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It turns out that the trailer for the Catalina 22 I purchased recently has dual axles (4 tires) of 175/70/13 passenger tires. They seem old and have been sitting for quite a while (at least one needs to be replaced) so I was considering getting a new set as I'll be transporting it a short distance from one boat storage yard to another (the new place allows me to do work on the boat) and I don't want to worry about these tires possibly giving out in transit.

I spoke to someone at the local tire place and he mentioned that the tires on there now are passenger tires and not trailer tires- he stated this is probably because the previous owner wanted to save money. He claimed that passenger tires are not safe for a boat trailer as it doesn't offer enough support and that it needs ST 175/80/13 trailer tires

My question is whether this was just tire guy rhetoric or whether this is indeed a safety issue and something that I need to heed. Of course I'd like to cut costs if possible, but at the same time I don't want my trailer/boat toppling over in transit. Any guidance would be appreciated.
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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You would think that a tire is just a tire, right? Nope. Trailer tires are manufactured a bit differently and are what you should use if you like your boat. Save one of the old tires for a spare.
I was helping a friend this past spring to haul his MacGregor 26 S and he had gone out and purchased a passenger car tire to replace a flat on his single axle trailer. I was following behind in my car when we got up to highway speed and the trailer started acting 'squirrely'. Then the new tire popped off and was bouncing across the highway while the trailer gave off sparks. Luckily, no one was hurt but our collective pride was in a shambles.
This problem likely occurred because the tire was not properly torqued down but may have been helped by the fact that the passenger tire did not seem to track properly which backed off all the lug nuts and then bye-bye tire.
This is not an expense that should be incurred often. I would get all new trailer tires and hope they last a long time.
Good luck.
 

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There are no absolutes about tires. Yes, for light duty and careful use, you could certainly use passenger tires on the trailer and probbaly do so legally. But trailer tires are designed with different properties, supposedly including much higher UV resistance since they are assumed to be left out baking in the sun all the time and never garaged. (You'll see may expensive RVs with sun covers on their tires when they are being stored, because of that.)

I'd call my favorite tire company, not just the guy selling them, and see what they say about their own brand. Then look at the costs.

Guys who fly down the highway at 80mph with trailers that have 55-mph limits (on the trailer and tire alike) obviously aren't quite the same as guys who stick to trailer speed limits, check their air pressure, carry lighter loads less often and so on.

If your trailer is oversize for your load, and you're only making two sorts trips a year to store and launch the boat...passenger tires might be good enough.
 

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A trailer tire is MUCH stiffer in side to side sway with 4 to 6 ply sidewalls and generally made in many capacities B,C,D in the same size to suit the load and they run much higher air pressure than car tires

BUT C22s come from the factory with a single axle trailer SO i think you will be OK with the tandem

The BIG issue right now is finding a NON-CHINESE trailer tire :(
 

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Trailer tires often have stiffer sidewalls, higher load ratings, higher temperature resistance, better UV tolerance, etc... They're also often smaller than car tires, so, need to be engineered a bit better.
 

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My understanding of the issue from back in my trailering days was that you Don't use Radial Ply tires. I see most of the previous posts dancing around the issue with "stiffer sides" , not "passenger tires", etc... That's the biggest difference between radials and non-radials. The trailers can't handle the squirming/side flexing that radials are Designed To Give You. When I went to a trailer place it was simple - Don't Buy Radials.
 

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I went through this a little over a year ago...had to buy a pair each for our C22 and our motor boat. Trailer tires are different from passenger car tires....they are made for infrequent use/long storage times and heavy loading (check the load ratings of trailer tires vs. passenger tires), with stiffer sidewalls to reduce side sway. Trailer tires are made in both radial and bias ply constructions, but both are different from passenger tires of either type. They are a little more expensive than low end passenger tires. The brands will likely (with exeception of Goodyear) be brands you have not heard of before, and only a few companies make them. In my search for brands (plus experience on motor boat trailer), I purchased Tow Master (bias ply) from Cabela's by mail....replaced both the tire and the wheels on C22 trailer as the old wheels showed a bit of rust. Used MAXXIS radials on the motor boat, since I could not find the Tow Master's unmounted. Do your own search on the internet....some of the more frequently encountered trailer tires have a real marginal marginal/quality record. You need to go with real trailer tires (the load range will dictate this), and one thing you don't want to do is to mix radial and bias ply tires of any type. Also, the discussion has been about passenger tires vs. trailer tires. Light truck tires are available also, but again these are not really suitable for trailer tires, as you investigation will show.
 

