The Best RV Trailer Tires in 2018
Reviews + Comparisons + Buying Guide
RV tires resemble car tires, but real RV tires have a number of differences that truly make a difference when you’re on the road. The best RV tires may be light truck tires (LT) or special trailer tires (ST), and each of these categories impact the performance of the tires.
However, both trailer and RV light truck tires share a number of similarities while differing from the tires that sit on your car. You need the right type of tires on loaded RV you’re driving and the trailer that you’re pulling to maximize your fuel economy and safety.
Top 7 Best Travel Trailer Tires for RV - Comparison
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What's an RV Tire?
RV tires are typically heavier duty and tougher than the average car tire. Special trailer and light truck tires, the two types often used on recreational vehicles, are designed to carry the full weight branded on the side of the tire. ST or special trailer tires should only be used on trailers like pulled RV coaches; they’re not designed for steering or propelling a load, only minimizing road friction. LT or truck tires will be what you put on an RV built onto the body of a small truck.
What Are the Benefits of Using the Perfect RV Tires?
The perfect RV tires are those designed to carry the load of your vehicle, passengers and content. But what are the actual benefits of using the right types of RV tires on your vehicle?
RV tires are designed to carry heavy loads. If you put standard car tires on an RV, they’re likely to blow out because they are not designed to carry that kind of load. If an LT or ST tire says it can handle 10,000 pounds, it can be used on a 10,000 pound RV. P-metric and Euro-metric tires can only carry 90% of the full weight rating. Put a full load on it, and you risk a catastrophic blowout while driving.
The greater the load range or ply count, the greater the load the tire can safely handle without failure. Note that the load your tires can handle is based as much on the tires’ rating as that of the wheels themselves. Putting stronger tires on the RV doesn’t mean the wheels themselves can handle that much weight. However, heavier-duty tires can safely be put on the RV without any adverse effects.
When you put the wrong type of tires on a vehicle, they won’t meet the road in the intended way. Whether the tire ends up flattened out as if under inflated or doesn’t meet the road surface properly, it will end up resisting the road surface and cut into your fuel efficiency. Check the speed ratings of the tires, though, since tires driven at a higher speed than their rating will work against you.
ST or special trailer tires are designed to carry heavy loads for a long time. If you put ST tires on a trailer, they’ll last longer than similarly sized tires not designed for the load. The tread on RV tires will last longer than non-RV tires put on an RV. Yes, in a pinch, you can put car tires on an RV so you can drive to the next rest stop, camp site or repair shop, but they shouldn’t be used for long distances.
How to choose the right RV trailer tires?
If you want to know how to choose the right RV trailer tires, the answer is that it depends on what you need. We’re going to outline the major factors you need to consider when shopping for RV trailer tires. We will also explain the different choices you have with regard to each of these factors.
There are two main types of RV tires: light truck tires and standard trailer tires. It is safe to put light truck tires on a trailer, but it isn’t safe to put standard trailer tires on light trucks. The low road resistance of tires made specifically for trailers makes it hard to stop in as short a distance as possible, and stopping distance is already a challenge for RVs.
02) Weight and Size of the Tire
You don’t put a tricycle tire on a ten speed bike, and you wouldn’t dream of putting a bike tire on your car. The reason in all these cases is the same – it doesn’t fit. Know the size of tire that is supposed to go on the RV wheel or the trailer, and only put the right sized tires on the wheels. Buy tires that match your rim size. Check the size chart for each tire brand to make sure you’re buying the right sized tire for your wheels.
03) Load Capacity
RV tires are not all the same. Tires are designed to support a certain weight range, and the odds they’ll fail go up as you overload them.
A starting place for determining the necessary load capacity for your tires is weighing your RV or trailer. Don’t be surprised if your RV exceeds the weight rating of your tires; about a quarter of vehicles were found to be overloaded. This accelerates the wear on the tires and increases the odds of a blowout.
The fully loaded weight of your RV divided by the number of tires is a general value you can use to determine the load capacity you need in a tire. The maximum load amount that a tire can tolerate is stamped into the sidewall. However, you don’t want a tire that is rated to barely carry the load you’re going to put on it. Instead, you want a tire where the expected load is smack dab in the middle of the range the tire can support.
