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What is the maximum load my trailer tyres can bear?

Mon, 14 Mar 2022 | PRODUCTS


It can be all too easy to overload a trailer, with serious consequences not only for its body, chassis, key components and general safety, but particularly for tyre wear and integrity. So when next searching the internet for ‘trailer tyres for sale’ or ‘trailer tyres near me’, or looking through a trailer tyres price list for replacements, consider the following advice to ensure your trailer and its tyres are never overloaded.

The first data to note when you are selecting new trailer tyres is the maximum payload rating of the trailer itself. This will be stamped on the trailer’s serial plate, usually found on the drawbar. Once this has been noted, it will then be possible to select the trailer tyres that match this rating.

Because trailer tyres are among the smallest in diameter used on farm machines, they make many revolutions compared to, say, the tyres on the tractor that pulls the trailer, with the most marked difference occurring, of course, at higher speeds. They also undergo rapid cycles between field and road and being fully laden and unladen, both occurring at high speed in situations where produce and goods are being transported from field to farm, or vice versa.

Overloading a trailer to try and minimise load numbers can have significant drawbacks, from putting strain on body and chassis components to exerting stress on wheels and trailer tyres. This can mean the inconvenience of unexpected service costs, or even a trailer tyre blow-out, meaning downtime as a tyre is repaired or replaced, or at worst dealing with an accident.

Identify the load index

To determine the maximum load your trailer’s tyres are capable of bearing when operated at their correct pressures, identify the load index among the numbers on the trailer tyre sidewall. This will be a number from 100 and 200, corresponding to the acceptable load for the tyre at a given pressure. It will be accompanied by the speed index letter, which relates to maximum speed at which the trailer tyre can be used. Tyre manufacturers produce load and speed index tables that cover all of the tyre models they manufacture, and using these to calculate the load your trailer will be carrying and the maximum speed at which it will be hauled will enable you to select the appropriate trailer tyres for the trailer’s most demanding tasks. Remember that while a tractor may be capable of a certain maximum speed, and the tyres on its trailer or other implement may be rated to match that speed, the maximum permitted speed for the trailer or implement may not be as high as that of its tyres, or of the tractor pulling it.

Check tyres’ age and condition

The maximum load a trailer tyre can bear will depend not only on its load rating, though. It will also be heavily influenced by its age and condition. Trailer tyres, like any others, must be checked regularly for cuts, cracks and splits, and for perishing, particularly on the sidewalls, which can occur particularly in older trailer tyres and those which have been operated while under- or over-inflated. Add this factor into any assessment of the load your trailer tyres can bear. And, of course, regardless of trailer tyre type the maximum load for a single axle trailer/trailed implement in the UK is 16 tonnes, rising to 29 tonnes trailers/implements with tandem axles and 32 tonnes for those with three axles.

Remember the role of bigger tyres and more air in carrying greater loads

Implement and trailer tyres with wide and/or long footprints will be capable of bearing greater loads that might otherwise require high pressures, thanks not only to their greater ground contact and bigger design, but also their higher internal air volumes. As a result, the impact of the trailer tyres and their load on the land is minimised.

Bear these factors in mind when searching the internet for ‘trailer tyres for sale’ or ‘trailer tyres near me’, or looking through a trailer tyres price list for replacements. They will help you to make the best choice when it comes to selecting trailer tyres designed to match the maximum load your trailer is designed to bear.