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When you have a boat you want to enjoy it. You want to get your pontoon boat or fishing boat out on the water. What you don’t want to be doing is worrying over the tires for the trailer that tows the boat. We’ve assembled some of the best boat trailer tires on the market to help save you some time and effort. Let’s take a look at the best boat trailer tires you can buy.
Best Budget Choice
1. Million Parts Trailer Tires
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Million Parts offers these in sets of two. They’re the number one seller on Amazon and for good reason. These 6-ply bias tires offer incredible sidewall strength for towing boats. The built in rim helps prevent any deforming. This is something that other bias tires might sometimes experience.
The tires feature a durable tread for solid gripping. They feature a load index rating of 101. That works out to 1819 lbs. Keep that in mind when you figure out the weight of your boat and trailer combined. You never want to push a boat trailer tire beyond its limits.
In terms of durability you’re not going to find any complaints here. Even though bias tires tend to not be as durable as radials, these are solid. Expect to get a lot of mileage out of them.
In terms of specs you’re looking at a rim diameter of15″. The rim width is 6″. The tire size itself is ST205/75D15. With a six-ply construction, it’s more than up to most tasks in terms of hauling. They’re rated for speeds up to 75 mph.
We need to stress that you have to check weights before use. Some other reviewers complained of a short life span for these tires. But at the same time they also mention they’re running heavier trailers. These absolutely will haul a heavy trailer. But the lifespan will suffer. If it’s not in the recommended weight, the tires will blow out much sooner than you’d expect. If you do use them frequently with the load maxed then they will likely fail sooner than you want.
Best Overall Choice
2. Carlisle Radial Boat Trail Tire
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Carlisle is known for boat paddles. As we’ll see, they make a very solid trailer tire as well. These are made from a premium rubber with a radial design. That ensures good heat dissipation and durability. Plus these are just tough tires overall. They’re not suited for enormous boats but they have a weight capacity of 2040 lbs at 65 PSI.
Carlilse is a company that is concerned with boating. They understand the needs of boaters so these aren’t just generic trailer tires. These were designed to really do the job required of a boat trailer. That means you can count on them to offer a solid performance over the long term.
You need to make sure the tire size works with your existing sidewalls and trailer. Fortunately, there’s a whole host of popular trailer brands that are compatible.
The tread pattern on Carlisle tires is designed for even wear. That means it extended the overall life of the tire. As a radial it’s highly heat resistant. This prevents any warping of shape or uneven wear as well. They have also been designed for optimal puncture resistance. They are 8-ply on the inside which adds to the durability and strength that they can provide.
If you’re planning a long haul these are probably the tires you want. And by long haul we mean over ten thousand miles. In fact, Carlisle tires have proven themselves at twice that distance. They handle rough roads better than a lot of other tires you’re apt to try as well. If you know you’re heading to a rough spot with potholes give these a try. They can handle pavement, dirt and gravel roads with few issues.
Overall, we feel that Carlisle has made the best boat trailer tire you can buy. And, of course, there are other sizes you can look for if this specific tire won’t meet your needs.
Best Premium Choice
3. Grand Ride Free Country Trailer Tires
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Grand Ride’s Free Country boat trailer tires are a solid, premium choice. Now, per tire, these are actually a more economical choice than some. But you’re buying them as a four pack so the price can get a little steep compared to some. That said, these are some of the best boat trailer tires you’re going to find. They’re worth the initial investment.
With a load capacity of 1609 lbs, these are able to handle some serious hauling. The section width is 175 Millimeters. They feature an 80.0 aspect ratio. The tire rim size is 13 inches. The rim width is 5 inches. Overall diameter is 24 inches. They’re designed to handle speeds up to 75 miles per hour.
