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LAST UPDATED: November 21, 2019

Best Tires for Towing: The Right Support for Effective Towing Power

These top towing tires provide the best durability and stability

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PUBLISHED ON November 21, 2019

Towing is serious work, and normal tires won’t be able to withstand that level of load. Selecting the right tires for towing is extremely important for safety. Do your homework before buying new tires as there are quite a few factors involved. We take a look at the three best tires for towing in the buying guide below.

  • Best Overall
    Michelin Defender LTX M/S All-Season Radial Tire
    Michelin Defender LTX M/S All-Season Radial Tire
    Summary
    Summary

    These all-season tires provide shorter wet stopping distances and provide great traction in the snow. They come with a 70,000-mile manufacturer's treadwear limited warranty, and they're eco-friendly.

    Pros
    Pros

    These tires are solid and provide great traction in rain, snow, and on dry pavement. They handle really well, ride great at highway speeds, and have stable sidewalls.

    Cons
    Cons

    They tend to be noisy, and they may wear out much earlier than the 70,000-mile warranty. They may also vibrate after a few thousand miles.

  • Best Overall
    Michelin Defender LTX M/S All-Season Radial Tire
    Michelin Defender LTX M/S All-Season Radial Tire
  • Best Value
    Firestone Transforce HT Radial Tire
    Firestone Transforce HT Radial Tire
    Summary
    Summary
    These light truck all-season tires are constructed of steel and polyester. They feature circumferential grooves for extra traction in wet conditions, continuous shoulder ribs, and a computer-designed body.
    Pros
    Pros
    They're stable and smooth when pulling a heavy trailer. They perform well in wet conditions and also on mud, snow, and soft surfaces, even though they're a road tire.
    Cons
    Cons
    The tread life of these tires may not be as long as the manufacturer claims. They may also wear unevenly, and the sidewalls may crack after a short period of use.
  • Best Value
    Firestone Transforce HT Radial Tire
    Firestone Transforce HT Radial Tire
  • Honorable Mention
    Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac Traction Radial Tire
    Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac Traction Radial Tire
    Summary
    Summary

    These off-road terrain tires provide extra traction in deep mud and snow. They are designed for towing and hauling, are snow certified, and come with rim protectors.

    Pros
    Pros

    They look and feel great, whether you’re riding on snow, ice, mud, or the highway. They don't make a lot of road noise, and they ride smoothly.

    Cons
    Cons
    Their lateral stability is not so good, and when towing you may feel like you're moving all over the place. Also, the sidewalls seem to be softer than other brands.
  • Honorable Mention
    Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac Traction Radial Tire
    Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac Traction Radial Tire

    Towing is serious work, and normal tires won’t be able to withstand that level of load. Selecting the right tires for towing is extremely important for safety. Do your homework before buying new tires as there are quite a few factors involved. We take a look at the three best tires for towing in the buying guide below.

    Best Tires for Towing Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    These all-season light truck, SUV, and crossover tires provide shorter wet stopping distances compared to their rivals. They also provide great traction in the snow. The MaxTouch construction saves users up to 65 gallons of fuel through the tire's lifespan. The tires also come with a 70,000-mile manufacturer's treadwear limited warranty.


    These tires provide excellent wet and dry traction and are solid in rain, snow and dry pavement.  They perform well and have a great tread life. You can get thousands of miles out of the tires even if you run them on hot roads in southern states. They have stable feeling sidewalls and overall handle really well. They also ride great at highway speeds.


    Because they are rated to handle higher weights and loads, they are noisier than passenger-rated tires. There have also been some complaints that the tires wear out significantly before 70,000 miles. Also, they may also start vibrating after a few thousand miles.

    Best Value

    Firestone's Transforce HTs are all-season tires for light trucks and commercial use. They feature an advanced high modulus tread compound and steel and polyester construction to promote long wear. They also have circumferential grooves for extra traction in wet conditions,  continuous shoulder ribs, and a computer-designed body.


    The tires perform really well when you're pulling a heavy trailer.  The ride is smooth, and their wet weather performance is excellent. They are stable, quiet and do what your trucks need them to do. Even though they're a road tire, they do fine in mud, snow, and on soft surfaces.


    One complaint is the tires have a short tread life at 50,000 miles, which may be less than Goodrich, Goodyear, and Michelin tires. There have also been reports that the sidewalls crack prematurely, and the tires may wear unevenly.

    Honorable Mention

    These off-road terrain tires feature an aggressive tread design and are ideal for towing and hauling. TractiveGroove technology provides extra traction in deep mud and snow. They also feature self-cleaning shoulder blocks to clear debris. They are severe snow certified, and a rim protector protects the wheels from accidental curb damage.


