Should my Trailer have a Spare Tire?
You've finished building a new utility trailer and you're wondering, should my trailer have a spare tire? Is it really something you need or can you go without it?
Some might tell you it's necessary to have a spare tire for your trailer, while others believe it's not necessary. It's important to understand what you might deal with if you go without a spare tire for your trailer.
Do most utility trailers have spare tires? Won't the spare tire just end up with dry-rot anyway? Let's look at the answer to these questions and figure out if you need a spare tire for your new utility trailer.
The Importance of the Trailer Spare Tire
For some, having a spare tire on their utility trailer is vital. Others, may not need the spare tire nearly as much.
If you plan to use your trailer often, a spare tire will likely come in handy. However, if you have a decent roadside assistance program, you may not need a spare tire; if you're willing to give up time in the event of a flat tire on your utility trailer.
If you're the type of person that likes to keep your things in good shape, a spare tire is probably a good idea for your utility trailer. While it's generally recommended that you have a spare tire for your trailer, there are a few instances where it may not be necessary including:
- Your tow vehicle has the same size wheels/tires - If this is the case, one spare for both the trailer and the vehicle will probably work just fine.
- You rarely use the utility trailer and you store it in direct sunlight where the spare tire will likely suffer from dry-rot.
- You have a good road-side assistance program and don't mind waiting for them to respond in the event of a flat tire.
Outside of these three situations, it's a good idea to have a spare tire. Even if you don't use your utility trailer often, you can always store it out of the sun, or keep it covered.
Why do you need a spare tire for your trailer?
You may be wondering, why you need a spare tire at all for your utility trailer. Most owners of trailers will tell you they've only needed the spare tire a time or two in their entire life. However, when you need it and you don't have it, you will wish you did.
Tire issues are rather common with trailers. With so many people violating the basic rules of trailer towing, it's common to see utility trailers on the side of the road with a flat tire.
There are three major reasons for flat tires on trailers:
- Overloaded Trailer/tires - When you go above and beyond the capacity of the trailer tires, you're asking for a flat or a blowout. It's best to ensure the weight of the trailer is at least 10% less than the capacity of the tires.
- Tire Neglect - When you neglect to inspect your tires and get them changed after a few years, you're asking for trouble. Unlike a car or truck, you cannot wait until your utility trailer tires show wear and tear. Tires should be changed every 4 years and it's important to check the tire pressure before using your trailer every single time.
- Axle Problems - Trailer axles are another common cause of flat tires. Whether the axles were poorly mounted, become bent or the breaks are rubbing on the tires, you may have an axle issue causing your flat tire issue.
In addition, if you don't provide proper caser for your wheels, such as making sure the bearings are taken care of and everything is lubricated, you could end up with a flat tire. This is rather common with boat trailers, as they go in and out of the water often.
When it comes down to it, you need a spare tire for peace of mind and to avoid being stranded. Even with a decent roadside assistance program, you'll likely be stranded for a few hours while you wait for someone to come and help you.
If you carry a spare tire for your utility trailer, you can change a flat yourself and get back on the road in no time. Even though you may never need the spare tire, it's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.