These tires feature a sidewall scuff guide for added endurance. They’re 8 ply which is part of the reason they can handle so much weight. There’s a nylon cap ply with an overlay over the tread area as well. These are made to be tough and to endure. These have been tested on some of the roughest terrain you can imagine. Rocky, farm roads and stretches of gravel and potholes. These can take whatever you throw at them. And they’ll keep taking it for thousands and thousands of miles. Expect these to endure over the long haul. We’re talking upwards of 10,000 to 20,000 miles or more. These have gone from Florida to Alaska and the treads barely show any signs of wear. You can’t really ask for better than that.
As with any tires, you need to make sure you’re using them correctly. Overload will absolutely ruin these tires. Keep within your weight limits to avoid early blowouts. These come in several different sizes as well in case you have a larger or smaller trailer. Make sure you’re buying the right ones to meet your needs to avoid any problems.
One thing to keep in mind about these is that they’re just the tires. There are no rims included with these. Because of that, you may need to have these professionally mounted. If you’ve never done that job before, you’ll definitely want to get it done by a pro. It may cost a bit more but it’s necessary. That’s definitely part of what makes this more of a premium investment. But the durability and strength of the final result is really worth it.
4. Roadstar Trailer Tires
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Need a smaller tire? Roadstar has your back. Sold under the Motoos brand name, these are designed for a lighter load than some of the big boys. The maximum load rating for these tires is 590 lbs. If that’s all you need, no sense buying tires that can wrangle 2000 lbs, right? Not that bigger tires can’t work. But why spend the money on something that you can’t really benefit from? This way you can spend the extra money on something more important.
These tires feature a 4-lug x 4-inch hole bolt wheel. You’re looking at a rim diameter of 8 inches. The rim width is 3.75 Inches. Section width is 118 Millimeters. The aspect ratio is 8 inches. The construction on these is 4-ply. That means they’re definitely not up to the same wear and tear as the bigger tires. But they’re not supposed to be. Just keep that in mind if you’re looking to pick these up. There are tougher options if you need them.
Roadstar is designed to work well with a number of trailer brands. If you have a Yamaha, a Crestliner, a Triton or some others, you have no worries. But as always, make sure you’re double checking those sizes just to be sure.
These are bias tires so the sidewalls are tough. You are going to get some bounce when you use them though, so be prepared. It shouldn’t be too bad however. If you’re used to towing your trailer already, there shouldn’t be an issue. Give them a check after 1,000 miles of hauling and see how they look. They should still look and perform great.
The rims are pretty tough on these which adds to the overall tire strength. But you definitely don’t want to overload these at all. Keep that weight rating in mind and don’t push it too far.
5. Carlisle Bias Trailer Tires
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We covered Carlisle’s great radial tires already. It only makes sense that we’d take a look at their bias tires as well. It’s the best of both worlds. And since Carlisle makes such good products, it’s worth including them on the list twice. This way you can pick whichever kind best suits your specific needs.
Carlisle sells several versions of these tires. If you’re not familiar with how they’re described it can be confusing. For instance, you can choose LRB, LRC, LRD, LRE and LRF. What do those letters mean? They refer to the ply of the tire. Each letter goes up by two. So LRB is a 4-ply tire. LRC is 6-ply. LRF is a super tough 12-ply.
The overall load capacity will vary depending on your choice, obviously. We would recommend an LRB or LRC 5.30-12. Again, check with your specific trailer to know for sure what will work best. You can expect a maximum load capacity of around 1,000 lbs at these sizes.
Be sure to note that you’re only buying the tire here. The wheel itself is not included. You’ll need to have a set on your own, or pick them up seperately. That said, if you need a rugged tire, this is a great choice.
Bias tires are best when you plan to hit really rugged terrain. If you need those sidewalls to withstand a lot of abuse, this is a great choice. They will hold up better than radials because of how the plies are arranged. And of course, more plies will make them tougher. So choose according to what will meet your hauling needs.
Double check your load ratings before purchase. We’ve noticed on Amazon some tires have conflicting info when it comes to load capacity. For instance, the ST 185/80D13 version of this tire says a max load of 1820 lbs. However, it also says load index rating of 80. If you look that up on a load index rating chart, it is not 1820 lbs. In fact, it’s 992 lbs. That difference could make for a very dangerous mistake. Always always confirm the weight capacity before purchasing. If need be, head to the manufacturer site to confirm.