Then you don’t have to worry about a blowout because you added an extra 750 pounds of water, propane and gear to the trailer. It also protects you in case the RV or trailer weight distribution isn’t even. If all the weight is on the back tires, you’re increasing the odds of a blowout or premature wear unless the excess weight is still within its safe range.
Don't increase the Load of trailer tires
Do not try to increase the load capacity of your tires by over-inflating them. And never exceed the maximum safe tire pressure printed on the tire sidewall.
The load range or ply rating of a tire is indicated by a letter stamped on the side of the sidewall. A load range C tire typically has an average capacity of 1500 pounds, while a load D tire can support closer to 1200 tires. However, the exact load range of a tire depends on the manufacturer and model.
P-metric and Euro-metric tires have a weight rating that should be reduced by 10% when installed on an RV because of the vehicle’s higher center of gravity. This means a Euro-metric tire rated for 2000 pounds is really only going to safely carry 1800 pounds.
If your RV can expand out and create more living space, this can put more weight on the tires on the side where it sticks out.
In this case, pay extra for stronger tires. Just realize that putting tires on wheels that aren’t as strong won’t make the wheel wells or axles capable of handling the excessive load.
04) The Power of the Sidewall
Strong sidewalls on a tire will be able to form minor cracks on exposure to ultraviolet light and wear and still run for a long time before failing. A weak sidewall increases the odds of problems when you’re out on the road. If you’re often scuffing the tires on the curb while pulling into a parking space, a heavier duty sidewall may be worth the extra money. This isn’t guaranteed when you buy a tire with a high end of the load range but is generally correlated.
05) Tire Pressure Rating
Tire pressure ratings tell you what the tire pressure needs to be and what the maximum safe high and low tire pressures are. If you tend not to check tire pressures, you may want RV and trailer tires that can safely run at low tire pressures. That is especially true if you rarely check the tire pressure for the inside tires of your trailer.
A high tire pressure rating may matter if you’re going to travel through very hot areas, since the tire may end up getting so hot that the tires have too much pressure, accelerating wear and increasing the risk of failure.
If you’re choosing high pressure tires, make certain that the valves are easy to access for pressure checks and refilling.
06) Quality of the Ride
The tread design of an RV trailer tire affects things like its stability during cornering and traction. Some tires have great side-slip resistance, something you’ll appreciate if you often change lanes or travel sloping roads. Thicker tread also means that you’ll have better handling and wet weather breaking as the tread wears down, though the tires still need to be replaced once they’re less than 2/32 of an inch, ideally well before that point since handling diminishes when you only have 4/32 of an inch of tread.
One issue many RV owners forget is the speed rating of the tires. Many ST tires are rated for speeds topping out at 65 miles per hour. If you overload the tires or the inflation is less than ideal, and the safe speed for the tires goes down. If you want to travel 80 miles an hour down the highway, make sure the tires are up to it.
07) Distance and Terrain Capability
Walking shoes and hiking boots have different treads, since hiking boots are made to go on uneven gravel and sand. If you will be driving on good roods, straight rib tires are fine. If you’re going to drive on rougher surfaces or off road with your RV, tires with deeper treads are your friend. Also, If you’re going to drive on rough rural roads, you’ll appreciate all wheel drive tires on the RV and attached trailer.
Note that if you have 4x4 vehicles or all-wheel drive, all wheels need to match. If you have a two wheel drive motor home or RV, you may want highway tires with straight ribs on the front and heavy traction on the back tires.
Straight rib highway tires give you the best fuel economy, but that doesn’t matter as much if you’re going to get stuck in the mud at every other campsite.
Radial tires tend to have less friction with the road, improving fuel efficiency, and they generally last longer. Bias ply tires may be cheaper. However, you shouldn’t mix radial tires and bias-ply tires since this significantly alters the handling of the RV and trailer.
08) How It Handles Bad Weather
Just as you can get snow tires and tires made for rainy climates for your car, the same are available for an RV or trailer. The average RV has generic tires. It only makes sense to pay extra for tires that handle specific weather conditions better than average if you’re going to spend a lot of time in those climates.
So if you’re going to be driving your RV through wintery conditions all winter, go ahead and get the snow tires. If you’re going to travel to warmer climates for the winter, don’t bother getting the snow tires.
