Trailer Tires vs Car Tires – Don’t Get Confused

When running your daily errands, you could be wondering about the differences between trailer tires vs car tires. There is no need to worry further. We are here to bring the outcome to a close.

The difference between the two sets of tires is enormous, as we shall see in this article. However, low-rated trailer tires can function in cars as well.

The article will look at various aspects regarding the tires, such as their differences, load capacity, and ply ratings. We shall also see a few sets of FAQs to tackle the questions you may be having.

A comparison table will summarize the difference in a simple format for ease of understanding. Please read through for more information.

The comparison table of Trailer Tires vs Car Tires

Trailer Tires vs Car Tires

The following table shows a distinction between trailer tires Vs car tires.

DetailTrailer tiresCar tires
Wheel designRadial ply and BiasRadial ply
Wheel diameter14’’ and above14’’ and below
Ply ratings6 to 202 to 4
Maximum speed65 mph100 mph
Tire pressure50 psi and above35 psi at maximum
Tire ratingsST and TLTL and P-metric
Load capacity1,820 lbs.1,430 lbs.

Differences between trailer tires and car tires

Trailer tires:

  • Their side wall is thicker for the following reasons: to allow for heavy load-bearing capacity and to prevent swaying sideways as they travel at high speeds on the road.
  • Come with either radial ply or bias design, hence designated as ST tires.
  • Their design cannot handle sharp turns, hence more tread on the middle part to support heavy loads.
  • Trailer tires are large, with a diameter of up to 14 inches.
  • They can work both for trailers and cars, albeit with some challenges.
  • Trailer tires have stable footprints to provide stability when moving heavy luggage and driving down the road.

The explanation for the number markings on the tire is in the text below on car tires.

Car tires:

  • Their side wall is thinner because they carry a light load. The tires cannot sway sideways on the road as they cannot handle heavy weight
  • It only has a radial design and is referred to as LT or P-metric tire.
  • Their design can handle sharp turns because the tread concentrates more on the edge of the tire.
  • Car tires are thin and with a diameter of fewer than 14 inches.
  • They cannot function in trailers, apart from the low-rated models such as load range B trailer tires.
  • Since they do not move heavy payloads, their footprints are thinner than that of a trailer.

They have three sets of numbers, such as P180/18R12. In this example, we can decode this as follows:

P – stands for P-metric.

180 – it is the width of the tire.

18 – is the height of the sidewall or the aspect ratio.

R – stands for the radial tire construction design.

For LT tires, the markings indicate the above specifications, but the term LT means that it is a light truck example, LT180/18R12.

Trailer tires can also bear these specifications, only that the first letters will be ST, e.g., ST180/18R12.

The load capacity of trailer tires

There are different types of trailer tires depending on their load range rating. The B-rated tire holds 1,430 lbs. C is 1,820. The progression goes up as you load range G.

On a double-axel trailer, you may need to reduce the load rating by up to 12%.

You can achieve the maximum load capacity of a tire if you inflate the recommended amount of pressure, like 50 psi. However, it is not also advisable to inflate the tire to the maximum. It will make the vehicle vibrate on the road and make some parts lose. The machine will also become unstable, making it challenging to control.

The load capacity of car tires

It is the carrying capacity of a car tire when it has the recommended amount of pressure. In most instances, it supports up to 1,430 pounds with a pressure capacity of 35 Psi. However, it can also change depending on the tire load index.

Where possible, do not load your car to the maximum to avoid putting stress on the wheels and the body. The vehicle should serve you for several years by keeping it clean and with proper maintenance.

The ply rating of the trailer and car tires

It indicates the number of rubber layers used for constructing the tire. In other words, it shows the strength and capacity of the tire.

The ply ratings of a car tire are four and below. On the other hand, the one for a trailer begins from 6 to 20, with a graduation scale of 2.

Sometimes, a range B tire with a ply rating of 4 can be used both in a car and a trailer. However, it is not recommended for a trailer because it cannot support a heavy load.

How to determine load capacity of a trailer & car tires

Calculating the carrying capacity of either tire is similar. The way you do it for a car is the same as that of a lorry. Here is the procedure: total weight divided by the number of tires. If the vehicle has eighteen tires, you have to divide the weight by that number, as shown below:

The total weight is that of the machine when it is fully loaded and ready to tow.

Load capacity = Total weight/The Number of tires

Trailer tires vs car tires have a uniform formula for determining the load capacity.

Maintenance tips for trailer and car tires

Maintaining the tires of your trailer or car is crucial to ensure safety, longevity, and optimal performance. Proper maintenance of tires can prevent accidents and costly repairs, extend their lifespan, and save you money in the long run.

In this context, this article will provide maintenance tips for trailer and car tires, covering regular inspections, proper inflation and alignment, rotating and replacing tires, among other important factors.

By following these tips, you can ensure your tires perform their best and keep you safe on the road. Here are some maintenance tips for trailer and car tires:

Regular Inspections

  • Check the tire pressure regularly and adjust it according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Inspect the tire tread depth for signs of wear and replace the tires if the tread depth is too low.
  • Look for any visible signs of damage, such as cuts, punctures, or bulges, and repair or replace the tire as necessary.
  • Check the valve stems for signs of damage or leaks and replace them if needed.