6. Rainier Radial Trailer Tire
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Rainier’s ST175/80R13 radial tires are good for smaller loads. They feature a 1360 pound maximum load rating. That’s at a tire pressure of 50 PSI. These are definitely not intended for a giant yacht by any means. But they’re more economical than buying larger tires if you don’t need them.
The galvanized rims feature a 5 Lug 4.5″ Center configuration. They’re compatible with well over a dozen popular boat trailer brands. The rim diameter is 13 Inches. The width is 4.5 Inches. They feature an aspect ratio of 80.0 and a section width of 175 Millimeters.
These are easy to install and are durable. You’ll want to make sure you balance them, of course. They have a good tread and offer some serious strength when in use. There is an unusual thing you should be on the lookout for and that relates to information. Any tire should have the manufacture date listed on it. There have been cases when the manufacture date on these tires seems to be a bit elusive. Maybe it was an oversight? Who knows. But it’s something to keep in mind and may not always be applicable. It stems from some buyers on Amazon receiving similar but not identical tires. That was likely a vendor issue, however. It can’t really be considered something that reflects on these tires in specific.
Our only real concern with these tires is the galvanization. The process does not seem to have been done in a clean way. That’s not to say they’re not galvanized. It’s just that it looks a little bit ugly. Of course, these are just boat trailer tires at the end of the day. If you just need a reliable tire at a reasonable price, this could do the job.
7. Elyan Boat Trailer Tires
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Elyan’s boat trailer tires are 205/75D14 size.The rims included feature a 5-lug x4.5 inch pattern for the bolts. At a PSI of 50 lbs these have a max load capacity of 1760 lbs. They’re designed to be compatible with most popular models of boat trailers. The section width is 205 Millimeters. The rim diameter is 14 Inches. The rim width is 6 Inches.
The treads offer a great grip. With the included rims you’re getting a great deal.
The price is a great motivator for buying these tires. Not only are they solid quality, they’re affordable. You can actually get a pair of these for cheaper than some single tires. That’s not a bad deal at all. And of course it might raise your suspicion at first. You might think tires that are this cheap are not the best quality. But luckily, these are pretty reliable. They’re not the most premium boat trailer tire on the market to be sure. But we think they get the job done well.
Because these are pre mounted on wheels, installation is easy. One of the other great things about eCustomRim and Elyan is their customer service. A lot of vendors are very hands off. It can even be hard to track down a person to talk to if you have an issue. But if you have a problem with Elyan, they’ll be right there for you. In fact, they can replace a faulty tire the next day in some cases.
You can expect to get a solid 800 to 1200 miles out of one of these tires at max capacity. They’re bias ply and able to handle solid weight on rough roads. Check them out if you need good tires at a good price.
8. Wheels Express Boat Trailer Tires
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Wheels Express makes reasonably priced tires that last. You can’t really ask for more than that. These feature a 5X4.5 inch bolt pattern. You should be able to safely and easily attach these to most trailers.
These are ST175/80D13 bias style tires. That gives them a respectable 1356 lbs tire weight rating. The section width is 175 Millimeters. That includes a rim diameter of 13 Inches. The rim width is 4.5 inches. The aspect ratio is 80.0.
One thing you may need to be aware of is the rating here. We stated the weight capacity at 1356. That makes this a C rated tire. For whatever reason, it’s listed as a D rated tire. Maybe someone messed up, but this looks like a C rated tire to us. Keep that in mind if you’re buying some and what the true capacity is.
For the price, you’re going to get some very durable tires. Even after 1000 miles of use the wear is barely noticeable. As long as you keep them within the weight capacity you should have no issues here.