Another factor to consider is the rib tread design. Some tires are simply designed to last longer before the tread wears down. RV trailer tires with deep tread may be able to handle wet pavement well though not specifically listed as “rainy weather” tires.
How well a tire handles pressure changes will affect those who are experiencing wide temperature swings or air pressure changes. If you change elevation by 5000 feet, the tire pressure will change by two to three PSI. For every 10 degrees Fahrenheit change, the tire pressure changes 0.7 PSI. If you’ll be parked in a desert campsite where temperatures can swing 40-50� in a 24 hour period, tires more forgiving of pressure changes may be worth the extra cost.
There are RV tires and trailer tires filled with nitrogen. The main benefit of these tires is that their tire pressure isn’t going to change much in response to wild swings in temperature. If you’re concerned about traveling up and down the mountains and your tire pressure changing enough that your tires are now over or under inflated, nitrogen tires may be worthwhile. A potential benefit of these tires is that they leak nitrogen more slowly than a conventional tire would leak air, but this doesn’t eliminate the need to check your tire pressure regularly
Nitrogen filled tires are identifiable by their green stem. Your typical RV and travel trailer tires should not ever be filled with nitrogen.
Here are the Top 12 Best RV Trailer Tires Full Reviews
Our experts did a great job for making a list of the best RV trailer tires. After ensure the quality and other matters, they selected 10+ RV tires to review specifically. We hope- This effort will help RV Owners to choose one of the best and enjoy the road journey. So why are we waiting for? Let's continue ...
01) Carlisle Radial Trail HD Trailer Tire - ST205/75R15
Editor Rating: 4/5
These are affordable trailer tires. They are more durable than their predecessors. Without that, They have decent heat resistance and better than average tread.
They’re ST or standard trailer tires. Their section width is 205 millimeters. They have an aspect ratio of 75 and they're radial tires.
They have a long operational life as long as they aren’t overloaded. Their load index rating is 107. That means they can carry over 2000 pounds at top highway speeds.
In theory, you can put as much as 2150 pounds of weight on each tire safely. Their load range would be classified as D. They are the best RV tires for someone on a budget.
They fit 15 inch rims. They’re designed for wheels with a 5.5” rim width but fit tires with a 5” or 6” width. They have a speed rating of M or medium. Tread depth is 9 / 32 inches. The variable pitch pattern minimizes road noise.
One of the downsides of these basic tires is that they aren’t designed for double axle trailers. They’re prone to failure when used this way. They don’t work well when you have two side by side on one side of a heavy trailer, either. Another issue is their weak sidewalls.
02) Goodyear Unisteel G614 RST Radial Tire - 235/85R16 126R
Editor Rating: 4.5/5
This is a Goodyear trailer tire. Don’t use it on your truck. These radial tires have a load index of 126. They are designed for 16 inch rims.
Their section width is 235 millimeters. The tire aspect ratio is 85. They handle rough roads and gravel well. Also, They hold air for a long time.
They have a speed rating of L or about 75 miles per hour though some incorrect listings say they are rated R for 105 miles per hour.
One of the downsides of these tires is their price.
Each tire individually costs as much as two to four of some of the cheaper tires on this list. That’s aside from the fact that some sellers will send older tires for that price tag.
03) Michelin XPS RIB Truck Radial Tire - 235/85R16 120R E1
Editor Rating: 4.5/5
These Michelin tires are expensive. The manufacturer says they give you longer-lasting treads and a stronger steel casing. These tires come with a tread wear indicator, a nice point it their favor.
They have a section width and rim width of 235 millimeters. Their aspect ratio is 85. They’re heavier than average, but that’s in part because they are sturdier than average. Their load range is E or 10 ply tires.
They’ll handle very heavy loads, up to 3000 pounds when at the right pressurization. These tires can be used for either dual tire or single tire applications. These radial tires are designed for wheels with 16” rims.
They have a load index rating of 120. Their speed rating is given as R, though that doesn’t mean you can actually drive the RV that fast. The tires provide good stability when changing lanes or breaking. These are the best RV tires for those who need ultra-stable tires on their trailer.
04) Maxxis M8008 ST Radial Trailer Tire - 225/75R15 BSW
Editor Rating: 4.5/5
These trailer tires are middle of the pack in terms of price on sale, expensive if you have to pay full price, but they aren’t the most expensive ones on this list at full price.
