Oxidation is the damaging of rubber due to exposure to UV radiation, ozone, and pressurized oxygen. Even if you use your trailer very little and your tires don’t wear out, industry professionals still recommend you change your tires every three to five years. Trailers are especially likely to succumb to oxidation rather than the typical tire wear you might find on a car or truck, because they generally are used far less and therefore have their tires replaced less regularly.
To help decrease oxidation:
Cover your wheels when not in use
Inspect your tires regularly
Clean away exhaust build up, as chemicals can cause inner-rubber damage
Increased risk factors for oxidation:
Even if your tires look like they’re in great condition, if you’ve owned them for over three years it may be time to talk to a professional about replacing them. Rubber damage might not be visible, but that doesn’t mean that the results of oxidation might not affect their performance or safety.
In the US, there’s a simple trick to checking your tire tread to see if you need to replace it. It’s called the Penny Test, and it can help determine how much your trailer tires have been worn down.
You can try the Penny Test in three simple steps:
Step 1: Find a penny.
Step 2: Turn Lincoln’s head upside down.
Step 3: Insert into tire tread rib.
If the top of Lincoln’s head disappears into the tread, your tread is still deep enough. If all of his head is visible, you should look into purchasing new tires.
If you have any doubts about your tires, you should get them checked by a professional. Do-it-yourself tricks like this are handy for day-to-day maintenance, but nothing beats the eye of someone who knows what they’re doing. Here are some of our best tips to avoiding tire wear and tear.
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If you think your trailer tires are damaged, it can be hard to bite the bullet and get them inspected. Damaged tires, however, can be extremely dangerous, and you should know what to do look for when inspecting your trailer tires for abuse.
DO NOT drive your trailer if your tires are compromised. Give them the benefit of the doubt and rest your wheels.
When To Look for Damage
The short answer is: ALWAYS.
You should conduct regular checks to look for punctures, cuts, cracks, bulges, bumps, or splits
Watch your tread wear and if the tire grooves are worn to the indicators (generally 1.6 mm)
Inspect your tires for uneven wear
When to Bring in the Professionals
If you hit an object in the road–professional inspection can ensure that it does not have a sudden blowout at a later date
If your tires show signs of aforementioned damage (punctures, cuts, cracks, etc.)
If rims show any signs of cracking
If your treads are worn low or worn unevenly
When to Repair
Repair should be done at your trailer dealer’s or repairman’s discretion. They will know better than you the condition of your tires, and whether or not replacement is a better option. However:
Do not repair tires that are worn below 1.6mm
Do not repair tires with significant punctures
Do not use plugs to repair your tires
The bottom line: follow the advice of your trailer professional, and if you’re uncertain, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Damaged trailer tires are more than just a hazard to the assets on board; they’re a risk to your health and life.
We all want our trailer tires to have the longest life possible, but some habits are more destructive than others. Here are some tips to extending tire longevity – and increasing the life of your trailer as well.
DO check your tire inflation. Both over-inflating and under-inflating your tears can cause uneven wearing.
DO check your tire alignment. If your tires are misaligned, you may find your trailer veering on the road. Rotate your tires twice a year to help them wear evenly.
DO drive safely. Taking curves too fast will not only put a lot of stress on your vehicle and trailer, but will also cause the front of your tires to wear unevenly.
DON’T leave your trailer exposed to the weather. It goes without saying that the elements can cause damage to your trailer. Moisture and sun are particularly unfriendly to your trailer tires. Protect your trailer with a cover, and inspect your wheels for rust or loose fittings regularly.
DON’T drive over strange objects on the road. Things like rough stones, sharp branches, and nails may puncture your tire tread or cause damage to the hub. Try to avoid them when driving, and be sure to pick up scraps that might be lurking around your storage unit.