The Optimum Travel Trailer Tire Pressure
The maximum tire pressure for travel trailer tires is usually 50 psi. If your tires read 50 psi, you are probably going to have a safe ride, but that is always not the case.
Have you ever filled your travel trailer tires to the maximum, i.e., inflated them to their utmost capacity, and suddenly when you hit the road, they feel shaky and bounce up and down? The misbehavior of your trailer behind your truck might be due to the incorrect travel trailer tire pressure.
Understanding Travel Tire Pressure
To understand the travel tire pressure and how the limits work, let us look at three tire pressure terminologies.
1. Under Inflation
When the tire pressure is less than the maximum required pressure to inflate the tires, according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, it is called under-inflation. As per reports, only 44 percent of the trailers have correctly inflated tires, and one in five trailers operate with at least one tire under-inflated, i.e., at less than 20 psi.
Under inflation is a serious concern because tires not inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure, often end up with sidewall deflection and generate excessive heat, which weakens the tire’s internal structure, therefore its efficiency.
Besides, it affects the cornering ability and the steering position because of the deflected wheel position. The internal damage to the tire, called carcass damage (A pronounced bulge on the sidewall of the tire indicates destroyed cords) renders the tire impossible to tread. Even if the damage doesn’t make it to the carcass stage, the deflection leaves the tires vulnerable to wear and tear and increases the risk on the road. Other examples of under-inflated tires’ disintegration are zipper rips and alligators (shards of rubber).
2. Over Inflation
Also, a related problem in the trucking industry, over-inflation happens when the trailer tires become filled above the recommended pressure, i.e.,> 50 psi. Over 16 percent of truck tires are overinflated by 5 percent above the recommended pressure.
In over inflation, the operating temperatures and the ambient air pressure can become elevated. Nevertheless, tires are designed to adjust to the pressure variations up to a limit varying from 5 to 10 percent; nonetheless, the temperature fluctuations are a different story.
The problem with over-inflation is that although the tires adopt the variations just fine, the elevated ambient temperature does not bleed off as fast as it increases. The air compression and natural air loss due to diffusion lead to over-inflation, making the tires susceptible to excessive wear and tear, such as punctures and impact breaks, calling for frequent pullovers for a tire patch.
3. TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System)
Pressure monitoring is not a hassle anymore, thanks to the inventors of TPMS. The TPMS works by checking the psi levels inside the tires. This system can easily detect the under or over inflation of trailer tires.
There are two types of TPMS; direct and indirect. Direct TPMS uses the wheels’ pressure sensors, whereas the indirect TPMS uses the vehicle’s anti-lock braking system tire speed sensors.
The earliest TPMS, such as the Bellacorp Tire-Pressure Monitoring System, can monitor the air pressure in trailer axles for up to 178 psi. In contrast, the latest TPMS systems comprise LCD screens with color display, advanced speed sensors, and rechargeable lithium battery with improved battery life.
Finding the correct Tire Pressure for Travel Tires
The correct tire pressure is vital to ensure road safety. Poorly inflated travel trailer tires can blow out, add more dollars to your bill, and put your vehicle, hence your life, at risk. It is critical to inflate the tires to the correct psi so that you eliminate unnecessary wear.
The psi is not the same for all travel tires; rather, it depends on the vehicle’s weight carrying capacity. Almost all vehicles come with a label that mentions the maximum Psi. In some motorhomes with tag axle, the label is missing, in which case the truck owner needs to refer to the manual or contact the dealer to get the right information.
The Psi specified to the tires depends on the weight carrying capacity of a travel trailer. Somewhere inside the vehicle, you will find a label mentioning the maximum psi. The label might be missing in some motorhomes. In that case, check the owner’s manual or contact the dealer to get the right information.
What is the Correct Travel Trailer Tire Pressure?
There is no definitive answer to this question. All travel trailers come with different tire sizes that require different tire pressure. Also, the psi rating varies with the tire type.
However, the answer couldn’t be found by looking at the average recommended tire pressure, which ranges from 40 psi to 65 psi for most travel trailer tires. You do not necessarily have to set this psi pressure; these are just average figures.
Finding the Optimum Travel Trailer Tire Pressure
Choosing the right psi for your vehicle could be tiresome due to the varying trailer weight carrying capability. But, every tire manufacturer publishes a tire pressure and tire load chart, however deciphering it to your users could be difficult as the calculations for inflation pressure must be precise according to the load range and the psi tables.
One psi table cannot work for the two same vehicles because of the weight capacity. Travel trailers also accommodate passengers, which, in one way or another, affects the trailer. The inflation pressure on a trailer tire’s sidewalls is the maximum level of inflation, given that it is inflated to the maximum load capacity.
In case the vehicle is not fully loaded, the psi pressure in the tires should lie between the range mentioned on the tag on the vehicle’s respective tire sidewall. The limit must not be exceeded in any case to avoid tire damage and road calamities.
It is essential to keep the same tire pressure on both ends of the axle to maintain the ideal travel trailer tire pressure.
When replacing an old tire, you must read the new tires’ manuals thoroughly instead of inflating it with the same pressure as the previous. In most cases, the psi rating is the same for tires of the same size, but not necessarily. Make sure the new tires’ psi is compatible, i.e., not less than the figure mentioned on the trailer’s tag. Inflating the new tire with the previous or the rest of the tires’ psi range can affect the weight distribution on the trailer tires.
Travel Trailer Tire Care Tips
To guarantee the best tire life, ensure all tires are at the maximum psi rating. Consider tire rotation and balancing.
Here are some tire pressure gauge tips to avoid accidental under or over inflation.
Never set a pressure range just because your neighbor has set it for his travel trailer. As mentioned before, one psi chart does not always work for two vehicles. Even if it does, the trailer will not perform to its maximum efficiency because of the load range difference.
Always use the manufacturers’ or the tire dealer’s manual if you are unsure about the recommended psi pressure and the max load capacity of your tires.
Always purchase a high-quality travel trailer TPMS. The reason behind ensuring the TPMS’s quality is that it can detect the pressure variations with its pressure gauge or sensor battery.
Never pull a motorhome with under-inflated trailer tires. Make sure the air pressure remains less than the recommended amount required for the tire load.
Don’t fill your tires below the mentioned range on the certification tag. Regardless of the vehicle weight capacity, the pressure must remain equal if not above the mentioned psi range.
The recommended psi on the sidewalls indicates the maximum tire pressure. Hence, never fill the tires above the mentioned pressure.