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Troubleshooting Causes for Repeat Tire Failure on 24-Foot Enclosed Trailer

Question:

We tow a 24 foot enclosed trailer. The trailer is equipped with 5,200 lb torsion axles, 15 inch wheels and load range E Carlisle radial tires. We load a antique tractor in the front and a golf cart behind. The tractor weight is between 4,500 and 5,00 lbs. We have experienced complete tire failures. The last time we towed no more than 10 miles when the front axle tire on the driver side exploded ripping the steel belts. We changed out the spare and towed 70 more miles when the rear axle tire driver side exploded. Ripping the steel belts just like the first. We had checked the tire pressure to make sure they were inflated to 80 psi. We have had passenger side failures in the past as well. The question is do we have a trailer or Carlisle tire problem? They are the only tires that have been on the trailer.

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Expert Reply:

The root cause of trailer tire failure, apart from outright damage from bad roads or debris, is usually heat, but that heat can come about from several different causes. Excess heat in either radial or bias ply tires can arise from incorrect inflation pressure (either too high or too low), overloading the tire beyond its rated weight capacity or by driving it faster than intended. In some cases a misaligned axle or trailer suspension could increase chances for one of these failures by causing the tire to have uneven road contact.

All the special trailer (ST type) tires we sell are rated for 65-mph speed unless they specifically state otherwise. We do have plenty of tires rated for greater speeds and these will be identified as such but unless a tire specifically carries a speed rating you need to presume it is rated for only 65-mph. For instance the tire you referenced, part # TTWPRG235R16, is a Load Range G tire that can be operated up to 75-mph as stated in its specs.

If you are certain that you are not overloading the axle/wheels/tires with the contents of the enclosed trailer, and you are certain that you run them at the specified maximum cold pressure noted on the sidewall then the most likely cause for your tire failures is that they are not rated for faster interstate highway speeds of 70-mph and above. If your tires are carrying close to their rated maximum load and they are operated faster than intended this could cause enough heat build-up to lead to failures.

The tire above is size ST235/85R16 and in this size we offer Westlake ST235/85R16 Radial Trailer Tire # LHWL410 rated for 75-mph, but we also have Kenda Karrier ST235/85R16 Radial Trailer Tire # AM10501 (load range F) rated for up to 81-mph speeds.

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Adam R

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