Trailer tire brands to avoid and why

12 Trailer Tire Brands to Avoid and Why

Updated on February 10th, 2024

The tires on your camping trailer have a very important job. They need to be strong enough to carry all your precious cargo, so it’s really important to pick a trustworthy tire brand that can handle the load of your trailer.

Sadly, many RV manufacturers cut corners by using cheaper tires to save money on production. Likewise, many owners think saving a few bucks on less expensive tires is best since they take their travel trailers out infrequently.

But here’s the thing: if a lower-quality tire fails, the consequences can be disastrous, possibly leading to big repair bills.

This guide will explain which trailer tire brands to avoid so you can travel safely every camping season.

The Concern With Tires Manufactured in China

Dangers RV tire blowout

China is a significant player in the trailer tire industry, exporting about 65 million tires annually under a wide range of brand names.

The problem with many tires manufactured in China is that they are made with inferior materials, so they fail once they’re put under the stress of driving conditions.

Often, the blowout sounds like a bomb going off under the recreational vehicle, leading many RVers to give them the nickname “China Bomb Tires.

On the surface, China’s bomb tires appear similar to other tires, except they sell at a much lower price.

A cheap trailer tire will have the Special Tire (ST) rating of better-quality trailer tires and have a similar load capacity. However, the ratings are only sometimes legitimate and are often not tested.

But, what many people need to look at is the max speed rating. For example, China bomb tires will top out at 65 mph, and a high-quality ST trailer tire brand will have a max speed rating of 80 mph.

Cruising any US highway means travel speeds will often exceed 65 mph, resulting in the China bomb tires blowing out. Keep in mind that many “China bomb” tires blow without any apparent damage or wear to the rubber treads or sidewalls.

Another concern about tires coming from China is that counterfeiting is common. So, loads of fake “brand-name” trailer tires that you think are reputable hit the US daily, leaving unsuspecting customers at risk.

Almost all tires coming out of China are made at the Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Company. However, the company is notorious for using inferior materials and unskilled labor when creating tires.

It’s no wonder the company continually issues recalls and is even party to lawsuits pertaining to damages from tire blowouts.

When shopping for tires for your travel trailer, it’s important to know where the tires are made to purchase quality tires from a brand that will stand behind their product.

Understanding RV Tires

You can find all the necessary information about RV tires on the tire’s sidewall. Outside of traditional car tires, this would include Light Truck (LT), Radial (R), Commercial (C), and Special Tires (ST), each marked with unique abbreviations.

A few readers have requested more information on what the above tire abbreviations mean, so let’s define them now.

  1. Light Truck Tires (LT): Designed for vehicles that carry heavy loads or tow trailers. These tires have a sturdier build and can handle more weight and rougher conditions than regular passenger tires.
  2. Radial Tires (R): Feature a specific construction where the tire’s cord plies are arranged at a 90-degree angle to the direction of travel, offering better road contact, fuel efficiency, and a smoother ride. Most modern tires are of this type.
  3. Commercial Tires (C): Built for commercial vehicles and heavy-duty applications. They are designed to withstand prolonged use and heavy loads and can often be found on buses, large trucks, and commercial vans.
  4. Special Tires (ST): This category includes tires designed for specific conditions or uses, such as off-road tires, snow tires, or tires for agricultural vehicles. Each has unique features suited for its intended purpose.

It’s also important to be generally aware of the sidewall information and the tire’s manufacturing source (more on this later). This includes:

  • The tire’s width, aspect ratio, radial construction, and diameter.
  • The load index and speed rating.
  • Classification of the terrain the tire is suited for.
  • The maximum and minimum PSI (Inflation Rating) for the tire.

The following information about your travel trailer or motorhome is also important. Without this, you won’t be able to choose the appropriate tire for your vehicle. This includes:

The problem with the so-called China Bomb tires (some brands of tires manufactured in China) is that they are just like any other tire, with all the important information about the tire located on the sidewall. Outwardly, there is nothing about a potential China Bomb tire that differentiates it from any other. Without a little pre-inspection and a background check on the tire’s manufacturing origin, you won’t know if the tire is made in America or not.