9. ECustomRim Boat Trailer Tires
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These 480-12 tires from ECustomRim are a great choice for many boat trailers. With a max pressure of 90 PSI these have a weight capacity of 990 lbs. The load range is C They feature a 5 Lug 4.5″ bolt pattern. The section width is 118 Millimeters. There’s a 12 mm aspect ratio. The rim diameter is 12 inches. They are a bias ply type of tire. That means you can expect them to have strong sidewalls. They’ll also be good at hauling over rough terrain.
Keep an eye on the pressure for these tires. Once inflated to 90 PSI you may notice pressure loss happening faster than you’d expect. After a few hundred miles you could be down a few PSI in total. So just be aware that this may be an issue. If it is, top them up and head out again. It’s always a good idea to check your tire pressure before you head out on a trip anyway.
The install for these tires is incredibly easy. You’re looking at a 10 to 15 minute job at most. That’s the real advantage of getting them with the rims and wheels. If you just get the tires themselves, the procedure is going to take a lot longer. That’s something first time buyers sometimes are not aware of. You’ll need to buy separate rims. Or, at the very least, the proper tools for taking tires on and off rims. That can cost a good chunk of money if you’re not prepared. And that’s what makes these kinds of tires such a great deal.
Keep in mind, these are best for smaller trailers. You won’t be using these to haul any massive yacht or fishing boat. That said, they will hold up well for a few years or a few thousand miles.
Pay attention to how they fit. Though these are designed to work with many popular trailers, they may seem a little off. They tend to sit kind of high. That won’t be an issue for performance, but it can take a small adjustment in terms of hitch placement and so on.
10. Roadster 5.30-12 Trailer Tires
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Another Roadster tire under the Motoos brand, this is a solid mid-range trailer tire. These have a weight capacity of 1,050 lbs. They should be inflated to 90 PSI. They feature a wheel diameter of 12″. The wheel width clocks in at 4.25″. The section width is 12 Inches. The aspect ratio is 5.3 inches. The bolt pattern is a very common 5 on 4.5 inches. As with other Roadster tires, these are compatible with many trailer brands.
These make a solid choice for replacements or even spares. They come in a pack of two so if you only need one, the spare is ready. They’re a bias ply design. These one specifically are 6-ply. That means the sidewalls are going to be tough and able to handle some punishment.
These aren’t the most durable tires you’re ever going to find. But they’re not bad tires either. If you need a solid set, maybe for spares, look here. We think these are a great choice. Installation is easy with these thanks to the design and layout. You’ll only spend a few minutes getting these installed before hitting the road.
Picking the Best Boat Trailer Tire
Boat trailer tires and car or truck tires are not the same. You need to keep different things in mind when searching for boat trailer tires. You can choose the right boat trailer tire if you know what to look for. Trailer tires will need more rigid side walls. You’ll also be using them with a higher PSI than passenger car tires. And, of course, they may need to handle significant weight for extended periods. Let’s take a look at some factors to consider.
Size and Capacity
Arguably the most important factor when buying a boat trailer tire. Is it the right size? It needs to fit your trailer. And it needs to be able to handle the side of your boat. On average, a boat trailer tire is designed to handle about 1,000 lbs. You can upgrade if you have a larger boat. Or even go smaller if you have a light boat. But you need to know the total weight of your boat plus trailer to start.
Boat trailer tires have a load range denoted by a letter. You’ll see B, C, D and E tires, for instance. The higher the letter, the greater the load capacity. These also correspond to the plies of the tire. B is 4-ply, C is 6-ply, D is 8-ply and E is 10-ply. On rare occasions you may see an F as well. That would be 12-ply. Carlisle makes a 12-ply tire, for instance.
Each tire has a max load capacity. So if the load rating of you tire is 900 lbs, on a single axle your tires can handle 1800 lbs. That’s because you have 2 tires. A single axle trailer is able to hold 100% of its max capacity load. This does not hold over for a double axle trailer. When you have a double axle you’ll have 4 tires. But you need to reduce capacity by 12% when calculating the load for a double axle. Keep that in mind. Also remember to account for everything.
