Re-tireing Too Young
August 16, 2009 9:42 AM   Subscribe

I've got some extreme irregular tire wear going on with my trailer and, when in doubt, query the hive mind.

So I bought one of those cargo trailers they sell at the big box hardware stores. Use it mostly for recreational purposes. Coming back from our last trip I noticed that the edges of both trailer tires looked brutally chewed, sort of like you'd expect if they were routinely under inflated except much worse.

I can't find evidence of anything rubbing against anything, and while they were a few PSI low, the damage I'm seeing is more significant than I'd expect from that. So before I replace them and chew up another pair of tires, does anyone have any thoughts on how to prevent this?
posted by Kid Charlemagne to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
Is it possible that the trailer itself is doing it? You know, it bounces during travel, thereby taking chunks out of the tires? That would give more of a chewing look, than the kind of damage you'd see from rubbing.
posted by adipocere at 9:59 AM on August 16, 2009

How much is "a few" PSI? In some applications, I've seen less than 10psi of underinflation completely annihilate a set of tires. This is most common in heavy load applications. For instance, I see a lot of SUVs where the door placard calls for 44psi tire inflation, but the owner runs 36 or 38 and shreds the tire in less than five thousand miles.
Don't underestimate proper inflation. In many instances, there'll be a range of correct inflation pressures corresponding to the mass of the carried load. The more weight you're carrying, the more pressure you need in the tires to maintain their correct geometry.
If it's the inside edge of the tire, you're under-inflating and the tires sag under a load kind of like this: / /--------------\ \
posted by Jon-o at 10:11 AM on August 16, 2009

The tires were underinflated. Don't do that. Check the load rating and make sure you're not exceeding it. Replacing the tires will probably result in longer wear, the factory supplied tires will likely not be long wearing.
posted by torquemaniac at 10:13 AM on August 16, 2009

If you look at Jon-o's diagram of the wheels with the trailer fully loaded, it's quite possible the fenders are bottoming out on the outside edges of the tires when you hit a bump. Check your clearances.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:21 AM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Certainly sounds like a combination of low inflation and over-loading.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:32 AM on August 16, 2009

I am agreeing. That or positive camber in the trailer's suspension design.
posted by luckypozzo at 11:27 AM on August 16, 2009

What everyone else said, and add to it that the tires that came with the trailer may have been the cheapest quality that the manufacturer could get away with, i.e. softer rubber that would wear quickly on hot pavement.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:30 AM on August 16, 2009

Trailer maintenance.
posted by Brian B. at 4:02 PM on August 16, 2009

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