Kwik Fit | Wednesday 23rd August 2017 11:07am
Taking your own car on holiday has its advantages over travelling by plane – most notably, the absence of a baggage allowance which means you can take practically anything and everything away with you. But if you have a small boot or just a lot of stuff, there simply isn’t room for that kitchen sink.
Trailers provide a great solution for those times when you need a bit of additional space for all that extra gear or when you need to transport large or heavy items. But the very nature of trailers means that they are only used from time to time. The rest of the year they tend to be sat on the drive or stored in the garage. Trailer tyres, just like regular car tyres, don’t fare well when left inactive for long periods of time. Here are a few things you should check before taking your trailer back out on the road.
Check your trailer tyre pressure
All tyres lose pressure over time whether in use or not, so it’s important to check the tyre pressure on your trailer tyres before you take it out for the first time in a while. Flat or low pressure tyres on a trailer are not immediately obvious if the trailer is unloaded as the tyres may still have enough air to support their own weight, so check your tyre pressure every time you get the trailer out. Even if your trailer is in regular use, you should check your tyre pressure every few weeks and correct when needed. Under inflated trailer tyres will wear much faster and unevenly if not addressed, especially if you are transporting heavy loads.
Inspect trailer tyres for damage and ageing
Another consequence of tyres being in storage for a long time is that they are prone to cracking. Tyres are constructed with a wax in the veneer, this acts as a sort of moisturiser which helps to keep the tyre supple. If a tyre is not in regular use, the wax will slowly seep to the bottom of the tyre which can lead to cracking as the tyre dries out. Also if the trailer is left outside in the elements, UV light from the sun will slowly oxidise the rubber in the tyres which can also lead to premature tyre ageing. Give your trailer tyres a thorough visual inspection before you take the trailer out. Also check the date of manufacture on the tyre sidewall as trailer tyres are more likely to be unchanged for several years due to their occasional use. Find out the age of your tyres.
The law in the UK relating to trailer tyres
We’ve seen plenty of drivers come into our centres with a trailer with tyres so worn that the cords were showing. You wouldn’t let your car tyres get into this sort of state (well, we certainly hope you wouldn’t) and yet many drivers seem to think there are no restrictions on the condition of tyres when fitted to a trailer. In actual fact, the same laws apply to trailer tyres as regular car tyres. Cars and light trailers up to 3,500kgs must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm across the centre three quarters of the tyre and around the entire circumference. The tyres should be free of cuts and bulges and mud guards must be fitted and secure. If the police were to pull you over and found your tyres to be substandard you could face the same penalty as car tyres - that is, 3 penalty points and a maximum fine of £2,500.
Trailer tyres at Kwik Fit
At Kwik Fit, we stock a wide range of trailer tyres for different trailer types. Our centres may not have your specific trailer tyre available on the shelf, so we recommend contacting your nearest centre beforehand to let them know your requirements and tyre size. Our team can then order the most suitable tyres for your trailer from our warehouse for fitting at a time that is convenient for you.
Wednesday 12th May 2021
A tyre's condition, pressure, usage and (crucially) tread depth result in 10% of all MOT fails. Learn more & discover how to ensure your tyres pass the MOT.
Friday 30th April 2021
The EU is changing the labels that come with new tyres in order to be more informative and transparent. But what do the new labels mean? Read to find out.