Proper Inflation and Alignment

  • Maintain the proper inflation pressure for the tires to ensure optimal performance and safety.
  • Check the tire pressure before each trip, especially if the trailer has been sitting for an extended period.
  • Align the trailer or car’s wheels regularly to prevent uneven tire wear and improve handling and fuel efficiency.

Rotating Tires

  • Rotate the tires periodically to ensure even wear across all four tires and extend their lifespan.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for the rotation pattern and frequency.
  • When rotating the tires, inspect them for any signs of damage or wear and replace them if necessary.

Replacing Tires

  • Replace the tires when the tread depth is too low or when they show signs of damage, such as cuts or punctures.
  • Replace all four tires at once to maintain optimal performance and safety.
  • Choose the right type of tire for your trailer or car based on its weight, load carrying capacity, and driving conditions.

Avoid Overloading

  • Do not overload the trailer or car beyond its weight capacity.
  • Overloading can cause excessive wear on the tires, leading to blowouts or other types of damage.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for the maximum weight capacity of the vehicle and trailer.

Store Tires Properly

  • Store the tires in a cool, dry, and clean environment to prevent damage from UV rays, moisture, or dirt.
  • Avoid stacking tires or storing them in direct sunlight or near heat sources.
  • Cover the tires with a protective cover to prevent them from getting damaged.

Drive Safely

  • Drive safely and avoid sudden stops or turns, which can cause excessive wear on the tires.
  • Avoid driving on rough roads or over potholes, which can cause damage to the tires.
  • Follow the recommended speed limits for your trailer or car and the type of tire you are using.

Frequently asked questions

If you are interested in Trainers, it would be a basic rule to understand the main features of the tires. More so, the difference between the Trailer and Car tires is something to put on your fingertips. Here some common FAQs to help you.

Can I use car tires on a trailer?

No. It is not advisable. Trailer tires carry the extra-heavy load that a car tire cannot handle, and it is impossible to use a regular car tire in a trailer as it can be dangerous.

The tread in car tires is different from that of a trailer. It can cause irregular wear and eventually blow up. Load ratings for the two types of tires are also dissimilar.

Can I use trailer tires on the car?

It is similar to the case above. The two tires have different designs and structures for response to varying conditions. Interchanging them could lead to harsh consequences.

Trailer tires are for carrying a heavy load, while car ones support lightweight. Use trailer tires in trailers, and so for the cars.

What is the ply rating of the trailer and car tires?

The ply rating of a car tire starts from 2 to 4. The low-rated trailer tires also have a rating of 4. However, it is not advisable to do so. That is because it cannot support a heavy load, and the vehicle will not be stable as it moves down the road.

The one trailer begins from 6 to 20, with a graduation scale of 2. C has 6, D 8, E 10, etc. A tire with a high quantity of ply ratings can handle more weight than one with less.

What is the load capacity of the trailer and car tires?

The load capacity of trailer tires begins from 1,430 lbs. for the low-rated tire such as B. However, do not use the B-rated tires on a trailer because the ply rating is minimum.

Load range C tire with a capacity of 1,820 lbs. at a pressure of 50 psi is ideal for the trailer. The weight rating increases as the load range also increases.

A double axel load range C tire can support a weight of up to 3,640 pounds. The load capacity of car tires is 1,430 lbs. at a pressure of 35 psi for the high-rated tire. Load range A tire has a smaller weight capacity.

Can I interchange trailer tires with car tires?

No. It is not advisable to do so. The tires have different structures for various purposes. Car tires are for moving lightweight such as passengers.

Trailer tires, on the other hand, are for moving heavy luggage. The treading on these two tires is different and handles varying stress levels. Using a trailer tire on the car and vice versa can lead to harmful consequences.

What is the maximum speed on car and trailer tires?

Car tires are lighter because they do not move heavy luggage. Consequently, their speed rate is up to 100 mph. Trailer tires, on the other hand, are thicker and heavier.

Their speed is also set to about 85 mph. For your safety, I don’t advise driving the vehicle at maximum speed even when the road is clear. You never know what might happen!

Conclusion of Trailer Tires vs Car Tires

Trailer tires vs car tires can be challenging to differentiate because they have near similar dimensions and specifications. However, you can differentiate between them by reading the markings on the sidewall.

There are usually three types of tires, depending on their use. They are P-metric for passenger vehicles, LT for light trucks, and ST for heavy commercial vehicles. You can identify each of them from the sidewall of the tire.

Do not interchange the tires, as it may cause disastrous effects on the vehicle and the tire. You can always refer to the manufacturer’s manual just in case you are not unsure about the tires. Another option is to go through their website for more information.

I am an engineer and the chief editor of, I am a passionate blogger as well. I am the person who can ensure a perfect, informative, honest, and helpful, guide with 10 years of work experience with different varieties of tires.

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