They have a section width of 225 millimeters. Their aspect ratio is 75. The fit rims with a diameter of 15 inches. Their loading index is 117.
They are listed as having a speed rating of R on many sites, but they are actually rated for a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour.
They have a 10 ply rating, making them very strong. The double steel belts make it durable.
Their tread minimizes resistance and improves fuel economy; these are excellent tires for the literal long haul. They have better than average shock absorption to provide better than average smooth handling.
These are great tires for taking on bumpy roads and off road. There are reports that the tire weights in some tires weren’t properly balanced, contributing to blowouts.
05) 4 Load Radial Trailer Tires ST225/75R15 10 Ply Load Range E from MILLION PARTS
Editor Rating: 4.0/5
While the price tag may initially put someone off, know that this is for four tires. You’re getting a full set of trailer tires for this price.
These tires are 10 ply.
Their load range is E. They’re designed for wheels with six inch rims and 15 inch rim diameter. They have a maximum load of 2800 / 2500 pounds at 80 PSI. Each tire individually is rather light. They have middling tread depth of 6.5 millimeters.
Their speed rating is L. That gives them a maximum recommended speed of 75 miles per hour, better than some of the other tires on this list.
One of the downsides of these tires is the short, six month manufacturer warranty.
06) Bridgestone Duravis M700 HD Radial Tire - 235/80R17 120R
Editor Rating: 4.0/5
These radial tires have a load range of E and ply rating of 10. The manufacturer says their speed rating is R. Their section width is 235 millimeters. The tire aspect ratio is 80.
They have a load index of 120. They are designed for 17 inch rims. They’re somewhat heavy. One point in their favor is the free tread wear indicator that comes with them.
The ultra-thick treads give you maximum traction; the treads themselves are half an inch thick. These are the best tires to have on your vehicle or trailer if you’re driving on slick, wet surfaces.
What’s not to love?
For starters, the price tag. You pay as much for one of these tires as you could one of the cheap sets of tires on this list.
07) ST 225/75R15 Freestar M-108 10 Ply E Load Radial Trailer Tire 2257515
Editor Rating: 4.5/5
These standard trailer tires are middle of the pack in terms of price. They are the older version of the Freestar model M-108+ tires.
Depending on where you look, this could result in them being cheaper than the newer model. This also means they may have limited quantities in stock.
These are 10 ply radial trailer tires. They’re designed specifically for 15 inch rims. Their section width is 225 millimeters and aspect ratio is 75. They weigh about 30 pounds each. The tread depth is 10 / 32 of an inch.
Their speed rating is J. This gives them a maximum recommended speed of 62 miles per hour.
Don’t use these tires if you plan on cruising down the highway at seventy or eighty miles per hour. Handling will deteriorate. If the roads are wet, go even slower.
Before you balk at the high price tag, note that this is for a full set of four tires. This makes each individual tire quite affordable. Buying a set like this is a good idea if you’ve tried balancing tires or have an uneven ride, since you get four matching tires at once.
These tires are ten ply. They are designed for tires with six inch rims. They can handle a maximum load of 2800 pounds at 80 PSI. The inner belts are reinforced with nylon to make them more durable.
Their speed rating is L, giving it a top safe speed of 75 miles per hour. This is somewhat higher than other tires on this list. This is perhaps the best RV tires for someone on a budget who expects to go 70 mph down the highway.
One issue with this model is the limited availability. The other is that some suppliers ship tires with a lower “ply” rating than advertised. However, that isn’t the manufacturer’s fault.
09) Dunlop Grandtrek AT20 All-Season Tire - 245/75R16 109S
Editor Rating: 4.0/5
These radial tires cost a touch more than average. However, you’re paying in part for tire treads that are quieter than average. The same tread gives them good traction on wet roads.
It is almost as good as tires designed for rainy climates but you aren’t charged a premium for that feature.
The tires are ultra-stable. The polyester inside keeps the tires’ ride smooth and predictable. However, they’re basic road tires, not all weather tires.
They have a load index of 109. They are designed for 16 inch rims. The section width is 245 millimeters. The aspect ratio for these tires is 75.
