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Thread: Trailer Tires Explained

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    Senior Member SilverRhino's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
    USA - TX

    Trailer Tires Explained

    Found this thread on another web site ...... thought it was interesting.

    Trailer Tires Explained

    I copied and pasted this portion of a post by Mike Mitchell, NuWa (HitchHiker) CEO in a discussion regarding trailer tires on the NuWa Owner's Forum.

    "Read the following and learn from this fellows research. MIKE

    As we banter about regarding tire types and loading, I believe that we are finally starting to understand a few important things.

    I have asked many times for someone to explain how a ST tire can be rated to carry more weight than a LT tire in a similar size, without a good answer.

    The answer lies in what is called reserve capacity. To quote from Trailer Parts Superstore and this same statement exist on just about every tire site:

    'LT' signifies the tire is a "Light Truck/Trailer" series that can be used on trailers that are capable of carrying heavy cargo such as equipment trailers.

    If a tire size begins with 'LT' it signifies the tire is a "Light Truck-metric" size that was designed to be used on trailers that are capable of carrying heavy cargo or tow vehicles. Tires branded with the "LT" designation are designed to provide substantial reserve capacity to accept the additional stresses of carrying heavy cargo.

    So what is reserve capacity? It is capacity beyond the rating of the tire, capacity that is held in reserve. This reserve capacity comes from the heavy-duty sidewall of the LT type tires. LT's rank at the top of the list when we look at P, ST and LT tires.

    Now I finally have an answer to how a ST tire can be rated to carry more weight than a LT tire of similar size.

    The ratings of ST tires infringe into the reserve capacity of the tire. This is double bad, because the design of the ST gives us a tire with less reserve capacity to start with as it has a lighter sidewall to start with as most ST tires are much lighter than their LT counterparts.

    To quote one tire site:
    "Put a different way, the load carrying capacity of an ST tire is 20% greater than an LT tire. Since durability is strictly a long term issue - and the results of a tire failure on a trailer are much less life threatening than on a truck - the folks that set up these load / inflation pressure relationships allow a greater......ah......let's call it load intensity."

    There it is in print to be read. They make a calculated decision to give the ST tire a higher load rating because a failure is less life threatening.

    I have on a number of occasions pointed out the weight difference between the different tires and have been told that does not matter. Well it does matter. The rubber in the average tire only makes up around 40 some percent of its weight, the rest is in the steel belts, gum strips, steel beads, and the carcass plies. The remaining 60 or so percent of the stuff in a tire is what builds in the reserve capacity.

    So to review again, here are some weights:
    1. Michelin XPS RIB LT235/85R16 LRE (rated to 3042lbs) Weight 55.41
    2. Goodyear G614 LT235/85R16 LRG (rated to 3750lbs) Weight 57.5
    3. Bridgestone Duravis R250 LT235/85R16 LRE(rated to 3042lbs) Weight 60
    4. BFG Commercial TA LT235/85R16 LRE(rated to 3042lbs) Weight 44.44
    5. Uniroyal Laredo HD/H LT235/85R16 LRE(rated to 3042lbs) Weight 44.44
    6. GY Marathon ST235/80R16 LRE(rated to 3420lbs) Weight 35.4

    So which tires on the list have the most reserve capacity? Well that is not a completely simple answer, as one of the tires is a G rate 110 lb tire and the rest are LRE at 80lb inflation. So if we disregard the G614, then the Michelin XPS RIB and the Bridgestone Duravis R250 due to their all-steel ply construction will have the most reserve capacity inherent in their construction. The twin Commercial TA and Laredo will be next and the Marathon would have little or no reserve capacity available because it was used up in its higher load rating, AND because of it's much lighter construction it had much less inherent reserve capacity to start with.

    So what have we learn from this?

    I think that the first thing that we learned was that a LT tire can be used at or near it max rated loading without having issues, as they built with "substantial reserve capacity to accept the additional stresses of carrying heavy cargo".

    The second thing we may have learned is why ST tires are failing on mid to larger 5th wheels, in that they do not have inherent reserve capacity beyond that rated max loading. Again this is because they have less reserve capacity to start with and their greater "load intensity" used up any reserve capacity that might have been available.

    Now, here is an interesting bit of information. I just called Maxxis Tech Line and asked the weights for two tires.

    ST235/80R16 LRD 3000 lb rating at 65 lbs of air weights 38.58
    ST235/80R16 LRE 3420 lb rating at 80 lbs of air weights 43.43

    What??? The Maxxis load range E tire weights almost the same as the Commercial TA?? This is a ST tire that has heavier construction than the GY Marathon at 35.4 lbs. So it has more inherent reserve capacity due to its heavier construction.

    Those that claimed its virtues maybe did not know why it was a better ST tire than some of the others, but there it is! It is a heavier built tire with more reserve capacity.

    So as one chooses a replacement tire or is asking for an upgrade on a new trailer please get educated on where the reserve capacity exist. Is it inherent in the tire you choose or do you have to factor it into the weight rating of the tire you choose.