Never overload your trailer. Tires can and will blow out if they are forced to endure too much weight. The last thing you want is to have a tire blow on the road. If you’re traveling at speed that could cause a serious accident with your trailer. Your total weight includes the trailer, the boat, its engine and all the gear on your boat.
In addition, the width and diameter will be important to know. If you can’t attach the tire to your trailer, it won’t matter how much weight it can carry
No doubt you want durable tires. A good boat trailer tire should last over five years. Knowing the best kind to buy can play heavily into this. But also, check your dates if you can. This is why buying used tires is sometimes a risk. If your tires are already a few years old, then that’s a few years gone for you. Tires have a manufacturing date on the side. Check this even on new tires. If they’ve been sitting on a shelf for over a year they may be dry or brittle. Or they could have gone soft in moist conditions. Keep that in mind.
Any tire will have a DOT code on the side of it. That stands for Department of Transportation. This is a series of numbers. The last four numbers tell you the week and year that the tire was made. For instance, you may see something that says 4420. That means it was made in the 44th week of 2020.
You want tires that can handle the job. That means they need to have solid treads. You want good, strong sidewalls as well. They should be able to handle all weather conditions, especially the water. Keep an eye on boat trailer tire reviews to see if other owners have complaints about warping, wearing out, and so on. If a tire only lasts a season or two, it’s not worth it. Most boat trailer brands recommend their own specific kind of tire. But any will do if you choose high quality tires.
Every trailer tire has a speed rating. Make sure you know yours before hitting the highway. Most are rated for 65 miles per hour while some can handle 70 miles per hour or more. What you don’t want to do is push them too hard above this rating. This is especially true for bias tires. As you drive at speed you increase friction applied to the tires. That in turn increases the heat that the tires are subjected to. This extra stress and heat can cause the tread to wear or the tires to blow.
Check those treads before you buy. Especially if you decide to go with used tires. A smooth tire is not going to get your trailer very far. The risk of skidding is a real danger. You need something that can grip pavement and dirt easily. There are cheap tires that really skimp on the treads.
Boat Trailer Tire Pressure
This is always important to remember. The boat trailer tire pressure needs to be monitored and maintained. If tire pressure goes too low, the trailer will be harder to tow. That strains your tow vehicle’s engine. And it wastes fuel. Too high and you risk a blow out. Always make sure they’re inflated exactly as the manufacturer recommended.
Some tire shops will recommend a lower PSI. Why they do this is hard to say. But always follow the recommendations from the manufacturer. If your tire is recommended to inflate to 90 PSI, stick to that number. Some shops can and will recommend you go to something like 60 PSI. That’s going to put too much pressure on the tires. They’re going to deform and spread unevenly when weight is applied. Even though it might seem like it will be easier on the tire, it won’t be. You’ll cause it to burst far too early. It’s a waste of time and a waste of money. Plus you could end up causing a serious accident. Always follow those instructions.
What is a Radial Trailer Tire?
If you don’t spend a lot of time shopping for tires, you may not be familiar with types. Maybe you’ve heard of radial tires before, however. But the existence of a radial boat trailer tire implies there are tires that are not radial tires. So what are they and what are the other kinds?
In general you’re going to be looking at radial trailer tires or bias trailer tires. Most tires for anything from trailers to scooters to cars can fall in these categories.
Radial tires have been around for a very long time. Michelin put them on the market back in 1946. They basically became the standard at that time. There is a distinct difference in each kind of tire. And both have advantages. The difference comes in how the tire is made. Every tire is constructed in layers. If you’ve ever seriously blown a tire you can see this inside.
The layers in a tire are called plies. Think of toilet paper to get the visual if you’re not familiar. One ply toilet paper is a single layer. Two-ply is two sheets stacked. Three-ply is three together. Below the treat of your tire, layers of rubber and other materials are stacked the same.
In a bias tire, the plies overlap each other. They are paid out in a kind of criss cross pattern. This allows the crown and the sidewall to be separate and independent. The problem with bias tires is that they tend to overheat faster than radial tires. They are also less flexible overall. That means, on a road, the ride is bumpier on a bias tire. That said, they are also cheaper. The sidewalls on a bias tire are often stronger.
