Review Tires (that you use) - Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-16-2012, 09:23 PM   #1
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Posts: 2,866
Question Review Tires (that you use)

I think it would be useful if there was a thread where people could find out the experiences people have had with different models and brands of tires. What tire is a "good" tire is often influenced by how it is used, so people should be able to look at this thread and find reviews posted that approximate what they tow and how they drive.

This is a topic that generates some heated discussion because people have different requirements based on how they drive and what they tow. Different opinions of what criteria are most important. And different experiences. These debates are not going to get settled short of having Consumers Reports do and in depth assessment of tires for towing FG trailers, and even then....

I'm hoping that on seeing their viewpoint already put forth below people will stick to providing the requested information about the tires they use, and avoid the debate about "best" or "right". Most folks looking for a tire don't have a dog in that fight. And that any mistakes or poorly worded explanations by me will be dealt with gently.

Information I hope will be posted:

  • Brand Model and Size of tire.
  • Cost per tire (approx)
  • General driving speed you use the tire at.
  • Load Range
  • Air pressure typically run at. And max pressure if known.
  • How many miles typically put on the tire per year.
  • What kind of trailer including size and approx weight. Single or double axle
  • How many miles you have used tire you are reviewing.
  • How you would rate the tire 1-5 stars, poor to great, what ever floats your boat.
The goal here is for people to find review postings that match how they would expect to use trailer and with same rim size so they can know that the rating given a tire applies to their use of the tire.

Tire Codes and what they mean.
The tire code will tell you the intended use of the tire. (ST special trailer, LT light truck or P passenger car.)
The rim diameter (typically 13, 14 or 15 inch)
The "profile" or ratio of width to height of tire. Lower number is wider profile. 70 is wider profile than a 75.
The load range which is how much weight tire can support (ST typically use B,C or D but goes as high as N) .
LT and P tires will have a max load on the sidewall instead of a load range letter.
Construction Bias ply or Radial

ST tires will be generally be stamped with max speed 65 mph, LT and P tires will have a letter indicating speed rating, as will some ST tires. Letter codes will typically be higher speeds than 65 mph.

So an ST205 75D 15 is a special trailer width of 205 mm 75 profile (aspect ratio is 75%) Construction Type "D" or Bias Ply on diagonal, for a 15 inch rim.

Load range is heavily dependant on tire pressure, and ST tires will often have much higher max pressure than truck or car tires to achieve max load range.
Ratings or range letter is based on a standard pressure of approx 35 psi (two different standards used) but many tires will have a max inflation that is higher than that. So a load range C at 35 psi might be a load range D at 50 psi if tire manufacture specifies that 50 psi is acceptable pressure for a given tire to achieve that D load rating.

Important considerations and why.
  • Tires will deteriorate with age, after about 4 years tires are losing strength and durability at a significant rate. (not going to argue what rate) that deterioration may not be visible.
  • If you don't put a lot of miles on your camper tires they may need to be replaced due to age rather than wear.
  • Heat causes tire failure. Smaller diameter tires will run hotter than a larger diameter tire at the same speed. The smaller tire has to make more revolutions per mile which means more friction with road and less time in the air losing heat.
  • Lower tire air pressure will generally cause more heat because the tire "spreads" out and makes more contact with road and can "wiggle" more creating more friction.
  • Higher driving speed creates more tire heat. So you need a tire that is able to support your drivning speed.
Tire shops and garages are known to under inflate ST tires, you may know your tires need to be inflated to 50 psi to support your trailer the guy at the tire store may just go with 32 psi. of a typical tire. If you don't own a good quality tire pressure gauge get one and use it. Check regularly, or as often as you don't want to find out how your trailer handles when a tire fails.

The combined load bearing capacity of your tires needs to be greater than the weight of your trailer, you don't want a 2000 lb trailer with two 1000 lb capacity tires, a margin of error is a good thing. Would you use a parachute harness rated to exactly your weight?

ST or special trailer vs. LT truck tire debate.
One group tends to support the ST tire pointing out it is designed for trailer use, tends to have stiffer sidewalls that help prevent trailer sway and treads designed with towing in mind and more bruise resistance under heavy load because trailers don't have the shocks of a car to help protect tire from bruising bumps.

The other side points out that an LT tire has the load bearing capacity required or higher, and a 40,000 mile warranty which is manufacturer saying this tire is good for a lot more miles than the manufacture warranties the ST tire for. Plus LT tires are designed to handle higher speeds and thus better quality. DOT (at least in some states) will allow LT tires on commercial trailer but not ST tires on a car
These arguments are generally factual but different people give the facts different weight.

Some folks want to drive the speed limit on the interstate, that would be a higher speed than an ST tire is rated for by the manufacture (max speed 65 mph) so they see the inability of ST tires to support speed limit or high mileage as making them a poor choice. And the LT tire a good choice.

