At first glance, you may not notice a difference between trailer and car tires. So, it can be confusing when you consider that trailer tires have a higher PSI than car tires. Let’s talk about why they require more air. 

Trailer tires have higher PSI to withstand the heavier loads they take on compared to cars. Higher PSI trailer tires have thicker walls, allowing them to carry heavier loads better; hence, they require more air pressure than car tires. 

Keep reading to learn more about tire PSI and why keeping your trailer tires within their recommended PSI range is essential. 

Should Trailer Tires Be Inflated to Max PSI?

You should fill trailer tires to maximum PSI for carrying maximum load weights. When carrying lighter weight or running without extra weight, you should still keep your trailer tires at maximum PSI, as this prevents heat buildup when traveling. 

Trailer tires require different PSI levels depending on their carrying capacity. For this reason, there is no one answer regarding the maximum or minimum PSI for trailer tires. You should always check your tires to see the maximum and minimum PSI requirements and stick with those numbers. 

Your trailer tires will differ significantly from car tires. It is crucial to keep up with the proper PSI levels, no matter the vehicle. But it is imperative when you are carrying a load on a trailer. Manufacturers make trailer tires to withstand a certain amount of weight depending on the size of the trailer. This is why they vary so much.

When you fill your trailer tires to the maximum PSI, you are not hurting them. This prepares them to handle the maximum weight that the trailer can haul. If you do not need to haul the maximum weight, it will not hurt the tires to still be at maximum PSI. 

Tire Heat

When you keep your car tires at maximum PSI, you may experience difficulty controlling the vehicle as easily. However, trailer tires are significantly different. If you run a trailer tire below the maximum PSI level, the tires can be overheated. 

The shape of trailer tires combined with the weight they carry can cause a lot of heat to build up as the tires run. This is especially common with trailer tires not filled to maximum PSI levels because the tires will not be as stiff and uniform. 

When trailer tires get too hot, there is a better chance they may fail or incur damage to the outside of the tire. When you fully fill the tire, it helps better fill out the area of the tire preventing heat from building up as much. 

Because of the potential of heat buildup, keeping your trailer tires at maximum PSI –even when you aren’t carrying total weight capacity– is best. This can happen at any temperature. However, you should especially be careful during the summer when the road is already going to be warm, as this can maximize heat buildup. 

Minimum PSI

The only time that PSI can hurt your trailer tires is when it is too low. While maximum PSI is necessary for maximum weight, minimum PSI levels are required for the trailer to operate appropriately. Trailer tires can fall below the minimum PSI level from general use, cold weather, or damage to the tires. 

When this happens, always fill your tires to the minimum PSI level, at least before driving any significant amount. If the tires are not filled when below recommended PSI levels, then the tires can continue to drop in air pressure and eventually go flat. If this happens while driving, it can be hazardous –not to mention costly, as you will need to replace the tire

Making sure your trailer tires stay above the minimum PSI level is vital for your safety and the tires’ health. It is essential to check your tires regularly for changes in PSI levels that can happen for many different reasons. Even just a temperature change can cause your PSI levels to fall. 

It is crucial to monitor your tires’ PSI level and refill them regularly to help keep them in range. If you want to know how often to refill your tires and why it is vital for keeping them in good shape, read my article, “Once a Month: How Often Should You Air Up Your Car’s Tires?”

Know How Much You Are Hauling

If you are planning to haul with your trailer tires, you may need to know exactly how much you are hauling. Indeed, we can estimate the weight, but you should always figure out how much your haul weighs to determine whether you need your trailer tires at maximum PSI.

The best way to check your haul weight is to visit a weigh station and use a truck scale. Make sure you do this when you can capture the actual weight of your load. This will help you understand exactly how much weight you carry and how full your tires should be. 

If your weight is close to the maximum capacity for your trailer tires, it is best to round up. Do this by filling them to the maximum PSI level just to be safe and ensure your load makes it there without any problems. 

Final Thoughts

Trailer tires are different from basic car tires. The PSI levels are significantly different and much more important to monitor when you have trailer tires. Not only is it essential to keep your trailer tires above the minimum PSI level, but you should also consider keeping them at the maximum level to prevent heat buildup as you travel. 

Always check your trailer tire pressure levels regularly to prevent them from dropping too low, and always weigh your trailer load to ensure your tires can handle the weight.