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317 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a new trailer that has 4.80 x 12 tires and rims. I would like to put 13" or 14" car tires on it, is this possible whithout changing the axle and hubs?

542 Posts
As long as the fenders and frame allow. You have to check vertical clearance and hub face to frame. I put over 7,000 miles on a set of 12 inch tires last year at highway speeds.
How heavy is the load on the trailer?

7,690 Posts
I've had radial car tires on a trailer.
Worked fine, no problems,
no real towing difference that I could feel.

                 Trailer Tires Vs Passenger Tires
There are distinct differences in the way passenger tires and trailer tires are
designed, engineered, and constructed. There are also differences in the service
requirements between the tires on your car or truck and those on your trailer.
Traction, or grip, is a key element in the design of passenger tires. Traction
moves your car or truck down the road. Traction allows you to stop, turn and
swerve, and traction also gives you the ability to tow your trailer. Another
important consideration in passenger tire design is “ride”. Ride, traction, and
handling are all achieved in passenger tire designs by adding flex in the sidewall.
By making the sidewall more flexible, tire engineers maximize tread contact with
the road, thus increasing traction and allowing the driver to maintain better
control over the vehicle.
Traction is only a factor on trailers equipped with brakes, during braking
operations, because trailers are followers. In fact, sidewall flexing in a trailer
application is a negative. Sidewall flexing on trailers carrying heavy loads;
trailers with high vertical side loads (enclosed/travel trailers); or trailers with light
tongue weights, is a primary cause of trailer sway. Automotive radial tires with
their flexible sidewalls notably accentuate trailer sway problems. The stiffer
sidewalls and higher operating pressures common with Special Trailer (ST) tires
helps control and reduce the occurrence of trailer sway. Bottom line, trailers are
more stable and pull better on tires designed specifically for trailer use.
Also consider that all Light Truck (LT) and Special Trailer (ST) tires are fully rated
for trailer applications. This means the tires can carry their full sidewall weight
rating when used on a trailer. When passenger tires are used on a trailer, the
load capacity of tire must be de-rated by 10%. If the tire has a maximum load
rating of 1900 lb., it may only be used in a trailer application up to 1710 lb. This
means the GAWR rating on the trailer Certification Label must not exceed 3420
lbs. On a single axle trailer, or 2 times 1710 lbs.
For trailer use, it is important to match the tires to the application and payload.
Since Special Trailer (ST) tires are constructed with more and heavier materials,
they are tougher and more bruise resistant than typical passenger tires. This is a
plus because trailer suspension systems are generally stiffer and less
sophisticated than automotive suspension systems. A tire designed to operate in
the more demanding trailer environment will provide end users a longer service
life and withstand the added abuse tires on a trailer experience.
Bias ply Special Trailer tire technology has been moving trailers around America
for nearly 30 years, and more recently, the ST Radial arrived on the scene
providing the same durability and dependability in a radial trailer tire. For many
trailer buyers, tire decisions are purely price based. The allure of an equal price
and the word “radial” for that price draws some customers to the passenger tire.
Taskmaster hopes this explanation of the differences will help you make a more
informed decision on your next trailer tire purchase.

788 Posts
I have used and still use radial auto tires on my trailers for years. I have found no difference in handling other than I can roll my boats and trailers by hand with far less effort than with regular trailer tires.

I have been towing boats for a very long time and have nothing good to say about small trailer tires. They wear very quickly and are prone to air loss and being damaged.

Best regards,

1,088 Posts
Pay attention to the load rating of the car tires, and you'll be fine with them. You should be able to get 12" passenger tires much cheaper than trailer tires too. Unless you are changin your rims for some reason, put a 12" radial on it and hit the road.

I Love!
2,820 Posts
goodyear marathon radials are the best for road trips ---they can handle the weight and speed
good year marathons are crap :eek:, theres tons of talk about good year marathons on the florida sportsmans forum, you really owe it to yourself to check it out ;) seems like the tire of choice are the denman radials

111 Posts
I was about to buy the Goodyears from Sams Club next week when I install the new axle.  So what makes 'em crappy? 

I have chewed throught a set of premounted Trail Americas STs that I have not been too pleased with.

For load purposes I'd stay away from the car tires. If you hit a pothole or a curve turning a corner the sidewalls can get easily pinched against the rim and cause a blowout because they are not reinforced.
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