How to Check Your Tandem Axle Trailer for Bad TiresOctober 19, 2019 by Kyle McFarlane
Your tires may not be the most glamorous part of your tandem axle trailer, but they are the rubber that keeps your load on the road. Good tires are paramount if you want to tow safely and many people do not pay enough attention to their tires. The top causes of tire damage are overloading, excessive speed and prolonged exposure to sunlight, extreme temperatures and moisture but there are other factors that also play a significant role in the lifespan of your tires.
THE AGE OF YOUR TIRES IS IMPORTANT
Your tires may not be showing signs of wear and tear yet and there may be no obvious indication that you need new tires, but trailer tires are designed to only last for five years. Regardless of how little mileage you put on your tires, you should automatically replace them after five years. That said, after three years approximately one-third of your tire strength is lost so if you use your tandem axle trailer often, consider replacing the tires every three years even if they still have adequate tread depth.
INCORRECT TIRE PRESSURE DAMAGES YOUR TIRES
Inflating your tires correctly is essential to making sure that your trailer is stable on the road and that you don’t have a blowout. Your tires always need to be properly inflated and the best way to ensure that the tire pressure on your tandem axle trailer is correct is to use a handheld pressure gauge. You can easily keep a small pressure gauge in your tow vehicle and test your tires before you leave home. You should check the tire pressure when the tires are cold. If you want to know what your tire pressure should be you can find the information on the sidewall of the tire.
WEAR PATTERNS ON YOUR TIRES CAN TELL YOU A LOT
While you are down there checking your tire pressure, also look for baldness and signs of wear and tear. The wear pattern of your tires can tell you a lot. If your tires are bald in the center then they are overinflated, if they are bald on the outer edges they are underinflated and if they are entirely bald then they have reached the end of their lifespan and need to be replaced immediately. You also need to look out for bulges, cracks, punctures, cuts and flat spots, and don’t forget to check the valve stem for cracks.
The wear pattern on your tires can also be indicative of other problems with your trailer. Many trailers have issues with their axles because they work hard and are often driven over rough terrain. Checking your axle alignment is a specialized job that can take a bit of time but a quick look at your tires can tell you if things are not as they should be. If you know that your tire pressure is always correct, then baldness on the outer edges of your tires can mean that you have a bent axle or spindle. If you have baldness on both the outside and inside edges of your tires, then alignment could be an issue.
The wear pattern can also tell you if you are regularly overloading your trailer. If your tires are only bald on the inside edges, then your trailer frame could be warped. This is a common problem caused by overloading and if you are driving around with a tandem axle trailer that has a warped frame, bent axle or bald tires, it is a threat to both your safety and that of other road users.
If you want to tow safely and make sure that your trailer lasts a long time, then you need to pay close attention to your tires. You need to check your tire pressure regularly, look at the wear patterns and replace your tires every five years at least. At McFarlane’s, we can advise you on all your trailer needs and makes sure that your trailer remains safely on the road.