Proper Trailer Tire Usage and Storage in Winter

November 27, 2023 by

Proper Trailer Tire Usage

Winters can be hard, and they can be especially challenging when you have a trailer to maintain. As the temperature drops, your trailer tires need even more care and attention to perform well and last long. However, where does one start? Luckily, you’ve come to the right place!

This blog post is designed as a comprehensive guide to help you understand the importance of proper trailer tire usage and storage during winter. The bitter cold can significantly impact the life and performance of your trailer tires. But don’t worry, with a few easy-to-follow tips, you can navigate this tricky season without any tire-related concerns.

Properly maintained trailer tires are not only a matter of financial savings but also your sincere contribution to road safety. Whether you’re a seasoned trailer owner seeking some smart hacks or a newbie looking for basics, you’ll find valuable insights and practical advice here. We will discuss common mistakes to avoid and provide you tips to ensure your trailer tires remain in top condition throughout the harshest winter weather. And remember, if you need any additional gear or accessories, McFarlane Trailers carries a variety of trailer interior accessories.

Essential Maintenance Tips For Winter Trailer Tire Usage

As winter approaches, it’s critical to prepare your trailer tires for the rigours of the season. Here are some maintenance tips that will help ensure your tires remain in peak condition, even in the harsh winter weather:

  • Inspect tires regularly: Regular checks for cuts, punctures, or unusual wear patterns can help detect potential problems before they lead to tire failure. An under-inflated or overly worn tire can be hazardous, particularly on icy winter roads.
  • Keep them clean: Cleaning your trailer tires after each use will help you spot signs of damage more easily and can help prolong their lifespan. Use a mild detergent and a soft-bristle brush to clean the entire tire surface, including the treads and sidewalls. Don’t forget to wash off any road salt, as it can cause corrosion and potential damage to the tire.
  • Balance and align: Proper tire balance and alignment prevent uneven wear, extending the life of your tires and improving towing performance and safety. Make a point of having your wheels balanced and aligned at least once each year, ideally before the onset of winter.
  • Use appropriate tire products: Tire dressing or tire shine products can help protect your tires from the elements, but always choose one suitable for use in cold weather. Some tire care products can actually harden or crack in freezing temperatures, so always read the product label carefully.

Keep in mind that proper tire maintenance isn’t a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process that should be carried out regularly. With persistence and the right care, you’ll ensure the longevity and performance of your trailer tires.

Understanding The Impact Of Low Temperatures On Trailer Tires

Low temperatures during winter months can have several effects on your trailer tires. The cold can lead to changes in your tire’s air pressure. Lower ambient temperatures cause air to contract, potentially leading to under-inflation. As the air within the tire condenses, it takes up less space, and the tire’s pressure decreases. Under-inflated tires can negatively affect your trailer’s fuel efficiency, handling, and tire wear, in addition to increasing the risk of a tire blowout.

Proper Inflation: The Key to Tire Longevity

Do you want your tires to last and save yourself from unnecessary repair or replacement expenses? Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Always Check Tire Pressure: Remember to consistently verify the pressure level of your tires, particularly in cold weather conditions. A hearty change in weather can cause a dramatic decrease in tire pressure.
  2. Maintain the Recommended Tire Pressure: Refer to your vehicle’s user manual for the correct tire pressure details. Always ensure your tires are inflated to that recommended number to achieve maximum safety and performance.
  3. Use a Quality Tire Pressure Gauge: An accurate tire pressure gauge is a must-have item for every trailer owner. It helps you accurately measure your tire’s pressure and maintain its optimal level.
  4. Fill Up on Cold Tires: It’s best to inflate your tires when they are cold, ideally in the early morning or after the trailer has been idle for a few hours, to get the most accurate measurement.

Pay attention to your trailer tires, keep them properly inflated, and they will serve you well wherever your journey may lead during the cold winter months.

