Travel Trailer Tire Pressure
The correct tire pressure is essential for safely towing a travel trailer. Your tire pressure determines the tire’s shape when it hits the road. If the tire pressure is too low, the sidewalls will flex too much; this results in the tires overheating, which is the number one cause of trailer tire blow-outs.
Likewise, too much tire pressure causes decreased traction and stopping distance, and the ride will be stiffer. Both under-inflated and over-inflated tires will cause uneven tire wear.
Inflating Tires to the Maximum
Most trailer experts recommend inflating your trailer tires to the maximum psi indicated on the sidewall of the tire. This is regardless of how heavy the trailer is. This is because trailer tires are built with thicker sidewalls than passenger car tires, in order to deal with an increased vertical load. If the trailer tires are under-inflated, the thicker sidewalls generate extreme heat, causing the tires to blow-out. Inflating the tires to the maximum will give the trailer firm support. A rougher ride with stiff tires won’t matter since you are not riding in the trailer but in the tow vehicle.
The Recommended Tire Pressure on the Sticker Inside the Trailer
All RVs have stickers inside, which state not only the recommended tire pressure but also the maximum loaded weight of the trailer. The trailer manufacturer will have determined the maximum trailer weight and calculated the recommended tire pressure according to the tires they have installed. If you change to a different type of tire, the recommended tire pressure may change. This may be very different than the maximum tire pressure printed on the side of the tire.
Going By the Weight of the Trailer
Some people prefer weighing their trailer, and optimizing the psi of each tire accordingly. You can have the individual axles on your trailer weighed at a truck stop. This will give you the weight at the four corners of your trailer, which will not only help you set your tire pressure but also help you to balance your load.
Now that you have the weight information, you can go online and look up the recommended psi for your tires. Every tire manufacturer has “weight tables” on their website, so find the weight table for your tire manufacturer. You can fill your tires according to these tables. This is the most precise method.
The proper tire pressure for a travel trailer is a topic of some debate, with lots of opinions. However, proper tire pressure is essential for safely towing a trailer, and you should check your tire pressure before each trip. With proper inflation, your tires will not only tow safely, but they will also last longer.