They are listed as have a speed rating of S. If this is true, then they are good for speeds up to 112 miles per hour. They come with a tread wear indicator.
They are listed as heavy duty tires suitable for putting on a light truck or SUV. However, they’re more suitable for passenger vehicles.
They’re rated for loads of 1030 kilograms or 2270 pounds per tire. You can put them on your car or a basic camper van, not a heavily loaded RV built into a light truck frame.
10) Trailer King ST Radial Trailer Tire - 205/75R15 107L
Editor Rating: 4.0/5
These tires have an average price tag at full price but become one of the cheapest tires on our list when you find it on sale.
These tires are designed for fifteen inch rims.
They have a section width of 205 millimeters. Their aspect ratio is 75 and load index rating is 107. Their speed rating is L.
They can be safely driven at speeds up to 75 miles per hour. Weighing in at around 25 pounds, they can be easily rotated or changed by one person.
The manufacturer offers a limited warranty. The tread depth is only 9.5 / 32 of an inch, less than 10 /32 of an inch, well below a third of an inch.
The tread on these tires will wear down faster than average, and they won’t survive minor scrapes as well as some of the other RV tires on this list. Don’t buy this if you’re going to drive over rough rocks or hit the curb.
11) Wheels Express Inc 15" White Spoke Trailer Wheel with Radial ST225/75R15 Tire Mounted (6x5.5) bolt circle
Editor Rating: 4.3/5
These tires have a somewhat higher than average load rating – they can support 2500 pounds at most. They officially are in load range D. Their maximum pressure is 65 PSI.
These tires are a little more expensive than average, but that is in part because the tires are mounted on a steel wheel. You aren’t just getting the tire but the rims as well.
These tires may be a good choice for strapping onto the top of the RV as a replacement if you have a tendency of damaging rims as well as the tires themselves.
The wheel has a six lug, five and a half inch center. Make sure these tire/wheel combos fit your car before you buy them. The tires have a fifteen inch rim diameter.
The manufacturer offers a better than average five year warranty. The only minor downside here is that the tires are not perfectly balanced. This can impact handling.
12) Hankook Optimo H724 All-Season Tire - 225/75R15 102S
Editor Rating: 4.7/5
These tires are reasonably priced, but once you realize they’re all weather tires, you’ll see that they are a bargain. They’re designed to handle wet pavement and slick conditions.
They’re specifically engineered to hold to the road when you change lanes or turn on wet, icy or sandy roads. Just know that they are not snow tires. Yet they could be driven on pavement with a light dusting of snow, especially if you go slowly.
They have an aspect ratio of 75. These radial tires have a section width of 225 millimeters. The tires’ pitch is intended to minimize road noise. Their load index rating is 102.
They have a hard bead filler that is supposed to make them more durable than average. They come with a tire wear indicator. The tread depth is 10 millimeters, nearly 13 / 32 inches – much thicker than average.
They have a speed rating of S, in part because they are passenger vehicle tires – so you could in theory drive 100 miles per hour with these tires on your vehicle. Note that they are passenger vehicle tires, not light truck tires.
You can put them on a basic camper van or on your trailer in a pinch, but these are not the best RV tires for installing on a fully loaded RV.
How to Maintain RV Tires to Maximize Their Life?
Good maintenance can prolong the life of RV tires by up to 50%. Here are a few tips for maintaining RV tires.
Take It for a Drive
One simple tip is to take the RV for a drive. Many people know that a car engine needs to run once in a while to circulate the fluids and prevent sediment settling down and clotting something critical. It turns out that tires that sit too long likewise suffer. If they sit in one position too long, they risk becoming brittle and cracked. Yes, we’re telling you to take the RV for a spin to distribute the load on the tires and extend the life of the rubber.
Use Sunscreen – or the Equivalent
You can maximize the life of the tires by not exposing them to direct sunlight unless necessary. This may make paying for covered RV storage a worthwhile expense. Parking in the shade provides similar benefits.
You can apply UV protection to tires to protect the rubber. Conversely, you don’t want to use cleaning products on the tires that negatively affect the material. Don’t wash the tires all the time – this dries out the plastic and ages it prematurely. Don’t apply alcohol to the tires. And don’t use petroleum based tire cleaning products on RV tires. These can all make the tires’ rubber dry out and crack.
