When I did a web search on "Goodyear Trailer Tires" one thing that struck me was the number of reports which people had made complaining of poor performance for the Marathon design which is typical of the company's trailer tires.
In many years of making adjustments for Goodyear tires, I never once had to deal with any complaints for faulty performance of trailer tires, but I have some ideas of how many of the problems I read about on the internet might have been prevented.
You see, these Goodyear trailer tires are used primarily on utility trailers, boat trailers and fifth-wheel vehicles, all of which are not used as regularly as the family car or even the vehicle which is used for towing them. This means, that they might not get the same degree of care and attention as the vehicle and, even more importantly possibly the owner isn't aware of the special needs of a tire when used in these kinds of applications.
What I'm saying is that any brand of trailer tire is likely to give disappointing performance unless certain basic steps are taken ... and that is what I plan to show you now.
First let's look at the amount of service life you get from your tires. This, is directly related to how your tires are used and stored. Things such as how evenly you load your trailer, the weight of your cargo, tire inflation pressure, how fast or slow you drive, whether you’re driving in the mountains or not and the types of terrain you drive on all have an effect on your tires.
Because these conditions vary widely, it’s impossible to predict how long your tires will last. But, if you take care of your tires and try to control the service conditions as much as possible, you efforts will pay off in longer tire life.
Keeping your trailer tires properly inflated is the single most important thing you can do to enhance performance and help extend the life of your tires.
Improper inflation can cause issues and stress for the tire:
Now that you understand how important it is to maintain proper inflation pressure in your trailer's tires, you need to know when and how often to check it. Here are some recommendations:
Always check your tires when they are cold and haven’t been driven more than one mile.
The load capacity for a given cold inflation pressure is based on surrounding outside temperatures. The pressure in a hot tire may be as much as 10 to 15 psi higher than the cold tire pressure, so you will only get an accurate reading when you check your tires when they’re cold.
To help make sure your tire pressure readings are accurate, it is a good idea use a quality truck tire gauge with a dual-angled head. This way, you can check inner and outer dual wheels at the same time, if you have them.
Here's something you'll not hear about very widely, even among professional drivers. All tires which are designed to carry a load have a working radius, which you can discover in a table of tire specifications which your dealer can likely provide, if you ask for it. It will look something like the following one which I adapted from the Goodyear Trailer Tires specifications guide.
See the number I've circled in red on the first line? This tells you that if you have this tire fully loaded with the correct amount of air in it for the weight being carried, it will measure 11.2 inches from the center of the axle to the road.
That's if the trailer is fully loaded and the tire has the correct pressure. If you find that the distance is greater, you need to let out some air, if the distance is less, you need to add air.
Now, the practical way to use this is to load up your trailer and then adjust the pressure so that you have this distance. Take a stick, or a piece of 1/2" plastic PVC pipe and mark it with exactly this length. Then, each time you change your load, pull out the stick and compare the height of the wheel's axle to the mark you've made.
Normally, you'd let air out when your load is less, so that you won't be over-inflated, and add air when you increase the load, so that you won't be under-inflated. Under ideal conditions you want to keep this distance always the same.
If you're a professional driver you likely know about load balancing and distribution. If you use a trailer only occasionally, it's something you may have never even thought about, but can make a big difference both in the way a trailer handles and the way it's tires wear.
The trick in load distribution is to do everything you can to make sure that each tire carries the same amount of weight. If you have a load which is much heavier on the left side, that tire is going to work a lot harder and be subject to a lot more stress than the one on the other side.
Also turning and lane changing, especially a higher speeds is another way in which tire can be subjected to increased stress.
One final note is that almost all ST or Specialty Trailer tires are designed to be driven at --or below-- a certain speed. In the case of the Marathon tires in the chart above it is 65mph. None of these tires are designed to be operated at the speed which passenger car tires are designed and exceeding the design speed can have a seriously detrimental effect on their performance and life.
None of what I've told you is rocket-science, but if you follow these tips and ideas I'm sure your Goodyear trailer tires, or any other brand will give you a much more satisfactory service than you'd get otherwise.
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