The other side points out the 65 or under speed is safer, more fuel efficient, tire designed for trailer use, and avoids potential liability if tire fails causing an accident since it's the "proper" tire for trailer. They also tend to view driving at higher than 65 mph to be ignoring manufactures specifications so of course it's your fault.

Here is where it gets interesting both sides have proponents with years of experience doing it "their" way and it worked fine. Both have facts that support their opinions.

Because of that experience telling someone that LT tires they use are "unsafe" is not going to be welcome or agree with their personal experience, ditto for telling them the only reason their ST tires failed is because they drive "too fast" while doing the posted speed limit. On the other side being told that their ST tires are junk just waiting to blow out, and driving between 55 and 65 mph makes them an unsafe road hazard because they don't keep up with traffic may not meet agreement from these folks who have an equal amount of safe experience towing with ST tires.

Pretty soon there are lots of links to charts, diagrams, and articles that support "their" side. Each refuted, argued and dismissed by the other side. After awhile thread begins to read like the transcript of the KKK and NAACP on the Jerry Springer show.

BUT in all that noise there really is a lot of information of value that is based on real world experience. Advocates of both views often have 10's of thousands of miles of safe experience doing it one way or the other. I'm just hoping they will share the important part, what product worked for them and how they use it so others looking to purchase tires can learn from that experience.

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Old 07-16-2012, 10:33 PM   #2
Senior Member
Name: John
Trailer: gave up!!
Posts: 239
WOW. Nice post Roger!! This has the potential to become a great sticky if we keep it to just data and not opinions.... I think we should also note failures only if a person knows all the data of the tire that blew.. in other words, not an opinion as to why it failed, just the known data... as in approx. mileage on the tire, its age, the pressure it was set to before it failed, etc... Again, great job Roger!

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Old 07-17-2012, 05:52 AM   #3
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Steve L.'s Avatar
Name: Steve
Trailer: 2003 Casita 16' SD
Posts: 1,652
Brand Model and Size of tire:.. Goodyear Marathon ST205/75R14 (2nd set)
Cost per tire (approx): Don't remember
General driving speed you use the tire at. 65-75 mph
Load Range: C
Air pressure typically run at. And max pressure if known. 50 psi (max 50 psi)
How many miles typically put on the tire per year. ~2,500 mi.
What kind of trailer including size and approx weight. Single or double axle: Casita 16 SD, 3000 lb measured. Single axle
How many miles you have used tire you are reviewing. 1st set ~15K mi/6 years 2nd set 7K mi. 3 years
How you would rate the tire 1-5 stars, poor to great, what ever floats your boat: 5
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:20 AM   #4
Senior Member
Name: Bob Ruggles
Trailer: 2015 Escape 19 2012 Chevy Silverado
Posts: 1,260
Had two trailer tire failures. One was a fairly good sized Marathon on a Holiday Rambler trailer. Picked up a bolt somewhere. The other was on a 22 ft Summit trailer. Don't remember the tire brand but we were towing somewhere in the east when we hit a mammoth chuck hole with every truck & trailer tire on the curb side. Absolutely destroyed one of the 14 inch trailer tires. Blame the tires in either case? No. Not Goodyear's fault that there was a bolt on the road. My fault that i didn't notice the huge chuck hole in the road soon enough to avoid it. I have heard (read?) of good results with Hankook tires.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:51 AM   #5
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honda03842's Avatar
Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
Posts: 7,078

Brand: Goodyear Marathons ST185/80R13
Cost: About $100
Driving Speed: 55-60 mph, 60 mph is Interstate speed.
Load Range: C
Air Pressure: 50 PSI, Max Pressure 50 PSI
Max Tire Load: 2960
Actual Load: 2215
Percentage of Capacity: 75%
Miles: 20,000 present set new this year, previous set 30,000 miles
Miles/year: 7-20,000 miles per year, route dependent
Trailer: 1991 Scamp 16, Measured at 2400 lbs, 185 lb Tongue,
single axis.
Total miles: 50,000, 2 sets tires.
Driving Speed: 55-60 mph.
Rating: 5, no flats or blowouts to report.

1. Mileage includes more than a 1,000 miles of dirt roads, generally driven slower and with lower tire pressures.
2. Tire pressure and temperature sensors on trailer tires.
3. Cold tire pressure measured often as we move from region to region.
4. All tires and wheels touched at every stop.
5. Minimal interstate driving.
6. High mileage driver, new tires every 4 years.
7. Typically drive less than 4 hours per day.