These advantages can make them potentially a good choice for trailers.. But at the same time, the tread is prone to deforming. That can increase slippage on the road. In turn that means your tow vehicle is exerting more effort to tow bias tires.
A radial tire also uses plies like a bias. The way the plies are arranged is different. In a radial tire, the plies are stacked in the center. They don’t extend down the sidewall of the tire. This is a good thing because the tire is now more flexible. Because the ply doesn’t cover the whole length of the tire, it absorbs bumps better. The bumps aren’t transmitted through the whole tire and into the trailer as a result.
The other big advantage of a radial tire is heat dissipation. These handle friction better. That means the tread lasts longer and the tire lasts longer. A radial tire will not wear out as fast as a bias tire.
Because of how radial tires work, they are more economical. A bias tire may be cheaper initially. However, a radial tire mitigates this over time. You will consume less fuel using radial tires. That will obviously save you money.
Radial tires offer superior road contact as well. This is especially true when turning. It’s also true under heavier loads.
At the end of the day, a bias tire can get the job done. If you don’t tow your trailer a lot, maybe it won’t matter that much. Radial tires tend to last longer and are more efficient. Bias ply tires do have stronger sidewalls, however. Keep that in mind. The final choice will heavily depend on both your trailer and your boat.
In general, we recommend radial tires for long hauls. We recommend bias tires for shorter hauls or heavier loads.
Check Your Tires
While this article is concerned with buying new tires, never let them sit unchecked for too long. Boat trailer tires spend most of their lives sitting and doing nothing. They have weight on them and they just wait. They can be on cement or on dirt. They may be in direct sub all the time, or in damp conditions. All of this can cause them to wear out a little faster than you might expect. While any good tire should be able to haul for thousands of miles, that’s only if it’s in good condition.
Inspect your tires regularly. If the season is just starting, definitely give them a thorough inspection. One thing that you’ll want to try is the Lincoln Penny trick to see how your treads are doing. Put the penny with Abe’s head facing down between the treads. If you can see the top of his head, then your treads are too thin. If the treads swallow the top of his head then it’s still good.
Make sure you’re checking the quality of the rubber as well. Look for cracks especially. If the sides which used to be smooth are cracking, that’s a problem. This can be caused by extensive exposure to the elements. It will likely be worse if you live further north as well. Freezing temperatures and then warming up in summer stresses the rubber. Likewise, constant exposure to UV rays will cause your tires to begin to fail.
Pay special note to the bead. This is the part of the tire closest to the rim. The cracks are most likely to form here, but there’s no guarantee.
Keep Your Tires Safe
During the off season you should keep your tires as safe as possible. You want to avoid freezing temperatures if possible. If that’s not practical, try to keep them safely covered. Tire covers will also protect your tires from those harsh UV rays. They’re easy to slip on and off.
You can also use a standard tarp to cover your boat without having to buy anything new. Just make sure it’s fitted well and covers them thoroughly.
Look for the ST
Part of the DOT code and other info on the side of your trailer tire will be the letters ST. You want to see that on any trailer tire. That stands for special trailer tire. An ST tire is designed specifically to be used on a trailer. You should never use an ST tire on any other kind of vehicle. Likewise, you should never use any other kind of tire on a trailer. That’s what these are designed for, so make sure you pick the right one.
ST tires are designed to have strong sidewalls. That’s thanks to the nature of what a boat trailer does. Car and even light truck tires aren’t made to this standard. That’s why you never want to swap them for one another.
The Bottom Line
Finding a good boat trailer tire shouldn’t take forever, But you don’t want to pick up the first tire you see. If you’re hauling your boat a good distance you need reliable tires. That often means you need to balance boat trailer tires between cost and features. No need to break the bank, but no need to cheap out. Look for the right load capacity and a solid history of performance. Then you can actually get out on the water and enjoy your boat, like you intended.
As always, stay safe and have fun.