The vast majority of these tires are the STs (Special Tires), which are designed for heavier loads and speeds of up to 65 mph (with a few exceptions that exceed the speed rating). This is important because most of the tires that have had problems throughout recent years are ST tires manufactured outside of the U.S.

For what it’s worth, all tire imports from China have to comply with NHTSA standards, which is shifting the tire industry towards thicker steel radial construction and more robust sidewalls. This change is largely driven by ST tire regulations, which mandate these enhancements for improved load-bearing, durability, and stability.

Such regulations, reflecting market feedback and safety concerns, are steering tire design and manufacturing towards these sturdier constructions to meet specific demands, especially for heavy loads, and to minimize risks like blowouts. This adaptation reflects the industry’s commitment to safety and performance in response to regulatory requirements. Whether this will make a difference in the future remains to be seen.

12 Trailer Tire Brands to Avoid and Why

RV tire blowouts

It can be confusing to delineate which trailer tires are good and which are not. One sure sign is a “Made in China” marking on the tire sidewall, but other countries also make bad tires.

Many poor-quality tire brands use American or Italian names to fool you into thinking it’s well-made. Other tire companies hope you find their low cost too tempting to resist.

If the tire brand doesn’t sound familiar, you must investigate more to learn if the brand is reliable. A single China manufacturer will distribute tires under different brand names, even though the tires are practically identical.

Here are twelve tire brands you should avoid:

Goodride

Goodride is obviously playing off the idea that customers will think the tire brand is Goodyear (click here to read why you should avoid Goodyear tires). Instead, all Goodride tires come from the Zhongce Rubber Group Co., Ltd. (ZC Rubber), which has plants in China and subsidiaries in America, Brazil, Europe, and Thailand.

Prices for Goodride trailer tires are under $100, which is another clue that this is a brand you need to avoid.

Mechanics state that Goodride tires look comparable to more expensive tire brands to the untrained eye.

However, the company fails to put tires through testing or quality-control measures. As a result, customers state the tires have uneven wear, and blowouts are widespread.

Firestone Destination Tires

Firestone destination tires

Firestone Destination Tires come from one of the most well-known U.S. tire companies, so you would think they are a good buy. However, all the tires are now made in China.

To reduce costs, the Firestone Destination Tires use poor-quality rubber and materials, and there are fewer tests and control checks to ensure safe performance.

Customers complain the rubber is too soft and punctures easily or will warp or bulge out after hitting potholes. The tires can also blow due to extreme internal temperatures while driving at normal highway speeds.

Falken Ziex Tires

Falken Ziex Tires are a product of Japan and were once a decent, affordable trailer tire. Unfortunately, in an effort to reduce costs, the company has cut corners in the design and materials.

The Falken Ziex tires now require more distance to stop on wet and dry surfaces, and drivers state the tire performs horribly in wet conditions. Punctures are another point of concern since the rubber they use is softer.

Chaoyang

A China bomb tire

Chaoyang Tire is another Chinese brand you must avoid if you want to travel safely in your camping trailer.

One major complaint is that the tires are noisy when driving. In addition, the treads wear unevenly, and the rubber they use in manufacturing is soft.

The final result is a tire that heats up to extreme temperatures and can burst, or the tire will go flat due to a puncture. So skip any tire with the Chaoyang name.

Autogreen Tyres Company

Autogreen tires come from China and possibly have the worst lifespan rating. Most customers state the tires are toast with less than 10,000 miles of wear.

Other issues are poor traction on dry road surfaces and uneven tread wear. People also note that the tires vibrate at higher speeds, making a very uncomfortable ride.

Compass Tires

Compass Tires

Compass Tires is another brand made by the Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Company in China. Again, the name sounds familiar enough not to set off alarm bells, but Compass tires should be on your do-not-buy list.

