Don’t Let Bad Trailer Tires Ruin Your Next Boat Day

You invest in quality tires for your vehicle; why not do the same for your boat?

Best Overall

Goodyear Endurance Tire

Best Value

Hi-Run Boat Trailer Tire

Honorable Mention

Carlisle Radial Trail 12-Ply Boat Trailer Tire

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Growing up on the Florida Gulf Coast, my family owned everything from sailboats to cruisers and jet boats. Some of my most cherished memories are the yearly summer trip to Key West, where we would live on the boat for a month during lobster season. Sometimes we would head down from Tampa on the boat; other times, we would trailer. Without the best boat trailer tires, we would have never made it, and no one wanted to get stuck on Alligator Alley back then, let alone now.

I put my lifetime of experience to work and found some of the best boat trailer options. From an aluminum jon boat to a Sea Ray cruiser, you need tires that will support the weight and give your boat the stability necessary for steady handling. That way, you can spend more time actually using your boat.

Our Methodology

Nothing is more frustrating than heading out for a day on the water, only to realize you’re going nowhere because your trailer tires have rotted out from sitting in the sun. I don’t want you stuck on the coast while everyone else is enjoying a day out on the water. Just like buying SUV or truck tires, there’s more to trailer tires than their size. When choosing the best trailer tires for this list, I started with trusted names and known brands that have a track record for reliable performance. Boats are expensive enough; you don’t need the additional expense of a sudden blowout from a cheap tire. 

I then looked beyond size and tread pattern, because while they are important for your purchase, they won’t help you narrow down your choices from one to another. For this, I looked to the construction quality, rubber compound, sidewall stiffness, and longevity. These features will tell you how the tire will perform on your trailer while driving and how long you can expect the tires to last. By using this methodology, I found tires that would not only fit your trailer but will help you safely transport your boat. 

Best Boat Trailer Tires Reviews & Recommendations

Best Boat Trailer Tires Overall

Goodyear Endurance Tire

Best Boat Trailer Tires Value

Hi-Run Boat Trailer Tire

Honorable Mention

Carlisle Sport Trail 6-Ply Boat Trailer Tire

Best Tread Design

Trailer King ST Radial Trailer Tire

Best Durability

Kenda Carrier Star Bias Ply Trailer Tire and Wheel Assembly

Our Verdict on the Best Boat Trailer Tires

Our top pick for the best boat trailer tires is the Goodyear Endurance Tire because it’s worth the investment for the Kevlar reinforcement, reduced sway, and increased wet traction. These tires are built to perform better and last longer. 

For a more budget-friendly option, the Hi-Run Boat Trailer Tire is a durable 8-ply tire with a zig-zag pattern to help you maintain better traction on wet roads. 

What to Consider When Buying Boat Trailer Tires

There are two types of trailer tire types to choose from. The type you choose will depend on how your trailer handles, the size of your boat, the distance you drive with your trailer in a single run, and how often you use your trailer. No matter what type you choose, all of your tires should be the same size and construction. Do not mix bias and radial tires. 

Types of Boat Trailer Tires

Radial

Radial tires are constructed like a standard car tire. They have circumferential steel support belts that run under the rubber. Then there are plies that are perpendicular to the tire. Radial tires are better for achieving extended treadwear. However, this isn’t really important when it comes to trailer tires. Most tires wear out from oxidation, not treadwear. However, they tend to run cooler, making them better for longer trips. They are also less prone to developing flat spots, making them better for trailers that get parked for months at a time. If you travel long distances, then radial tires can be worth the extra cost for your boat trailer. 

Bias

Bias tires have a slightly different construction, the plies are at a 30-degree angle. This angle helps to give the tire a stiffer sidewall construction and increased weight capacity. The stiffer sidewalls are stronger than radial tires, making them less prone to punctures and more effective at reducing swaying. Bias tires are also less expensive than radial tires, making them good for someone on a budget. If you have a heavy boat, tall boat, travel short distances often or drive off-road, then consider purchasing bias tires for your boat trailer. 

Boat Trailer Tires Key Features

Load Rating and Max Weight  

Tires have a letter-based load rating system. Letters at the beginning of the alphabet have a lighter weight capacity and letters later in the alphabet have a heavier load capacity. Boat trailer tires typically rate C or D. This rating is the maximum weight that the tire can safely support while in use. This is more than just the weight of the boat; it’s everything. Add up the weight of your trailer, boat, its engines, and any personal items you have in the boat to determine what load rating you need. Generally, bigger tires have higher load ratings. When calculating weight capacity, you add the maximum weight capacity of each tire to get the total maximum weight capacity. Do not max out this number because you are maxing out the performance of the tires. Factoring a 20 percent margin is a safe approach. 

Size 

Similar to buying tires for your vehicle, the tires you buy for your trailer need to be a compatible size. They will have the size printed on the side and be in the same format as vehicle tires. You will see a “D” or “B” as a part of the numbers, which signifies whether the tire is radial or bias. Pay attention to the width of the tire. You don’t want the tire rubbing on the fender flares. The diameter of the tire also needs to fit on the wheel. Confirm that the tire is meant for trailer use by looking for an “ST” as a part of the size. This stands for “special tire” which means these tires are specifically designed for use on trailers. 

Construction and Material Quality 

Not all tires are built the same, so investing in a better quality set of trailer tires will help your trailer perform better, and your tires last longer. Looking at the quality of the construction, It should have a multi-layer construction with internal reinforcements. A rugged polyester or nylon overlay is common, so are steel belts. On the face of the tire, a center groove is essential for better stability. Higher quality rubber compounds will have additives that preserve the rubber for a longer useful life. These additives prevent the rubber from drying out and cracking by keeping it moisturized and pliable. 

Boat Trailer Tires Pricing 

The majority of boat trailer tires are in the $100 to $200 range. They offer solid construction from quality materials. If you have a tight budget, you can find low-cost trailer tires for less than $100. However, they tend to be plagued with potentially dangerous malfunctions and don’t last. Some tires are over $200 and stand out for their high-quality materials and exemplary performance. Unlike vehicle tires, you typically won’t see trailer tires sold as a set. The pricing you see is for one tire, as most boat trailer tires are sold as a single unit. If you need more than one, you will need to account for this when budgeting for the total cost of tire replacement. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: What is the difference between car and trailer tires? 

A: The most obvious difference is the size and tread pattern. Car tires undergo more steering pressure while trailer tires don’t. Their main function is to support the weight of the trailer and boat. Because of this, they have stiffer and stronger sidewalls. 

Q: How often should boat trailer tires be replaced? 

A: The general guideline is that trailer tires should be replaced every 3-6 years. However, you should replace them if they show signs of oxidation. This is UV damage from the sun that makes the exterior rubber brittle. Additionally, oxygen inside the tire creates damage internally. Do not depend on treadwear to indicate replacement. This is inaccurate as most trailer tires have tread despite reaching the end of their useful life.

Q: Do I have to balance boat trailer tires? 

A: It isn’t required that you balance your boat trailer tires. They support the weight that is vertically above them and don’t turn on their axis attachment point. Because of this, you don’t need to balance them but you can if you want to.

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Andra DelMonico has dedicated her writing career to sharing her passion for cars and motorcycles. She has 15 years of experience owning, riding, and working on both sportbikes and cruisers, at one point rebuilding her Kawasaki ZX14. She also has a fully modified Toyota XRunner. As a young girl, she would routinely attend classic and high-end car shows with her father, who she credits with instilling her passion for automobiles. As a writer, Andra has utilized her knowledge and passion to write compelling and detailed content for a wide variety of automotive and motorcycle industry clients.