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Trailer Tire Aging – Why Age Matters with Trailer Tires

Trailer Tire Aging – Why Age Matters with Trailer Tires

For perspective, our trailers are really extensions of ourselves; tools we use to enjoy the hobbies we love. Whether you are towing a $100,000 5th Wheel RV to see America’s National Parks or loading up your purpose-built $150,000 racecar for its next track day or maybe it’s your priceless favorite horse for ride out in the country. The constant here is our trailer tires are carrying us, plus our toys, to these places. Considering the amount we invest into our hobbies, having our trailers in tip-top shape is the wise move.

The most overlooked aspect to towing – tire aging. Our recommendation is that trailer tires be replaced after 5 years of service life.

Why 5 Years?

Trailer tires have one of the most extreme service requirements behind airplane tires. Typically, they are stationary for extended periods of time, under high loads, and often exposed to direct elements like: sun, rain, mud, snow, and ozone. Remember that adage about time? It waits for no one - this wear is taking place at the chemical level inside and out of the tire.

Quality trailer tire manufactures will carry a 5 to 6-year limited warranty for workmanship and materials based on purchase date or DOT code on the tire. This is another footnote for users to consider based on what the tire makers understand about their products service period. It’s important to note that most trailer tires will exceed 5 years of service life before they are worn to 2/32nds DOT minimum tread life.

Tough Service Requirements – Parking

Parked in mud with tires under constant exposure to solutions of tire oils and water? On concrete where the porous material is wicking away the rubber’s oil and elasticity? On asphalt, where the tire is being exposed to petroleum derivatives in the mixture? The chemical composition of the tire does breakdown given those service requirements long before visible to the human eye.

Tough Service Requirements – On Road

Our towable goods are a considerable distance away from the tow vehicle. The distance away paired with wider axles widths on the trailer can often mean we may encounter road severities like potholes and curbs without realizing it. At this point in engineering, tires cannot repair themselves. Injury events are cumulative over time and may weaken the tires durability for service.

Tough Service Requirements – The Environment

Over the last 10 years, trailer tire manufactures have updated tread and sidewall rubber compounds with unique ozone and UV antioxidant packages. These have helped increase the tires resistance to weathering forces like atmospheric ozone and direct sunlight exposure. However, there are additional exposure routes for tires. Electrical equipment like generators, transformers, welders, battery chargers, etc. omit ozone into their surrounding area. If your towable good is equipped with its own electrical generator, where is it located? If near the tires, then they are being exposed to increased levels of ozone.

How Old are My Tires?

All tire manufactures are required to include the 4-digit date of manufacturing stamped into a least one side of the tire.

The first two digits represent the week of the year and the last two digits represent the year of manufacturing. In the example above, the tire was made in the 34th week of 2016.

For more information, check out our Tire Marking Guide.

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