Tips for Maintaining Trailer & Tow Vehicle Tires from Cargo Express
When you’re hauling a cargo trailer, everything is riding on your tires—literally. Poor tire maintenance can lead to problems like flats, blowouts, and other reasons for premature replacement. Tire abnormalities can also affect the smoothness and safety of your ride—doubly important when you’re towing cargo. Also, poorly inflated or maintained trailer tires can be a drag on fuel efficiency.
Fortunately, you can prevent most tire wear and safety problems by choosing the best tires for your trailer and tow vehicle, and by maintaining them properly.
Most Cargo Express trailers come with radial tires. Radials track better and provide a smoother ride without sacrificing durability. But keep in mind—your tow vehicle’s tires are important, too. Here are some of the most important elements of tire maintenance for both your cargo trailer and your tow vehicle:
Air pressure – It’s important to keep the tires of your vehicle and cargo trailer at the recommended pressure. Proper air pressure allows the tires to wear evenly, promotes better gas mileage, and improves your ride. Under-inflation causes the tire tread to wear more on the outside while over-inflated tires cause more wear on the center of the tread. The owner’s manual of your cargo trailer and your vehicle will tell you the proper tire pressure. You can check it with a simple tire gauge from a store that carries automotive equipment.
Tread – Your tires’ tread is what helps it make good contact with the road, giving you traction and shedding water on wet roads. You can gauge the tread easily with a couple of coins. Take a quarter and a penny. Insert the quarter into several places in the tread, with Washington’s head facing in. If the top of his head disappears into the tread, the tire has at least 4/32” of tread, which is fine for continued use. If you can see the top of his head, the tire is too worn for continued safety. Now take the penny and do the same thing, using Lincoln’s head as the measure. In this case, if you can see above Lincoln’s head your tires have less than 2/32” of tread, which is below the legal minimum and means you should replace that tire right away.
Balance – When you purchase a new cargo trailer or vehicle, the tires will be balanced. Balancing minimizes uneven wear and tear and can extend the life of the tires. If you need to replace a tire due to a blow-out or other damage, make sure you have the tires balanced at the same time.
Alignment – Wheel alignment keeps the vehicle or trailer moving straight (not pulling to one side). In cargo trailers, misaligned axles can cause one or more tires to skid along the road, which damages the tire and plays havoc with the load balance and drivability. Learn to check the alignment yourself or, if you suspect misalignment, see your mechanic or Cargo Express dealer.
Driver awareness – Get into the habit of frequently making a visual inspection of your tires to catch abnormalities like uneven wear, bare spots, and deflation before they become big problems.
Also take note of abnormalities while you drive. It can be harder to detect problems in the cargo trailer’s tires than your tow vehicle but try to be aware of any pulling to one side, unusual vibration, or thumping noises. If you experience any of these and the road condition is not to blame, be sure to have your vehicle or trailer checked out as soon as possible. Troublesome noises and pulling can be signs of improper balance, unusual wear, poor alignment or even a brake problem.
Need more advice? Your Cargo Express dealer can help you with maintaining all the parts of your cargo trailer to keep you safely on the road.