Rotate the Tires
Rotate the tires on your RV as you do with your car. The general rule of thumb for rotating car tires is every 20,000 miles or every other oil change. When it comes to RV tires, it is recommended every six to eight thousand miles.
Maintain the Right Tire Pressure
Before you go on a trip, check the tire pressure levels. Properly inflated RV tires last longer. You’re avoiding excessive wear and tear on the edges and side walls. A side benefit of proper inflation is improved gas mileage.
Check your RV tire pressure regularly with a tire pressure tool. Under-inflated tires get hot whether or not the rims are touching the ground.
This excessive heat causes abnormal wear and increases the risk of a blowout. If you don’t have a blowout, you’ll still have an increased risk of tire failure. You can tell that you have underinflated tires when the tread on the outside is wearing down more than that in the middle.
Some people over-inflate tires in the hope this will improve their gas mileage. Unfortunately, over-inflating tires can be dangerous in its own right. It will wear the tread out prematurely. That makes it harder to stop on slick pavement, and when it is bad, it increases the tire temperature and risk of a blowout.
A popular trend right now is filling RV tires with nitrogen instead of conventional compressed air. Pure nitrogen doesn’t change its density as much as air in response to extreme temperatures, so in very hot climates, your tires won’t run as hot. Theoretically, they leak air more slowly. Conversely, they require a highly accurate pressure gauge to notice any type of leak, as well.
Tires filled with nitrogen have a green valve stem on them. Do not put nitrogen in conventional RV tires, since they aren’t made for it. Whether you want to replace your current tires with nitrogen filled ones is your decision. Just know that it may make it much harder to put more air/gas in the tires if they are low.
Limit Their Exposure to Ozone
Ozone accelerates the wear of rubber. While you can’t do much about air quality in general, you can address air quality in and around the RV by not having the generator exhaust right next to the RV tires.
When to Replace Your Existing RV Tires
Tires may be replaced based on their condition or their age. We’ll discuss how to know when the tire has reached that point in either case.
How to Know When to Replace RV Tires?
When you look at the letters and numbers on the side of your RV tires, understand that series of letters and numbers means something. It is here you’ll see the LT for light truck tires and ST for special trailer tires.
DOT is simply a reference to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The next letter number combination references the plant where the RV tire was made. This is useful information for tracking down manufacturing defects when they’re identified. Next is an identifier for the tire size. There may or may not be an additional code before the manufacturing company’s identifying code and the manufacture date of the tire.
The first two digits are the week in which it was manufactured, while the last two digits are the year in which it was produced. Thus 0105 means the tire was made in January 2005 while 082010 means the tire was made around late February, 2010, not August, 2010. The manufacture date of the tire allows you to know how old the tire is. The age of the tire is based on when it was made, not when it was installed.
A good rule of thumb is replacing the tires once they hit seven years of age, assuming they haven’t worn down dangerously thin by that point.
How to Know When Tires Are Too Worn to Keep On?
There are many people who drive long distances in their RV, and their RV tires simply won’t last seven years. How then do you know when to replace the RV tires? By their condition.
RV tires will first form cracking and crazing in the sidewalls. If these cracks are larger than a sixteenth of an inch in depth, anywhere on the tire, the tire needs to be replaced. If you can see any internal components of the tire like the steel tread or the fabric body plies, replace the tire. (The belts may be polyester or made of metal, but if you see them, replace the tire.)
If the tire has had repairs for holes, developed cuts in the tread or has many sidewall scuffs, you probably want to replace it before it suffers a structural failure.
The tread depth itself is another indicator of when the tire needs to be replaced. If the treads are less than 6/32 of an inch thick, the tires need to be replaced because they just don’t have good traction on the road. If the handling is deteriorating or you’re having issues stopping, you can have the tires replaced before they reach that point. Do what you think is necessary to stay safe.
If you’re in doubt as to the condition of your RV tires, ask a professional. You’d much rather ask if a tire needs to be replaced and be told no than have to come in with a blow out later.
The best RV tires will fit your vehicle and your budget without compromising safety. The ideal RV tire will last for ages while maximizing your fuel economy. Understand the size of your wheels, your intended traveling speed, expected driving conditions and how much weight the tires need to support so that you can find the right RV tires for your particular situation.