Rotating Trailer Tires Guide (Trailer Tire Rotation Pattern)

Most people do not use their trailer that often to warrant thinking about rotating tires. Since the tires on a trailer are not steering or driving tires, the wear should be even no matter what. But that does not mean you can’t rotate your tires.

In most cases, trailer tires wear out due to sitting around too long and not doing anything. They do not get the mileage needed to require rotating them. If you tow a lot, then maybe you will get to that point but most trailer owners do not.

To learn more about this topic, just continue to read our article. It explores the issue so you have the best information about rotating trailer tires. Take a few minutes to see how this important information helps you with your trailer tires.

Do Trailer Tires Need To Be Rotated?


While some owners do rotate their trailer tires and even incorporate their spares in the rotation, this is not something that is mandatory. When you rotate your tow or passenger vehicle’s tires, you are doing that out of safety concerns.

There is no such safety issue when it comes to trailer tires. These tires rarely get the mileage needed to warrant rotating them. If they do and you see some uneven wear patterns, then you should investigate what is causing that uneven wear.

The uneven wear pattern is telling you something about the tires or the axles on your trailer. There may be a problem with both that you need to address. The trailer tires will wear out for other reasons.

Usually, those other reasons are dry rot and sun damage from not being moved very often. Or you did not put tire covers on your tires to protect them from UV rays. Those are the reasons why you may replace your trailer tires before rotating them once.

Should I Rotate Tires On a Dual Axle Trailer?

This is a depends situation. Some owners say that their tires age out before they get enough miles on them to warrant rotating their tires. This is probably the case for many trailer and 5th-wheel owners.

However, if you have a 5th wheel you may want to consider rotating the tires as the position of the nose of the trailer may cause more wear on one set than the other. One owner had his 5th wheel nose high.

What this did was cause a lot of extra wear and tear on the two rear axle tires. In fact, one tire came apart on him while traveling. The nose-high situation caused the blow out.

But as we said earlier, if you see uneven wear and tear on your tires, even with dual axles, it is a sign of another problem that you need to find and correct. In this case, the other problem was the 5th wheel being nose high.

Then some owners will rotate their tires because it does not hurt. They are right about that as well. Rotating the dual axle tires does not help much and they do not hurt anything.

Is it OK To Rotate Trailer Tires From Side To Side?


The word is that this action is acceptable but it is not ideal. The only time you do not do this move is when you have put directional tires on your trailer’s axles. Those tires have to keep rotating in the same direction when you move them.

Keep in mind that the pattern you use for your passenger vehicles or tow vehicles does not apply to trailers. But you can rotate them using the X method. Some owners do that and have had no problems.

But in the end, it is up to you if you are going to rotate your trailer tires. If you happen to have a triple axle trailer, then the X pattern is what you need to use when it comes time to rotate those tires.

The middle tires get swapped side to side in this configuration. Be careful about using the position of the tires as a sign you need to rotate them. When the trailer is empty the tires should be leaning slightly outward at the top.

When you are properly loaded, the tires will be straight up and down and when you overload the trailer, the tire tops will bow inward. These are not signs of the tires needing rotating but a sign of how your trailer is loaded.

How To Rotate Double-Axle Trailer Tires

The correct way to do this task is to make sure you swap the tires so that they are in the opposite position from where they started. This could mean an X rotation and that is usually the recommended method to use.

As you know, you never lift the tire off the ground before you loosen the lug nuts. Use the weight of the trailer to help you break the seal of the lug nuts before lifting the tire. You will need at least two jacks to do this work if you do not have a jack stand to help.

The X pattern goes something like this- front driver to the rear passenger side. Rear passenger side to the front driver position. Then the rear driver side to front passenger side and front passenger side to rear driver position.

If you are doing this by hand, it may take a little work to loosen those lug nuts. Tire shops will over-tighten the lugs just to protect themselves from any liability.

Trailer Tire Rotation Pattern


There is no real set pattern for single-axle tires. All you have is a side-to-side swap and you are done. For both dual and triple axle, you should use the X pattern described in the previous section.

The difficulty for the triple axle in using the X pattern is that the two middle tires only get swapped side to side. It is not hard to do this work if you have the right equipment.

The difference between doing it yourself and having a shop do it is that you do not have to over-tighten those lug nuts. There is a certain torque level for lug nuts and tire shops go beyond that torque level to be on the safe side.

Of course, you can do what many trailer owners do and never rotate your tires. According to one owner, there is no real advantage or disadvantage to rotating trailer tires. Your main concern will be dry rot or UV rays.

Which Way do Trailer Tires Go?

The tires should have the inside on the inside and the outside on the outside. This actually does matter as it could shorten the life of the tire significantly if you get this wrong. Goodyear made a big point about this on their website.

Then if you are buying and using directional tires on your trailer, then the directional arrow should be pointing in the direction of the correct rotation. Directional tires have treads that form a V shape and point down as well as forward.

If you get this wrong, you may not get the full benefit of the tire design. Asymmetrical tires roll in either direction but these tires need to have the inside on the inside and the outside on the outside when mounted.

There should be a notice on the tire that tells you which side faces out. It pays to read all the writing on the tires as they give you very important information about those tires.

Can You Drive a Dual Axle Trailer With 2 Tires?


It is possible but it is highly recommended that you do not try this. With only two tires holding the weight of the trailer, you are putting your family and trailer at risk. You will lose stability as well as lower your towing experience.

There will be a lot of weight and stress on the remaining tires. This means that you run the risk of a blow out happening. This is not a chance you want to take. This includes running a dual axle trailer with just 3 tires.

While in emergency situations you can do this, it is best to have a roadside emergency membership to tow you to the nearest repair center. That is the better option when you face this problem.

You may think you are saving money by only running two tires but in the end, it could cost you a lot more than buying two more tires and being safe.

Some Additional Words

It is up to you if you rotate your trailer tires or not. Uneven wear is not a priority for most trailer owners as they do not put enough miles on their trailer tires.

What is a priority will be dry rot and UV rays. Not moving your trailer for long periods of time is more of a risk than not rotating those tires. In the end, you make the decisions for your trailer and pick the best option for you.

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