The 10 Best Boat Trailer Tires of 2024 Reviewed

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Video best tires for boat trailer

When you have a boat you want to enjoy it. You want to get your pontoon boat or fishing boat out on the water. What you don’t want to be doing is worrying over the tires for the trailer that tows the boat. We’ve assembled some of the best boat trailer tires on the market to help save you some time and effort. Let’s take a look at the best boat trailer tires you can buy.

Picking the Best Boat Trailer Tire

Boat trailer tires and car or truck tires are not the same. You need to keep different things in mind when searching for boat trailer tires. You can choose the right boat trailer tire if you know what to look for. Trailer tires will need more rigid side walls. You’ll also be using them with a higher PSI than passenger car tires. And, of course, they may need to handle significant weight for extended periods. Let’s take a look at some factors to consider.

Size and Capacity

Arguably the most important factor when buying a boat trailer tire. Is it the right size? It needs to fit your trailer. And it needs to be able to handle the side of your boat. On average, a boat trailer tire is designed to handle about 1,000 lbs. You can upgrade if you have a larger boat. Or even go smaller if you have a light boat. But you need to know the total weight of your boat plus trailer to start.

Boat trailer tires have a load range denoted by a letter. You’ll see B, C, D and E tires, for instance. The higher the letter, the greater the load capacity. These also correspond to the plies of the tire. B is 4-ply, C is 6-ply, D is 8-ply and E is 10-ply. On rare occasions you may see an F as well. That would be 12-ply. Carlisle makes a 12-ply tire, for instance.

Each tire has a max load capacity. So if the load rating of you tire is 900 lbs, on a single axle your tires can handle 1800 lbs. That’s because you have 2 tires. A single axle trailer is able to hold 100% of its max capacity load. This does not hold over for a double axle trailer. When you have a double axle you’ll have 4 tires. But you need to reduce capacity by 12% when calculating the load for a double axle. Keep that in mind. Also remember to account for everything.

Never overload your trailer. Tires can and will blow out if they are forced to endure too much weight. The last thing you want is to have a tire blow on the road. If you’re traveling at speed that could cause a serious accident with your trailer. Your total weight includes the trailer, the boat, its engine and all the gear on your boat.

In addition, the width and diameter will be important to know. If you can’t attach the tire to your trailer, it won’t matter how much weight it can carry

Lifespan

No doubt you want durable tires. A good boat trailer tire should last over five years. Knowing the best kind to buy can play heavily into this. But also, check your dates if you can. This is why buying used tires is sometimes a risk. If your tires are already a few years old, then that’s a few years gone for you. Tires have a manufacturing date on the side. Check this even on new tires. If they’ve been sitting on a shelf for over a year they may be dry or brittle. Or they could have gone soft in moist conditions. Keep that in mind.

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Any tire will have a DOT code on the side of it. That stands for Department of Transportation. This is a series of numbers. The last four numbers tell you the week and year that the tire was made. For instance, you may see something that says 4420. That means it was made in the 44th week of 2020.

Durability

You want tires that can handle the job. That means they need to have solid treads. You want good, strong sidewalls as well. They should be able to handle all weather conditions, especially the water. Keep an eye on boat trailer tire reviews to see if other owners have complaints about warping, wearing out, and so on. If a tire only lasts a season or two, it’s not worth it. Most boat trailer brands recommend their own specific kind of tire. But any will do if you choose high quality tires.

Speed

Every trailer tire has a speed rating. Make sure you know yours before hitting the highway. Most are rated for 65 miles per hour while some can handle 70 miles per hour or more. What you don’t want to do is push them too hard above this rating. This is especially true for bias tires. As you drive at speed you increase friction applied to the tires. That in turn increases the heat that the tires are subjected to. This extra stress and heat can cause the tread to wear or the tires to blow.

Traction

Check those treads before you buy. Especially if you decide to go with used tires. A smooth tire is not going to get your trailer very far. The risk of skidding is a real danger. You need something that can grip pavement and dirt easily. There are cheap tires that really skimp on the treads.

Boat Trailer Tire Pressure

This is always important to remember. The boat trailer tire pressure needs to be monitored and maintained. If tire pressure goes too low, the trailer will be harder to tow. That strains your tow vehicle’s engine. And it wastes fuel. Too high and you risk a blow out. Always make sure they’re inflated exactly as the manufacturer recommended.

Some tire shops will recommend a lower PSI. Why they do this is hard to say. But always follow the recommendations from the manufacturer. If your tire is recommended to inflate to 90 PSI, stick to that number. Some shops can and will recommend you go to something like 60 PSI. That’s going to put too much pressure on the tires. They’re going to deform and spread unevenly when weight is applied. Even though it might seem like it will be easier on the tire, it won’t be. You’ll cause it to burst far too early. It’s a waste of time and a waste of money. Plus you could end up causing a serious accident. Always follow those instructions.

What is a Radial Trailer Tire?

