Trials And Tribulations Of Trailer Tires
Trailers are unsung heroes. Like a rental car, they are ignored until needed, abused while in use, and then parked and forgotten till the next time they're needed. And if trailers are used and abused then their tires get the worst of it: drug over curbs, scrubbed through tight turns, and punched into rocks, potholes, and whatever else comes between home and the trail.
In the world of trailers, tires live the rough life, but we have two different sets of trailer tires you need to know about. Both are actually commercial truck tires that have been put into trailer duty. There are, however, dedicated trailer tires available, but we'll save that test for a future issue. One set (Goodyear) is coming off after many thousands of miles of abuse-er, we mean use-and one set (BFGoodrich) is going on and is destined for the same tough love. The Goodyears thoroughly impressed us and we're hoping the BFGs can match that feat.
Goodyear 949 RSA
After many thousands of miles of testing and three years of abuse it's time to replace the Goodyear 949 RSA commercial truck tires that we've been running on our heavy red trailer. These Load Range E LT235/85R16 tires have taken uncalled-for abuse and kept coming back for more.
Every tire on the trailer has a wound from nails or debris and sidewall grooves (usually caused when the trailer springs break and the axle shifts, causing the tire to rub the frame). Even the spare tire has a cut in it from when a loaded vehicle rubbed into it. Amazingly, they all still held air. The Goodyear 949 RSAs have a heavy Armor Max sidewall with a reinforced steel shoulder and sidewall for a long casing life. In fact, if we didn't have so many sidewall gashes these tires would have been perfect for retreading, and even longer service under our trailer. These would currently be our first choice in trailer tires.
Bfgoodrich Commercial T/A Traction
The BFGoodrich Commercial T/A Traction tires we recently installed on our trailer are also Load Range E and intended for commercial trucks. Before we even mounted these tires we noticed they seemed lighter than the Goodyears, which is good for unsprung weight, but they may have a thinner sidewall.
The BFGs have a more aggressive tread and can even have snow studs installed if you desire. They are designed for mud and snow, though we've seen little of that with our trailer since installing them a few months back. They did make the trip to Moab and back without a single issue, so we're interested to see if they can survive our abuse as well as the Goodyears have.