Roger, Thanks for suggesting the format.
Norm and Ginny

2014 Honda Odyssey
1991 Scamp 16
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:02 AM   #6
Senior Member
Name: Steven
Trailer: Currently Shopping
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 1,933
Brand= Hankook RAO8 LT - (195R14) (ST Rated)
Tires = Balanced
Valve Stems - Steel
Cost= $100.00/ EA
Driving Speed 55 -62 MPH
Load range=D
Speed Rating = Q
Air pressure = Spec Max= 65 PSI Tires inflated to 65 PSI
Rims rated at 65 PSI
Miles per year=5000
Trailer = Scamp 16 ft SD / bath / single axle
Miles total usage = 5000 miles
Age of tire = 1 year
Rating = Too soon to tell ,Have functioned well to this point "IMHO"
Max tire load = 2094 x 2 =4188 lbs.
Actual trailer load =2420 lbs
Percentage of capacity =57.78 %
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:16 AM   #7
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Posts: 2,866
  • Brand Model and Size Load Starr K 550 ST 175/80 D 13
  • Cost per tire (approx). PO purchase but have seen at Wally for $79 with rim
  • General driving speed. 62 mph hwy,
  • Load Range B 1,100 lbs / 500 Kg
  • Air pressure sidewall states 35 psi so that is what I use.
  • Typically short trips.
  • Scamp 13 ft single axle approx. 1,500 lbs.
  • Less than 500 miles use so far
Can't really rate tire, not enough experience. They do track fine, and hold air which is always a plus.

PO purchased these tires and rims to get it home from sitting on flat tires with rusted rims next to a shed. Been 5 years since his purchase so it's getting time for replacement due to age. Which prompted this thread.

Speaking of rims, I was informed by Daniel A. that steel wheels also have a max pressure. Typically 50 psi.

We are surrounded by state parks locally that are accessible via two lane roads and can reach nice campgrounds on the great lakes in less than 200 miles of highway. So don't tend to put miles on tires. But I'm dreaming of another road trip out west or down south.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:21 AM   #8
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Posts: 2,866
Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
4. All tires and wheels touched at every stop.
Is that touch just to check if tires/hubs/wheels feel unusually hot and get a quick visual inspection?
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:09 PM   #9
Senior Member
Name: george
Trailer: FunFinder
Posts: 455
Something that is possibly relevant that would also be good info for folks to include, is what is the weight on the tires as compared to the load capacity of the tire. In other words, do you have plenty of safety margin, or are you loading the the tires to ( or beyond ) their maximum load capacity in pounds. Expressed in percentage would be an easy way for the reader to understand.

For instance, on my trailer, there are four tires, each rated to carry 1760 pounds (7040 total capacity ). The trailer weighs 3800 pounds, and of that approx 3300 pounds are on the axles. 3300 divided by 7040 equals 47 percent. So I am running under half of the rated load of the tires, which means, all other things being equal, they will run cooler and be stressed less, and "should" therefore be less likely to fail.
You can easily see that if my trailer were a single axle, and weighed the same, I would be right at the limits of the tires.

If a reader is trying to extrapolate from your data whether "brand x, model y" tire is reliable or not, he or she needs to know how the users are loading the tire in question.
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:41 PM   #10
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Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
Posts: 7,078
Roger and George,

George, Good idea. I added the Max rated tire capacity and percentage of tire capacity used to my post. We're at 56% of capacity when sitting, a relatively safe percentage.

I say sitting because crowned roads can increase the continuous load on one side and pot holes at high speed can create high instantaneous point or line loads.


When I did not have tire pressure and tire sensors I got in the habit of touching the tires and wheel hubs/wheels on both the Honda and Scamp whenever we stopped. I still do it.

Occasionally I'll look under the trailer/CRV to glance for pre blow out bubbles. I've never seen one but it makes me feel good to look.
Norm and Ginny

2014 Honda Odyssey
1991 Scamp 16
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:34 PM   #11
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Posts: 2,866
First I understood no math was required to join the forum but... good point on including that percentage and why you want to know the reserve. Does seem that not pushing things to limit does lead to fewer failures.

if I wanted to drive 70 mph on the interstate highway being at a lower percentage of that limit should reduce chance of tire failure. As I understand would radials, which are supposed to handle heat better, at some loss of stiffness to support max loads.

So my 1500 lb trailer with 2 tires at 1,100 lbs capacity is figured as:

1500 trailer weight divided by 2200 tire capacity = .68 times 100 to get percentage.
I'm loaded at 68% of tire capacity.

If I upgrade to a load range C tire of same size they would have capacity of 1360 lbs each at 50 psi and drop my load percentage down to 55%.
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:32 PM   #12
Senior Member
Name: george
Trailer: FunFinder
Posts: 455
I found that link that I mentioned in another thread regarding running Marathon ( Good Year) tires at speeds above 65 mph. I was thinking it was on the goodyear site, but in fact it was a technical service bulletin to dealers, and what we see here in on the tirerack site:

And yes Roger, I agree with your assessment that radials are a better choice, if for no other reason than the fact they run cooler. All the tire mfr's that I have read from also state that radial construction gives lower rolling resistance.