If you don’t spend a lot of time shopping for tires, you may not be familiar with types. Maybe you’ve heard of radial tires before, however. But the existence of a radial boat trailer tire implies there are tires that are not radial tires. So what are they and what are the other kinds?

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In general you’re going to be looking at radial trailer tires or bias trailer tires. Most tires for anything from trailers to scooters to cars can fall in these categories.

Radial tires have been around for a very long time. Michelin put them on the market back in 1946. They basically became the standard at that time. There is a distinct difference in each kind of tire. And both have advantages. The difference comes in how the tire is made. Every tire is constructed in layers. If you’ve ever seriously blown a tire you can see this inside.

The layers in a tire are called plies. Think of toilet paper to get the visual if you’re not familiar. One ply toilet paper is a single layer. Two-ply is two sheets stacked. Three-ply is three together. Below the treat of your tire, layers of rubber and other materials are stacked the same.

In a bias tire, the plies overlap each other. They are paid out in a kind of criss cross pattern. This allows the crown and the sidewall to be separate and independent. The problem with bias tires is that they tend to overheat faster than radial tires. They are also less flexible overall. That means, on a road, the ride is bumpier on a bias tire. That said, they are also cheaper. The sidewalls on a bias tire are often stronger.

These advantages can make them potentially a good choice for trailers.. But at the same time, the tread is prone to deforming. That can increase slippage on the road. In turn that means your tow vehicle is exerting more effort to tow bias tires.

A radial tire also uses plies like a bias. The way the plies are arranged is different. In a radial tire, the plies are stacked in the center. They don’t extend down the sidewall of the tire. This is a good thing because the tire is now more flexible. Because the ply doesn’t cover the whole length of the tire, it absorbs bumps better. The bumps aren’t transmitted through the whole tire and into the trailer as a result.

The other big advantage of a radial tire is heat dissipation. These handle friction better. That means the tread lasts longer and the tire lasts longer. A radial tire will not wear out as fast as a bias tire.

Because of how radial tires work, they are more economical. A bias tire may be cheaper initially. However, a radial tire mitigates this over time. You will consume less fuel using radial tires. That will obviously save you money.

Radial tires offer superior road contact as well. This is especially true when turning. It’s also true under heavier loads.

At the end of the day, a bias tire can get the job done. If you don’t tow your trailer a lot, maybe it won’t matter that much. Radial tires tend to last longer and are more efficient. Bias ply tires do have stronger sidewalls, however. Keep that in mind. The final choice will heavily depend on both your trailer and your boat.

In general, we recommend radial tires for long hauls. We recommend bias tires for shorter hauls or heavier loads.

Check Your Tires

While this article is concerned with buying new tires, never let them sit unchecked for too long. Boat trailer tires spend most of their lives sitting and doing nothing. They have weight on them and they just wait. They can be on cement or on dirt. They may be in direct sub all the time, or in damp conditions. All of this can cause them to wear out a little faster than you might expect. While any good tire should be able to haul for thousands of miles, that’s only if it’s in good condition.

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Inspect your tires regularly. If the season is just starting, definitely give them a thorough inspection. One thing that you’ll want to try is the Lincoln Penny trick to see how your treads are doing. Put the penny with Abe’s head facing down between the treads. If you can see the top of his head, then your treads are too thin. If the treads swallow the top of his head then it’s still good.

Make sure you’re checking the quality of the rubber as well. Look for cracks especially. If the sides which used to be smooth are cracking, that’s a problem. This can be caused by extensive exposure to the elements. It will likely be worse if you live further north as well. Freezing temperatures and then warming up in summer stresses the rubber. Likewise, constant exposure to UV rays will cause your tires to begin to fail.

Pay special note to the bead. This is the part of the tire closest to the rim. The cracks are most likely to form here, but there’s no guarantee.

Keep Your Tires Safe

During the off season you should keep your tires as safe as possible. You want to avoid freezing temperatures if possible. If that’s not practical, try to keep them safely covered. Tire covers will also protect your tires from those harsh UV rays. They’re easy to slip on and off.

You can also use a standard tarp to cover your boat without having to buy anything new. Just make sure it’s fitted well and covers them thoroughly.

Look for the ST

Part of the DOT code and other info on the side of your trailer tire will be the letters ST. You want to see that on any trailer tire. That stands for special trailer tire. An ST tire is designed specifically to be used on a trailer. You should never use an ST tire on any other kind of vehicle. Likewise, you should never use any other kind of tire on a trailer. That’s what these are designed for, so make sure you pick the right one.

ST tires are designed to have strong sidewalls. That’s thanks to the nature of what a boat trailer does. Car and even light truck tires aren’t made to this standard. That’s why you never want to swap them for one another.

The Bottom Line

Finding a good boat trailer tire shouldn’t take forever, But you don’t want to pick up the first tire you see. If you’re hauling your boat a good distance you need reliable tires. That often means you need to balance boat trailer tires between cost and features. No need to break the bank, but no need to cheap out. Look for the right load capacity and a solid history of performance. Then you can actually get out on the water and enjoy your boat, like you intended.

As always, stay safe and have fun.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>