Trailer tires usually need to be replaced on a time, not mileage, basis. Most people don’t put a huge number of miles on their trailers. They tend to sit more than not. 5 years of age is the general consensus to replace trailer tires whether you think they need them or not.
We purchased our trailer in Jan of 2013 and were told that it was on the lot for 6 months prior to that. There is 3 years of tire life right there. Additionally we put on over 12000 miles in our first 2 years. After I got my new truck I had some issues in getting the load equalization just right. The last trip (Casini) I noticed that the front of the trailer was riding a bit high and I also was running a bit under pressure on the tires. This turned out to be a bad combination. I could see pretty bad tire wear on the back tires, the ones that were carrying more weight since the front was higher. Time to do some research.
Here is a picture of the old tires/wheels. Look at the right two and you can see the bad wear pattern. It looked even worse up close.
Trailer tires are under the ST designation which means they have stiffer sidewalls to handle the stress during sharp turning maneuvers. A couple of years ago other Airstreamers started researching using light truck (LTX) tires instead of trailer tires. There was, and may still be, a rash of tire failures with Goodyear Marathons (one of the most popular trailer tires). Airstream continued to use Marathons until just recently. Marathons used 15″ wheels to handle the load ranges. But with the LTX tires it requires an upgrade of the wheels also to 16″ wheels. This is the new combination Airstream is using.
I settled on getting the Sendel T03-66655T wheels and Michelin LTX M/S 2 tires. I know what I want so time to find them. I could go mail order but local is always preferable. A new tire store (America’s Tire) had just opened in town. This is a very large national chain and known as Discount Tire is some locations. This is a huge plus. They obviously had the Michelin’s in stock but had to order the wheels which took about 3 weeks. Their price was a very reasonable $100/wheel which included shipping. The total for 4 wheels, tires, mounting, balancing was $1300. Additionally by using their 9 months interest free financing I received $130 in Visa gift cards.
Installation was easy also. I took the trailer to the tire store and ‘convinced’ them to let me use my Trailer Aide to change the tires one by one instead of their jacks. 30 minutes later we were done. Before and after:
Since they are now 16″ wheels the trailer now sits just a tad higher. Time to adjust my equalization again!
Two more items to worry about are UV protection and cat spray! Tires should be protected from UV exposure especially when they are just sitting, as ours does a lot at home (unfortunately). One thing I have always done is to park the tires on plywood that sits on our concrete pad (you can see this below). I have heard that this will avoid the leaching qualities of concrete. Might be true, might not, but it doesn’t hurt. I wanted to protect these new tires from these two problems and I had purchased those tire covers from Camping World. However their quality is not very good and I cut my hands from exposed screws in the wheel well.
Here is my solution:
Just some simple pieces of plywood that sit in front of the tires and are tall enough to be above the top trim of the wheel well. Easy to remove and install, especially with the finger holes. I will just have to paint them now.
I am pretty sure I will be very happy with these tires and wheels.