    These tires work really well on snowy, icy, muddy, and dry roads. They feature highly angled center tread blocks that boost traction while reducing road noise. They look and feel great and ride pretty smoothly considering the aggressive tread.


    However, their lateral stability is not very good. When towing, you may feel like you're moving all over the road. The tires may also feel squirrely on the highway and speeds over 60 mph because they're all-terrain tires. Also, the sidewalls seem slightly softer than some rival tires.

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    Benefits of Tires for Towing

    • Safety. You need specific tires for towing because the wrong tires may deform under the weight. When you tow something with the wrong tires, they can lose their shape, which can cause a flat tire or blowout.
    • Performance. If you want the best performance out of your vehicle, you need the best tires for truck towing. They are specifically designed for the job. The best truck tires for towing make the ride go smoothly, while the wrong ones can be uncomfortable and ineffective.

    Types of Tires for Towing

    All-Season

    If you drive your pickup truck or SUV largely on paved roads and only occasionally on gravel to places such as campsites, then you can use all-season tires. The best all-season truck tires for towing are great on the highway but are also fine on wet roads and a nominal amount of snow and ice. They generally provide a smooth and quiet ride and feature load ratings to tow a trailer or camper.

    All-Terrain

    You need the best all-terrain tires for towing if you plan on going off-road. These aggressive tires feature wide and deep tread grooves that grip the dirt. They also work well in the mud and on the sand, and the extra traction keeps you from getting stuck. However, they tend to be noisy on the highway and aren't as good at cornering. They also wear faster and have longer stopping distances.

    Top Brands

    Goodyear

    Goodyear is based in Akron, Ohio, and was founded in 1898. The company is one of the most recognized tire brands and is one of the largest tire companies on the planet. One top towing tire is the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac Traction Radial Tire.

    Firestone

    The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company got its start in Akron, Ohio, in 1900. Founder Harvey Firestone was pals with Henry Ford, so his company initially supplied Ford Motor Company with tires for its automobiles. The Japanese Bridgestone Corporation then bought Firestone in 1988. One popular product is the Firestone Transforce HT Radial Tire.

    Kumho

    Kumho Tire has been around for more than 50 years. The company manufactures tires for passenger vehicles, light trucks, SUVs, and commercial trucks. The South Korean tire company has its headquarters in Gwangju. One of its top towing tires is the Kumho Road Venture AT51 All-Season Radial Tire.

    Michelin

    This French tire company is the second-largest tire manufacturer in the world after Bridgestone. The company invented the radial tire and was incorporated in 1889. One of its top towing tires is the  Michelin Defender LTX M/S All-Season Radial Tire.

    Tires for Towing Pricing

    • Under $150: You may have to save a little bit of money if you want to purchase the best truck tires for towing a travel trailer, boat, or other large vehicles. Tires in this price range will tow efficiently.
    • Over $150: You’re going to need to spend a little more money on tires if you plan to go off-road frequently since you’ll need all-terrain tires. These tires have a more aggressive tread, are typically rather large, and are more expensive.

    Key Features

    Load Rating

    Use the recommended load rating when purchasing the best light truck tires for towing. If you're not sure what load rating your vehicle requires, look at the original tires and use that as a baseline. You can go higher, but do not go lower. A higher load rating won't affect the load capacity. The load rating is denoted by a letter (B, C, D, E, etc.), which lets you know how durable the tire is, how much air it can hold, and how much weight it can carry. 

    Speed Rating

    Not all tires are rated for the same speeds. For example, most C-E rated tires are only designed for speeds up to 65 mph. Should you go over this speed, you can blow a tire. Make sure to look at tires that are rated for higher speeds if you plan on driving faster than 65 mph. 

    Treadwear

    The longer the treadwear, the better. The faster the tread wears on your tires, the sooner you will need to replace them, which can drive up the cost. Tires feature a three-digit code that alerts buyers to the expected treadwear. The code is based on tests by the manufacturer. Many companies include treadwear limited warranties. Keep in mind that if you drive in extreme conditions or don’t properly maintain your tires, the tread will wear faster. 

