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Tires on tow vehicles or trailers run the gamut from passenger-car types to truck and trailer rubber — and each has its own specific design, construction and job to do.
Problems with tires have become one of the most frequent subjects of letters and emails from Trailer Life readers, so let’s learn how to get the most out of those expensive black-rubber doughnuts.
Goodyear, for example, recommends using the same size and type of tire on the same axle — that is, all radial ply or bias ply, all the same size and tread pattern — as well as approximately the same tread depth.
If you decide to change to radials, do all positions at the same time.
Manufacturers also vary rubber compounds by mixing various components such as silica, carbon black and other chemicals.
This allows tires to be designed for different types of vehicles, driving styles and weather, with a good balance between wear and traction.
Radial inner belts cross the tire tread perpendicularly, and the shoulders tend to have a rounder shape than bias-type tires.
Radials also tend to have lower rolling resistance and last longer than bias-ply designs.
Three tire-sizing systems are used on current pickups, SUVs and vans: Euro-metric, P-metric (passenger metric) and LT-metric (light truck metric).
Both Euro- and P-metric tires in the same size (for example, 225/80R16 and P225/80R16) are equivalent in dimensions and have only slight differences in load-capacity calculations and load-inflation tables.
Therefore, if Euro- and P-metric tires share the same numeric size, the same tire performance category and the same speed rating, the two are considered equivalent and interchangeable, if used in axle pairs or full sets.
If you plan to drive only in mild weather and on good roads, straight-rib highway tires at the rear will also give the best mileage and fuel economy.
If you expect to drive in muddy conditions or snow, tires with lug or traction patterns should be used on the rear.