    Those with heavy trailers that are switching to 17.5 rims and tires rated to 4805 lbs and getting a double injection of reserve capacity, in that they are using a tire with lots of inherent reserve capacity and the tire has much more capacity than the application. It is all starting to make sense.

    I have learn a bit this week, hopefully others have also.


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  2. Print this Post   #2
    Senior Member caissiel's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    CAN - NB

    Well Done, I have also solved my tire issues by choosing LT tires over ST. I was also told they would not work but it was fine.
    Barbara and Laurent, Retired teacher and maintenance/engineering,Full Timing
    Mods: Hydraulic selector valves, Queen bed, heavier front closet rod, W/D door swing changed, 2" rear hitch. 2" pin box hitch.Added build in water filter, Replaced HW Tank Fittings. Modified 2 ceiling vents. Relocated shocks to 60deg. 9/16" U-bolts and spring plates.Center 7500 lbs Scissor Stabilizer Jacks. Hawkshead TPMS. Reinforced kitchen sink supports.More supports and longer rails to couch drawer. Modified bedroom steps for storage. Modified landing gear jacks, etc.
    2005 Ford F250 SD, XL F250 4x4, Long Box, 6.0L Diesel, 6 Speed Stick, Use ScangaugeII for Economy, available 60 XGauges and Scanner, Fuel Pressure Gauge, Max Energy by Hypertech set at 85HP for cooling, torque and economy. ELC Coolant and Filter and EGR cooler deleted. 2 added 1300lbs each spring plies, Fuel mileage 21 MPusG empty, 12.6 MPusG pulling the BC. 6.2" din2 touch screen car Radio with DVD, TV, CD,SD,USB, GPS and Rear Cam,

  3. Print this Post   #3

    Good info. There really is no substitution for knowing what you are talking about. I have heard this issue debated many many times and have never really known for sure who was right. It sure made sense that the heavier tire was a better tire, but had no way to prove it.
    2010 Cyclone 3912
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    Senior Member - Past Moderator Ray LeTourneau's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    USA - WI

    This is pretty interesting information. Especially for those just purchasing or planning to purchase the Michelins. Thanks for the post.
    Ray & Lin
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    R.I.P Bart

  5. Print this Post   #5
    Heartland: Director of Owners Interests jbeletti's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
    USA - CO

    Wow - some guy named Chris really did his homework. Great info.


  6. Print this Post   #6
    Senior Member
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    USA - MI

    Chris is a battler. He has been engaged on other sites with a couple of ST cheerleaders. He appears to haver done a lot more research than even this post states. I generally avoid the flaming war threads but he is knowledgeable and entertaining.


  7. Print this Post   #7
    X-Rookies Still Luving it
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    USA - CA

    So where does that leave the
    G rated 614's? Better or worse than xps?
    Larry and Debbi Kuhn
    2 kids 30, 22; 2 beagles Lucy and Stella
    X-Rookies from San Clemente, CA

    2008 F-250 Ford Crew Cab 4x2 Diesel Shortbed
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  8. Print this Post   #8
    Senior Member
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    USA - TX

    It seems to me the Goodyear since it is G rated and has a higher weight rating if you need it.

    1. Michelin XPS RIB LT235/85R16 LRE (rated to 3042lbs) Weight 55.41
    2. Goodyear G614 LT235/85R16 LRG (rated to 3750lbs) Weight 57.5
    John and Pat
    2016 Dodge Laramie Crew Cab Longbed
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    2016 Bighorn 3970RD
    Gone 08 Bighorn 3370RL

  9. Print this Post   #9
    Original Owners Club Member jmgratz's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    USA - TX

    The Goodyear 614's are designed specifically for trailer - towing tires. The tread is design to prevent damage to the tires when making those tight turns.
    Jim & Sheila Gratz - owners club #1018 Workamping as Sales Associate with SE Publications Certified RV Walk-through Technician [/I] 2013 Landmark San Antonio - full body paint - Fulltimer pkg, Yetti pkg etc., Mor-Ryde IS with never lube bearings and disc brakes. --previous 5er - 2007 "Classic" Landmark "Golden Gate" Replaced 9/20/13 2012 Ford F350 King Ranch Crew Cab fx4 dually, 6.7 L Husky Trailer Saver TS2 hitch "visit TEXAS - it's like a whole 'nuther country" Rally Site 414

  10. Print this Post   #10
    Senior Member
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    USA - TN

    Maybe I have my head in the sand but I really have a hard time justifying the price of the 614's. I have just replaced my "China Bombs" of 15,000 miles with Maxxis M8008 (made in Thailand) that seem have a very good reputation around all forums. According to various literature from tire manufactures, around 15,000 miles on heavy trailers is about all that can be expected on average, so thats what I got on my previous "bombs". When I was shopping for tires, the 614's was over twice the price of other tires so I just cant justify the price. As said, maybe I have my head in the sand but my previous tires served me without incidence so if the 614's wont last twice the distance why pay twice the price? Of course, with the new imports tariffs imposed last week on China import tires, this may be a mute point! 614's it would be equitable pricing!
    Van & Carole

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