If you want to change your horse trailer tires, this is the guide you need to figure out the best tire size!
I know from my experience that changing tires for horse trailers is crucial to ensuring that you have a comfortable ride and safe, reliable performance.
The fact that you are here on my blog tells me you must be researching horse trailer tire sizes.
This begs the question – how do you know which size tires to buy?
- Take a look at the tires you’re currently using.
- Take a look on the tire sidewall for the size of the tire.
- Two-horse trailer tires are of the size 205/75-R15
- Four-horse trailer tires are of the size ST235/80-R16
- Use the gross vehicle weight rating to find out.
CHECK: How Often to Replace Trailer Tires
How To Choose Your Horse Trailer Tires
In addition to checking the sidewall information on the tires you’re currently using, I recommend you use your actual trailer’s VIN number to figure out the proper size trailer tires.
What Is The VIN?
Your trailer’s VIN is like an identification card, like any other vehicle’s number, mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA. (1)
The VIN is a 17-digit number unique to every vehicle that details the following information:
- The country of the trailer manufacturer
- The type of trailer
- The length/size of the trailer frame
- The axle count
- The check digit
- The date of manufacture
- The production plant
- The serial number
This list is all the essential information you will need when switching up any trailer parts or selling your horse trailer.
You can usually locate the VIN on the trailer’s identification plate, which would also include the gross vehicle weight rating or GVWR.
You can also calculate the load range for your trailer with the VIN.
Calculating the Load Range
It would be best if you had the GVWR because it tells you the total load range of your actual trailer.
The total load encompasses all potential weight, including livestock, the weight of the trailer itself, and the items inside it.
The GVWR will help you determine the correct tire size. Fortunately, the method is pretty simple.
All you need to do is divide the trailer’s maximum load-carrying capacity by the number of tires on the vehicle.
Each of the trailer tires is responsible for carrying that load.
When Do I Change My Trailer’s Tires?
Instead of suffering from flat, overused trailer tires, it’s best to learn when tires for horse trailers need replacement.
In my experience, do this before you end up on the side of the road with blown-out tires like when I was stubborn about getting them changed on time, insisting they could last the journey.
What a mistake!
The tread is one of the most important factors to consider about your tires.
The tread needs to be deep enough for proper traction; if you think the tread is worn out, you need to change your tires!
The tread is important because it’s one of the few things between you and an accident in harsh weather conditions.
It’ll also help carry heavy loads, especially during harsh, bumpy rides.
You’ll need to look out for uneven tread wear, too.
Sometimes, because of an unruly axle, the tread can wear out more in one place – like the center of the tire – than the other.
Sometimes, uneven tread wear results from underinflating or overinflating your tires.
The latter will cause the outer edges to wear out, whereas the former leads to the wearing out of your tread’s center.
You can also check the depth with a penny. No, I’m not kidding!
Insert the penny into the ridges in your tire, ensuring that you can see the side of the penny with Lincoln’s head.
If you can view any part of his head, your tires lack depth and are worn out.
Another common feature of used-up tires is cracking.
Dryness and cracking are inevitable for tires of a certain age, but also if your tires were exposed too long to the sun, bumpy roads, and rain.
You’re also meant to change your tires with both age and mileage. They would need changing after at least six years and every 8,000-10,000 miles.
CHECK: Best Horse Trailer Jacks Electric
What To Look For In Tires?
You need to know if you require an LT, which are tires meant for light truck usage, or ST, which are special trailer tires for trailer use.
Most boat trailers use special tires. Although you can go for light truck tires, special trailer tires keep in mind horse trailer safety.
In comparison, LT tires equip the user with better mileage, traction, and a stable ride.
ST tires come with stiffer and stronger sidewalls that help keep the trailer on track with safety advantages. (2)
ST tires provide higher load capacity than other tires, hence the high load ratings you’ll find when you do your research.
If you want visual help and another detailed guide, try watching this helpful video:
Frequently Asked Questions
Are bigger wheels better on a trailer?
Larger tires can offer a better weight capacity. Many riders also prefer this because the large rims offer a smoother ride even on the bumpiest roads.
Can I change the rim size on a trailer?
Tire rim size depends on whether or not you have enough space in the wheel well for a larger rim.
Can I use car tires on my horse trailer?
I would strictly recommend against this. Car tires cannot support the weight of a trailer and can lead to accidents when the tires ultimately blow due to rapid wearing out.
Do trailer tires need to be balanced?
If you’re going to drive the trailer above 30mph, then, yes, they need to be balanced.
Now you have all the necessary information to gauge what horse trailer tire size to select!
From where to find the tire size you need to know which tire type is best, you are now equipped to properly re-tire your trailer!
Let me know about your experiences with horse trailer tires in the comments below!
1. Software D. What Is the Right Trailer VIN Decoding Solution for Your Business? [Internet]. vin.dataonesoftware.com. [cited 2022 Nov 2]. Available from: https://vin.dataonesoftware.com/vin_basics_blog/trailer-vin-decoding-solutions-for-your-business#:~:text=What%20is%20a%20trailer%20VIN
2. What is the difference between ST and LT tires? [Internet]. Venture Trailers. [cited 2022 Nov 2]. Available from: https://venturetrailers.com/resource/what-is-the-difference-between-st-and-lt-tires/
Bryanna is a 23-year-old Florida-based Grade 1 Para-dressage rider based in Florida and she has been riding for 5 years. Horses are her passion and her ultimate goal is to be selected for the US Para-Equestrian Team and represent the US at the Paralympics. She rides at Quantum Leap Farm and Emerald M Therapeutic Riding Center and her equine partners are Shane, an American Paint Horse, and Cappy a Welsh x Thoroughbred. When she is not helping at the barn, riding, or training, she is learning about horses, writing articles about them, and using her social media platforms to raise awareness for therapeutic riding and para-equestrianism, shares her journey, and advocates for greater inclusion of para-equestrian in the media and equestrian sport at large.
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