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I keep hearing people mentioning trailer tires of the radial and bias variety. What are the benefits and drawbacks to either type?
Well, It seems I've been corrected on my blanket statement earlier of No Radial for Trailers. But..... What makes Radials Good for steered vehicles makes them Bad for trailers.
The Radial ply allows the sidewalls to flex on corners keeping the Tread more level on the pavement for better traction. That benefit for steered vehicles has been clear for many years.
The problem is for a Trailer is that same side wall flexing - That Radials Do So Well - does nothing but bad things when your trailer starts whipping around. Tread Traction is of relatively little importance for your trailer because by the time things are so bad that you are "breaking traction" with your trailer tires your trailer has probably already flipped or whipped you off the road.
If they have now made Radials with stiffer sidewalls to basically defeat the purpose of the Radial ply for twice the price - fine buy them if you wish.
 

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You didn't get him to pull over to see what the problem was:eek: :eek: :eek:

You would think that a tire is just a tire, right? Nope. Trailer tires are manufactured a bit differently and are what you should use if you like your boat. Save one of the old tires for a spare.
I was helping a friend this past spring to haul his MacGregor 26 S and he had gone out and purchased a passenger car tire to replace a flat on his single axle trailer. I was following behind in my car when we got up to highway speed and the trailer started acting 'squirrely'. Then the new tire popped off and was bouncing across the highway while the trailer gave off sparks. Luckily, no one was hurt but our collective pride was in a shambles.
This problem likely occurred because the tire was not properly torqued down but may have been helped by the fact that the passenger tire did not seem to track properly which backed off all the lug nuts and then bye-bye tire.
This is not an expense that should be incurred often. I would get all new trailer tires and hope they last a long time.
Good luck.
 

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I keep hearing people mentioning trailer tires of the radial and bias variety. What are the benefits and drawbacks to either type?
One of the issues is that bias ply tires often develope a 'flat' spot after sitting for a while, it normally goes away in the first mile or so but can be extremely annoying. Radials are often claimed to have a longer lifespan.

Those are the only advantages of the radial for trailers I know of, there are others that apply to vehicles, but they don't all apply to trailer use. on vehicles they have the same advantages, plus they'll provide a smoother ride all around and generally provide better traction.

In my opinion, stiffening the sidewall for trailer use reduces the advantages of using the radial in the first place.

Ken.
 

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Single axle---trailer tires

Dual axle ---raidal tires as long as they meet the load requirements.

Run either tire within 2 psi or higher than their rated max load rating cold.
 

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"purchased a passenger car tire to replace a flat"
One tire only? If you don't replace both sides of the axle at the same time, there will be problems regardless of the tire types. Then, since it was a newly mounted tire, there's no way to know if the rim was damaged, the mounting was improper (tire cord torn during mounting), the air pressure wrong, the torque on the lug nuts wrong....
So at least five things may have been wrong enough to cause that failure. Can't say that the sixth (passenger tire) alone was the problem.

Michelin and Goodyear make radial trailer tires, in some sizes at least they only make radial trailer tires. If I had to choose between no-name Chinese bias play trailer tires, and top brand reliable trailer tires that happened to be radial...I'd trust the top brands. And yes, find the extra dollars to pay for them, one way or another. I'd rather take a Nantucket Sleigh Ride than ride on Chinese tires.
 

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Radial vs. Bias Ply: As I said in my previous post, I have both. I believe the bias ply tires give a steadier towing situation. The radial trailer tires give a softer ride to the trailer (accommodating bumps better), but this same flexing movement is adverse to good trailer handling (in my opinion) since sideways movement of the trailer in a curve or emergency situation is not good..the movement can impart twisting motion to the tow vehicle, which could help break the tow vehicle's traction in marginal conditions. That said, I don't anticipate taking the trailer radials off the motor boat trailer.
 

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You didn't get him to pull over to see what the problem was:eek: :eek: :eek:
By the time I noticed the trailer acting squirrely to the time the tire jumped off the axle I could not have called him by cell phone. I will also admit that I believe that they were going too fast and had unfounded faith in their trailer.

HS, yes, only 1 tire was replaced which was also a no-no. I also agree with you that the passenger tire was only 1 of several potential contributing factors to the trailer accident I described. I know that my friend had become a bit cavalier about trailering his boat and was just being cheap when it came to replacing the tire(s). This incident was a wake up call for him and he realized that we really dodged a bullet since the rogue tire did not jump into the oncoming lanes of highway traffic which could have been fatal for another driver.
I also learned a lot of trailering lessons from this incident - the first is never let your guard down or assume that everything will work as designed or intended. A standard checklist of things to check BEFORE leaving your driveway with a trailer would probably cover the rest.
 

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Always check yur lug nuts before towing.

I have had the lug nuts come loose on the side that a power boat was parked when I left the trailer after launching.

Good thing I always get out the star wrench before towing.

Tire pressure should also be checked often. A tire should never run hot. Pull over and check tires and boat after a few miles of high speed towing.
 
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