    Other Considerations

    • Noise: Most people would prefer quiet tires to loud ones. This is especially true when you're driving on the highway. Keep in mind that light truck tires tend to be louder than passenger tires. However, some are quieter than others based on the tread. If noise is a concern, check the reviews to see if a tire is particularly loud.
    • Soft Sidewalls: A smooth ride is important when you're towing a vehicle. You will be more comfortable if you have tires with soft sidewalls that flex when you're driving under normal conditions. Light truck (LT) tires are not as comfortable as passenger (P) tires, but they are better for towing and heavy loads.
    • Season: Different tires perform differently in different conditions. Determine which season you will be towing a trailer, and choose tires accordingly. As we noted earlier, the treads on all-season tires are different from those on all-terrain tires. Choose tires that match the conditions of the drive.

    Best Tires for Towing Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall
    Michelin Defender LTX M/S All-Season Radial Tire

    These all-season light truck, SUV, and crossover tires provide shorter wet stopping distances compared to their rivals. They also provide great traction in the snow. The MaxTouch construction saves users up to 65 gallons of fuel through the tire's lifespan. The tires also come with a 70,000-mile manufacturer's treadwear limited warranty.


    These tires provide excellent wet and dry traction and are solid in rain, snow and dry pavement.  They perform well and have a great tread life. You can get thousands of miles out of the tires even if you run them on hot roads in southern states. They have stable feeling sidewalls and overall handle really well. They also ride great at highway speeds.


    Because they are rated to handle higher weights and loads, they are noisier than passenger-rated tires. There have also been some complaints that the tires wear out significantly before 70,000 miles. Also, they may also start vibrating after a few thousand miles.

    Best Value
    Firestone Transforce HT Radial Tire

    Firestone's Transforce HTs are all-season tires for light trucks and commercial use. They feature an advanced high modulus tread compound and steel and polyester construction to promote long wear. They also have circumferential grooves for extra traction in wet conditions,  continuous shoulder ribs, and a computer-designed body.


    The tires perform really well when you're pulling a heavy trailer.  The ride is smooth, and their wet weather performance is excellent. They are stable, quiet and do what your trucks need them to do. Even though they're a road tire, they do fine in mud, snow, and on soft surfaces.


    One complaint is the tires have a short tread life at 50,000 miles, which may be less than Goodrich, Goodyear, and Michelin tires. There have also been reports that the sidewalls crack prematurely, and the tires may wear unevenly.

    Honorable Mention
    Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac Traction Radial Tire

    These off-road terrain tires feature an aggressive tread design and are ideal for towing and hauling. TractiveGroove technology provides extra traction in deep mud and snow. They also feature self-cleaning shoulder blocks to clear debris. They are severe snow certified, and a rim protector protects the wheels from accidental curb damage.


    These tires work really well on snowy, icy, muddy, and dry roads. They feature highly angled center tread blocks that boost traction while reducing road noise. They look and feel great and ride pretty smoothly considering the aggressive tread.


    However, their lateral stability is not very good. When towing, you may feel like you're moving all over the road. The tires may also feel squirrely on the highway and speeds over 60 mph because they're all-terrain tires. Also, the sidewalls seem slightly softer than some rival tires.

    Tips

    • Each tire comes with a specific load rating that should match the load you are towing. The tire load ranges are mentioned in the specifications with the letters B to F. A tire marked by a higher letter will handle heavier loads.
    • The air pressure in the tire can affect the vehicle’s overall performance. While towing, it is necessary to inflate the tires to the right pressure level. This not only ensures a good ride quality but also prolongs tire life.
    • Towing tires can be one of two types—bias-ply or radial. The main difference is in the arrangement of the steel cord inside the tire body. While radial tires are tougher and offer better fuel economy, bias-ply tires are less expensive.

    FAQs

    Q: How are towing tires different from car tires?

    A: The tires on a passenger vehicle are designed to provide better traction and a comfortable ride. Towing tires have more tread depth, larger beads, and rigid sidewalls designed to prevent sway. They are also not designed for higher speeds like car tires.

    Q: How frequently do I need to change towing tires?

    A: Replace the tires every six to seven years. It will also depend on the frequency of use and the road surface quality you drive on. The tread should be checked at regular intervals, and if it falls below acceptable limits, the tire needs to be changed.

    Q: How do I maintain towing tires?

    A: When stored outdoors under the sun, the rubber can degrade from the effects of UV radiation and heat. Covering the vehicle with a tarp will not only prevent such damage but will also keep the tires dry, reducing the risk of corrosion. Also, rotate the tires at regular intervals, so that they wear uniformly.

    Final Thoughts

    The Trailer King ST Radial Tire is our top pick for long-distance and heavy towing. It is robust and durable and provides safety on the road.

    If you are looking for stable performance at an economical price, the Carlisle Sport Trail Trailer Tire is a good choice.