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Trailer Tires need to be rotated too!

Trailer Tires need to be rotated too!

Feb 19th 2015

Have you ever noticed that your trailer tires, no matter how new or old they are, wear out on the tread and seem to be misaligned? This is a common problem with trailer tires, but can be easily fixed!

Whether you have a single, double or tri axle trailer, your tires should be maintained by rotating them. Rotating tires is more commonly done on double or triple axle trailers, but can be beneficial to single axle trailers as well. Similar to tires on your vehicle, trailer tires can wear out, develop an unusual or not normal wear patterns, and this can shorten the life of your tires.

Over time, if your tires develop unusual wear patterns, there can be different signs to tell you what is going on with your trailer and why this wear is happening to your tires. For instance, if your trailer tires are showing a large amount of wear along the center tread of the tire, this can commonly portray that your tires are over inflated, and the pressure should be adjusted to the particular load capacity you are hauling. If the opposite occurs, where the center of the tread is fine but the edges of the tread (not the side wall) are wearing, it can depict that your tires are underinflated. If your tires have wear along one side of the tread, it could reveal your trailer being overloaded. If you have cupping appearing, otherwise described as spots or splotching along the tread of your tires, this could illustrate that your tires are not correctly balanced and need to be balanced or adjusted. If you encounter flat spots along your tires, this means your tires are most likely locking up and possibly skidding, which can be caused by stopping suddenly or turning sharply.

To ensure proper tire wear and less vibration during your drive or trip, it is recommend to balance your trailer tires regularly. Many people will rotate their regularly used trailer tires around the same time the vehicle towing them gets their tires rotated. By doing this maintenance, it will also help to see if there are any other mechanical problems with your trailer such as your bearings, hubs, brakes or axles.

There are a few different ways that you can rotate your trailer tires. You can rotate your tires moving them from the front to the back, from the side to the side switching across the axle, or in an X formation making a crisscross pattern. It is mostly recommended, whether your trailer is a bi or tri axle trailer, that you rotate your tires in an X pattern. There is no right or wrong when using this crisscross pattern. It is recommended that tires that are worn irregularly or improperly be rotated to a position that they are revolving in the opposite direction of the origin

al position. By using the X pattern, you are putting a different edge of the tire to the outside, which will help even out the wear of the tire, which will help prevent safe trailer traveling by helping avoid wobbles, vibrations, blowouts and other mechanical failures.

Please note that you should check the pattern that your tire wears out frequently and when you notice a recognized pattern, rotating your tires is beneficial to stop the problem of uneven wear and future problems. Rotating your tires can be easily done, with very few tools needed. To rotate your tires on your trailer, first use jack stands that just like trailers have a load rating, are adequately rated to hold the weight of your trailer. Prop up your trailer up each axle making sure the stands are square. It is suggested or both mounting and un-mounting that you use a torque wrench for the lug nuts or lug bolts. Once you have the tire and wheel assemblies un-mounted from the trailer, you can rotate them accordingly. When mounting your tires and wheels back onto your trailer, make sure that the jack stands again are on level ground, and while using a torque wrench, torque your lug nuts or lug bolts to the proper torque specifications. 

Here is a chart that can be used for torque specifications for Aluminum Wheels on trailers.
Lug Size
FT/LBS Torque
1/2" 90-120
9/16" 120-140
5/8" 140-160
Trailers, just like vehicles, need their tires rotated too. To avoid mechanical problems both minor and major, it is recommended that you rotate your trailer tires.