is the load rating. This rating must be appropriate for the size and weight of your trailer.

Fitting the wrong rims or tyres can lead to serious damage to your trailer. It also puts you and others on the road at higher risk of an accident.

Are trailer tyres different to car tyres?

Cars and trailers use different types of tyres. This is because they have completely different functions.

Car tyres are designed with comfort and traction in mind. This allows your car to increase speed, brake and turn corners.

Trailer tyres are designed with cargo and stability in mind.

This means that your trailer tyres are not suitable for your car and vice versa.

Caravan tyres

If you're planning a trip away and getting ready to dust off your caravan, it's a wise idea to check your tyres.

Caravan tyres are responsible for carrying extremely heavy loads.

In some cases caravans carry up to 1,500kg per tyre - that's roughly double the pressure of your average car. This makes it incredibly important that you have the correct tyres fitted.

Can you put car tyres on a caravan?

The excess weight of your caravan means putting car tyres on caravans is not recommended. To maintain your safety and the safety of others, always ensure proper caravan tyres are fitted.

Tyre Inflation

It is important that all caravan/trailer/boat trailer tyres are correctly inflated for the applied load. Under-inflated tyres are at much higher risk of sudden rapid deflation which leads to loss of vehicle control.

How to check your caravan or trailer tyres

You can check your tyres by looking for signs of damage or deterioration and by reading the information on the wheels. If in doubt, always book in with a professional for a complete tyre check. An expert will be able to quickly and easily inspect your trailer or caravan tyres on all aspects of function and safety.

Important Trailer /Caravan Tyre Safety terms

Important Trailer/Caravan Tyre Safety Terms: Load Index, Speed Symbol, MTPLM, Tyre Wear Indicators

Load Index: A number marked on your tyres that refers to the maximum load they can carry when traveling at maximum speed.

Speed Symbol: The maximum speed a tyre can safely carry at its maximum load.

MTPLM (Maximum Technically Permitted Laden Mass): The maximum authorized weight of a caravan or trailer.

TWI: Tread Wear Indicators: A visual indicator located on the tyre to show you when the tread is worn and the tyre needs to be replaced.

Do I need a spare tyre for my caravan or trailer?

It is highly recommended that you carry a spare tyre for your caravan or trailer as it is unlikely that your car's spare will be a suitable replacement if you encounter a puncture on the road.

Tips for safe towing

  • Always use the correct tyres
  • Regularly check your tyres or have a professional check for signs of damage and ensure they are in good condition
  • Routinely check and maintain your tyre pressure
  • Drive within speed limits
  • Avoid quick movements on the road such as sudden overtaking, lane changes or swerving
  • Get familiar with the caravan/trailer manufacturer guidelines

Trailer tyres are not suitable for your car and vice versa. Car tyres are designed for comfort and traction. Trailer tyres are designed for cargo and stability.

How long do trailer/caravan tyres last?

Generally speaking, trailer and caravan tyres should be replaced every 5 years. Even if the tyres appear to be in good condition they should be double-checked by a professional who will be able to inspect for hidden damage and ensure they are functioning at their best.

  • When was the last time you had your trailer/caravan tyres checked?
  • Has it been five years or more?
  • Don't take risks on the road, book in with an expert today.

At JAX we stock trailer and caravan tyres in all common sizes from 13" and up, from leading brands including Bridgestone, Goodyear, Hankook, and more.

Do caravans need special tyres?

The short answer is yes: the tyres on your tow-behind work differently from those on regular car tyres.

They’re designed to support the weight or load of your trailer and keep you safe on the road when towing. The modern radial caravan tyres have steel ‘belts’ to ensure less tread movement when braking and accelerating. It also has flexible sidewalls, allowing even tread contact during cornering. Caravans tend to come with Light Truck (LT) or Commerical (C) tyres.

How often do I need to change caravan tyres?