How To Store Your Trailer Tires During Winter

Proper tire storage is a non-negotiable part of winter care for your trailer. When not road-bound, your trailer’s tires need optimal conditions to avoid damage from winter’s brutal chill and potential dry rot. To guarantee the longevity and performance of your trailer tires, heed these tire storage tips during winter.

Firstly, clean the tires properly before stowing them away. Use soapy water to clear away any dirt or grime that has accumulated on the tires, then dry them off thoroughly. Dirt and grime left on tires can degrade the rubber over time, particularly in fluctuating winter temperatures.

Next, consider the importance of tire covers. These handy tools shield your trailer’s tires from UV rays and the elements, preventing premature aging. In addition, covers can decrease the rate of oxidation, hence maintaining the tire’s integrity. At McFarlane, we offer an array of trailer tire covers suitable for winter storage.

When storing, aim to reduce the load on your tires as much as possible. The mode of storage matters too. Ideally, you should store your tires in a cool, dark place away from daylight and direct sunlight. The temperature of your storage space should also be consistent and reasonably cool to prevent the rubber from developing cracks. Highly volatile storage environments could quickly degrade your tires.

Lastly, if you can, store your tires in a vertical position. Horizontal storage can lead to flat spots, especially if the tires retain a portion of the load from the trailer during storage.

Common Mistakes to Avoid 

A common mistake when storing trailer tires for winter is neglecting to check the pressure periodically. Tires can lose pressure over time and more rapidly in colder temperatures even when not in use. Another misstep is storing your trailer with the parking brake engaged, which can cause the brake pads to freeze to the drums or discs.

Keeping your trailer tires in top condition isn’t complicated—it just requires a bit of diligence and attention to detail. Following these tips will ensure your trailer tires are ready to roll once the weather begins to warm up.

Common Signs Of Tire Damage In Cold Weather

If you are using your trailer in the winter months, familiarizing yourself with the common signs of tire damage brought about by low temperatures is essential. This knowledge will enable you to promptly address any tire issues and prevent further damage.

Cold Crack Damage: This is one of the most common types of winter tire damage. Cold crack damage happens when the temperature drops so significantly that the rubber in your tires begins to stiffen and crack. Signs of cold crack damage include tiny splits or ‘checks’ in the sidewall rubber and, in severe cases, can progress to larger cracks.

Pressure Loss: Exposure to cold weather leads to a reduction in tire pressure. While some fluctuation in tire pressure is normal as temperatures change, consistent and sharp loss of pressure can indicate a problem. Keep an eye out for visibly deflated tires and an increased tendency to swerve or pull to one side.

Increased Wear: Cold temperatures can cause tires to harden and become less flexible, leading to increased wear, especially if you’re frequently driving on icy or rough surfaces. You may notice that tread depth decreases more quickly or uneven wear patterns develop.

Remember: Regular inspection of your trailer tires is a must, even more so during winter. Any changes in your tires’ performance, looks, or feel should be closely monitored to catch potential damage early on and ensure maximum tire longevity.

Tire Damage SignWhat to Look ForWhat To Do
Cold Crack DamageTiny splits in the sidewall rubber, larger cracks.Seek professional inspection or replacement as necessary.
Pressure LossVisibly deflated tires, tendency to swerve or pull to one side.Maintain proper tire inflation regularly.
Increased WearDecreased tread depth, uneven wear patterns.Monitor your tire performance and consider using tire covers when not in use.


Tire Care Is Critical In Winter Months

In conclusion, proper trailer tire care during winter is critical. It encompasses a good understanding of how low temperatures affect your tires, maintaining proper inflation for increased tire longevity, following essential maintenance precautions when using your trailer, and knowing the best methods to store your trailer tires in colder months.

Avoiding common mistakes and being able to identify signs of tire damage could be the determining factor in prolonging the life of your tires amidst frosty weather conditions. McFarlane is your one-stop shop for all your trailer maintenance needs and tire covers, providing just the ideal solution for safeguarding your trailer tires against the harsh winter.

So, contact McFarlane Trailer Sales and Service to stay informed and keep your trailer tires in top-notch condition even as the mercury drops!