Travel Trailer Tire Wear
June 30, 2002
Filed under Trailer How To
Q. I purchased a trailer with new tires and, after approximately 2,200 miles on them, the two inside treads wore down completely; the same thing happened on both tires. I talked to the people where I bought the tire, and they weren’t able to give me an answer. They just said the tires were probably out of balance. I thought out of balance would cause cupping, not smooth wearing of two inside treads. I’m sure other people have had the same problems. Was wondering if you folks had any ideas on this.
— G.M., Springfield, Missouri
A. If you bought the trailer new, the warranty should cover that kind of rapid and premature tire wear. Even if it was used, the selling dealer or individual should be able to fill you in on its past history, and I doubt the tire wear started just when you bought it — unless you have massively overloaded the trailer. You need to cure the cause, not just keep replacing tires. Out-of-balance tires would indeed cause cupping and other irregular wear trouble. Because of the inside tread wear, it sounds like the alignment is way off, as if the axle is bent down in the center. This tips the tops of the tires in and the bottoms out, resulting in more wear on the inside tread where there’s more pressure on the tire against the ground. This happens sometimes when the axle is overloaded, and the leverage between the tires and springs causes the center of the axle to bend down. It can also happen when the axle is too small for the application, in which case it’s overloaded unintentionally. Take the trailer to an RV service center that’s familiar with trailer tire alignment. They may be able to cure your rapid tire wear by realigning or replacing the axle as needed.
Jeff Johnston, TL technical director, started RVing at age 6. During his more than 20 years as a writer/photographer, he has worked for Truckin’ and Four Wheeler magazines before joining TL’s technical staff in 1985. Johnston also has produced an award-winning travel video and TV commercials.