Generally speaking, trailer and caravan tyres should be replaced every five years and should never be used if they exceed seven years. However, did you know that a tyre’s age starts from when manufacturers made it and not when it was fitted? This is because tyres deteriorate not just from mileage but factors such as:

  • Sunlight: Exposure to sunlight and the atmosphere affect a tyre’s longevity
  • Minor impacts: Caravan tyres are susceptible to fatigue from minor hits that they receive daily due to their large load.
  • Storage time: If a caravan is stored for an extended period, the tyre can receive uneven wear from not being spun.

Caravan tyres bought new come with approximately 8mm of tread. It’s also important to keep an eye on the tread depth of your tyres. You should replace caravan tyres if they’re past 1.6mm.

Even if the tyres appear in good condition, you should have them checked by a professional who will inspect them for hidden damage.

Do caravan wheels need balancing?

Wheel balancing corrects uneven distribution of weight. And caravan wheels, just like your everyday car, need to have balanced wheels to operate the way manufacturers designed them to be. Imbalance in your wheels can lead to a variety of factors:

  • Longevity: If your wheel is out of balance, every revolution will place more stress on our bearings. But by getting your tyres balanced approximately every 8,000kms -10,000kms, you can extend your wheel's lifespan and improve their performance.
  • Shock absorber wear: Similar to its effect on your bearings, imbalanced wheels can increase pressure on your shock absorbers and lead to scalloped tyres.
  • Uncomfortable ride: the imbalance can cause your tyres to wear down at different rates, leading to a bumping ride.

On the other hand, balancing your wheels will lead to better fuel economy, a smoother ride, protect your vehicle's suspension, and extend your tyres' life.

How often do I need to change my trailer tyres?

Your trailer tyres help carry your weight or loaded cargo. To do so safely, you need to maintain specific characteristics. It helps to inspect your tyres before you use them, every time.

As you do so, keep in mind the following:

  • Tyre tread: Your tyre tread provides the grip and traction needed to keep your trailer from sliding around on the road. If your tyres are worn to the tread-wear indicators (TWI), you must replace them. Tyre wear indicators are positioned at equal distances around the tyre. The symbol TWI may locate them in the very upper part of the sidewall in the shoulder area where that meets the start of the tread pattern. As a general rule of thumb, the minimum tread depth is 1.6mm. You should also look out for signs of uneven wear patterns.
  • Cracks and punctures: Cracks and punctures can create spaces that allow air to escape from your tyres. Reduced air pressure can lead to a blowout or worse. If you notice a crack or puncture in your tyre, have the tyres examined by JAX Tyres & Auto, as the damage may be more severe than it appears.
  • Age: Age is a significant factor to consider when determining whether to replace your trailer tyres. A general rule of thumb is to get them replaced every five years. However, tyres can age prematurely due to exposure to sunlight, excessive speed, improper loading, and exposure to high temperatures.
Do you need special tyres for a vehicle trailer?

Manufacturers designed car tyres to be on a lead vehicle, so they are designed to be thick to maintain traction on slippery roads and sharp turns. On the other hand, trailer tyres are designed to accommodate the sway that trailers experience. This is why it's essential to get the right tyres for your trailer.

Special Trailer (ST) tyres have still sidewalls that help prevent your two vehicles from swaying. They have a heavy-duty load capacity to accommodate an extra 40% weight over passenger (P) tyres. Finally, their shallower tread means they wiggle less to improve your overall fuel economy and lower your excess heat.

What is the legal tyre tread on a trailer tyre?

In Australia, cars, light vans and light trailers legally have to have a tread depth of at least 1.6 mm across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference. Anything below is considered unroadworthy.

Your tread depth helps keep your vehicle from slipping and sliding around on the road. Leaving it to the minimum allowable depth could put you and your passengers in unnecessary danger. At JAX Tyres, we recommend having your tyres replaced at around 3mm of tread rather than waiting for the minimum allowable depth.

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