SmithCo works hand in hand with customers to make sure we’re giving them the right trailer for their needs. As part of the process, there are a number of choices that customers need to make to ensure their side dump trailer is the best possible fit for the job. This article series explains what customers should take into consideration when specing their trailer. See the series here.
Once a customer has selected their trailer and tub style, determined where to have the hydraulic control valve installed, and chosen a tarp, it’s time to talk about side dump tires and wheels.
Side dump tire options
When selecting tires, many customers begin by asking, “What do you offer?” Our standard tires are 11R22.5s or 11R24.5s, but we can offer many other choices depending on a customer’s needs and preferences. Essentially, we’ll offer whatever tires are manufactured that we can source. Some common scenarios we see in specing tires are:
- Fleet operators who want one standard tire across their fleet to simplify inventory.
- Operators who want the same tires on their trailer as their truck. By using the same tires, these operators can recap worn-down tires from their truck and use them on the trailer to maximize the tire’s life.
- Operators who regularly haul on rough roads, who can benefit from a more aggressive, off-road tread pattern.
- Some trailers usually haul on-road but unload off-road on a job site. In this instance, we recommend a construction-grade tire that has a tread similar to a snow tire.
- Customers for our construction pups, the CP20 and CP30, typically need a flotation tire, or low ground pressure tire, that disperses the trailer’s ground pressure over a wider area to prevent sinking into soft ground.
Selecting wheels for your side dump
The other component of this conversation is selecting the trailer’s wheels. There are two main questions to address for wheels:
Super singles or dual tires?
Dual tires—that is, a pair of tires at each end of a trailer axle—are standard, but by installing a larger super single tire, you can save about 250 pounds per axle. This means an additional 500 pounds available for payload on a tandem trailer, and 750 pounds on a tri-axle. Operators who are paid by the ton can easily project the impact of this weight savings.
When considering super singles, however, operators have to consider what would happen in the case of a flat. When a tire goes flat on a trailer with dual tires, the operator can usually slowly drive to a repair shop, since the second tire can temporarily pick up the load. But obviously, there is no backup like this on a super single.
The solution for this problem is installing a tire inflation system. This system keeps the tire inflated to the proper PSI at all times, which not only helps alleviate worries about flats, but simply extends the life of the tire by maintaining proper inflation.
A tire inflation system comes with an indicator light that is mounted on the driver’s front fender facing the tractor, letting drivers see if the tire inflation system is supplying air to the tires. While it’s normal for the system to turn on when an operator starts up the tractor first thing in the morning, if the light stays on for longer, that’s a sign of a slow leak and tires in need of service.
Aluminum or steel wheels?
For trailers with dual tires, steel wheels are least expensive, but not as attractive as aluminum. Some customers solve this by opting for a steel inner wheel and aluminum outer wheel. (However, one thing to consider in this case is that for the same price as installing a steel inner wheel and aluminum outer, you can switch to a super single and save 250 pounds per axle.)
Some customers prefer to simplify and stick to one wheel material, which lets drivers keep a single type of spare mounted and ready to replace a flat. Choosing all aluminum wheels on a dual tire trailer offers a weight savings of 26 pounds per wheel, but does require an upgrade to a long stud hub.
Customers who opt for super singles also typically select aluminum wheels to further minimize weight, and aluminum wheels are actually less expensive than steel on super singles.
Are your wheels spinning yet?
We’re happy to help you figure out the best combination of tires and wheels for your side dump. Call us at 800-779-8099 or use our contact page to ask your questions. We’re sure that there’s a combination of tires and wheels that will help you achieve your goals, and we have the experts to help you find it.