And to Norm's point about tires being potentially loaded slightly different due to the crown in the road, I hadn't thought of that, but I'm sure you're right, and obviously this would be something that would vary as we travel different roads.
I have not yet weighed my trailer side to side, but I am almost certain that it weighs more on the left side, so that would be a factor as well.

But I guess some of this is going beyond the scope of this thread anyway.


Forgot to mention also regarding Norm's comment about potholes. I have read some of the companies say that a pothole or curb hit can in fact damage the tire badly enough inside that it can lead to a failure at some point in the future. Also, any tire that has been run at 20 psi less than recommended pressure is considered to have been "run flat", and that too is cause for concern of future failure.
I found some info while researching also that showed damage to a tire sidewall caused by the user holding a high pressure power washer nozzle too close, leading to sidewall failure.
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:33 PM   #13
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Name: Jack
Trailer: '98 BURRO 17WB
Posts: 2,548
Goodyear Marathon ST205-75R14s. Load range "C". 50psi inflation; probably closer to 60psi reading in 90+F. temperatures. Painted steel rims w/ rubber valve stems. Biggest wheel and widest tire that will fit comfortably in the curbside Burro wheel well without the headache of arguing "offset" with the fellers at Eastern Marine. Only 900 mi. on them; shoot for 55-57 mph and catch myself when I get speed creep trying to run with the big dogs. Painted with that Sunblock "tire helper" and vinyl covers all the time at home. Too soon (or so far too lucky) to know but scared to death by the skinny on these tires and always check inflation on all three. I hope I'll have the common experience of seeing these tires killed by time and dry rot; Dave's "collateral damage" on blowout scenario isn't pleasant to contemplate.

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Old 07-17-2012, 03:15 PM   #14
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Seeking Bigfoot 25 RB
British Columbia
Posts: 1,138
Tow vehicle: 2006 Chev Silverado 3500
Tires : Michellin 245-75/16 Load range E, 8 ply, Speed rating R (106 mph/170 kph)
Rating 5 stars
For all the following trailers, I generally tow at "speed limit plus 10 kph/5mph"

Trailer 1: Bigfoot 21 footer Tandem axle.
3,800 lb empty, usually about 4,500 - 5,000 in use
Power King Towmax tires 205-75 / 14
max press is listed as 55 psi. Always run at 55 psi
ST tires, Too new to comment on them(less than 1,000 miles)

Previous tires on that trailer: Goodyear Marathon 205-75/14
max press 65 psi, always run at 65 psi
ST tires. Rating: ZERO stars: 2 tires out of the 4 suffered catastrophic failure within one year of new.

Trailer 2 Boler 1700 single axle approx 1500# empty, usually more like 2800 in use
Tires; Carlisle 205-75/14 Now 9 years old
usually run at 32-35 psi
ST tires rating 5 stars - never a single issue, tow like a dream

Trailer # 3 Cargo trailer GVW 10,000 lb
Tires : Hercules 225-75/16 Load range G
Trailer is run anywhere from empty to "hmm, might be tad over the limit"
Always run at 65 psi
Now 6 years old, well over 25,000 miles, no issues, 5 stars

Trailer # 4
18 foot flatdeck GVW 10,000
Tires: Summitt 750-15LT Bias ply They were on the trailer when we got it from the mfg in 1991 (we were dealers for this type of trailer in those days and this one was my demonstrator) Well over 20,000 miles.

12 ply always run at 50 psi
4 stars - they get flatspots when sitting for more than a day or two
Otherwise - no issues ever

Trailer 5: my Dad's old utility trailer (very interesting history on this one!)
Tires: T Eaton Co Bulldog, 670X15 whitewall passenger car tires run at 30 psi
Still working well, despite being well over 40 years old and being a tube tire!
No idea of miles on them (my Dad used it for years!) - but I have pulled it from Winnipeg to Fort McMurray, back to Winnipeg and back to Fort Mc. Then to N Battleford, then to west coast. Loaned to a friend who took it to Toronto and back and another who took it to Montreal and back.

5 stars

Trailer # 6 (my son's) Surfside 14
No idea what the weight is - say 1300 lb?

Tires: MPH II 185/80 -13 off a junkyard Pinto

Have put about 2000 miles on them since we put them on
4 stars

Trailer # 7 - (now sold) race car trailer (GVW 12,000) 3 axle - it had Goodride 225-75/15 run at 45-50 psi
2 stars they kept chunking off bits of tread on the rear axle only and sidewalls kept cracking , but otherwise never once went flat or gave any issues. They were 3 years old, with likely about 10,000 miles on them when trailer was sold

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