A big issue with Compass tire performance is the lack of safety features, such as gum strips that prevent the steel belts in the tire from separating or causing damage to the rubber.

Customers state the tire sidewalls are weak and easily punctured, and the treads wear out quickly.

Do you trust your travel trailer to ride on such a tire? I think not.

Westlake Tires

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Westlake Tires is another subsidiary of Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Company. The tires are made and marketed as budget, mid-tier replacement tires. Westlake tires are supported and sold through Tireco in the US and other countries.

Westlake tires have a reputation for failing after hitting a pothole or road debris at speed and are not worth installing on your travel trailer. In addition, the treads wear out very quickly, which is concerning if you love to take your camper on long road trips.

Westlake warranty and customer service could be better, which is another reason to skip this brand.

Trazano

The Trazano line may sound Italian, but it comes from the Zhongce Rubber Group in China. Adding to the confusion is that the company is a US brand, but they make the tires in China.

While Trazano touts their good quality and reliability, the reality is that the tread thins out quickly in the tire center. Since the outer edges remain in better condition, it’s hard to notice rubber deterioration at the center of the tread until a blowout occurs.

The ride comfort also declines as the uneven tread wear causes noise and vibrations.

AKS Tires

AKS China tires

AKS is another China off-brand tire that mechanics and customers say to avoid. The highest complaints stem from sidewall damage resulting in a blowout or the tire tearing apart while driving due to poor construction.

The tread on AKS tires has a short lifespan, and tire traction on wet and dry roads is inferior. Therefore, I suggest you never trust AKS tires on your travel trailer.

Carlisle Tires

Carlisle is another US brand that was once reliable but is now moving more tire manufacturing to China to save money.

The tires have issues similar to other China-made tires, such as uneven tread wear and quick disintegration of the rubber. In addition, the tire cannot handle wide temperature extremes and often bursts under high heat or loses air in cold weather.

Accelera

Accelera is a tire brand from Indonesia that you need to avoid. The company advertises they make high-performance tires, but customers state traction on wet surfaces is terrible.

The tread design must be bad, as people also claim the tires take a long time to come to a complete stop and that they will slip during quick acceleration. When pulling a trailer weighing thousands of pounds, the last thing you want is tires that don’t provide the control you need.

Sunfull Tires / Unicorn Tires

Sunfull is made under the umbrella of the Unicorn Tire Corporation, which is an American brand. Unicorn Tire manufactures Sunfull tires in China, which explains the issues in quality and performance.

The Sunfull tires have the worst stopping distance rating on wet and dry pavement. The tires also have problems with treads thinning dangerously within the first year.

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Are There RV Tires Made In America?

Due to lower production costs and relaxed regulations, numerous tire manufacturers prefer overseas factories, particularly in countries like China, over U.S.-based production. With China manufacturing over 800 million tires annually, its sheer output volume poses a significant competitive challenge for U.S. companies. This high production rate, fueled by manual labor and cost efficiencies, has led to a market saturation that American companies, focusing solely on domestic production, find increasingly difficult to match in terms of scale and pricing over the last two decades.

The United States continues to be the largest tire importer globally, receiving most of its tire imports from Thailand, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and China, which rank as the top five exporting countries to the U.S.

Nowadays, companies like Goodyear, Cooper, and Michelin manufacture a selection of their RV or trailer-specific tires in the U.S., including models such as the Goodyear Endurance and Michelin XRV. However, the range of options produced domestically is limited, requiring that you do your homework when purchasing new tires. While it’s useful to know the general production locations of these major manufacturers, confirming the manufacturing origin of your specific tires is a separate task.

This will first require locating the federally-mandated Tire Identification Number (TIN), which is found on your tire’s sidewall, a number you’ll then plug into an NHTSA database found online. Rather than getting too deep into the process, you can read about how to determine whether your tires were made in the U.S. here

In Summary

Shopping for replacement tires is much easier when you know which trailer tire brands to avoid. Please refer to the list above before choosing a trailer tire, and always look for where a tire is made before making a purchase.

An inexpensive trailer tire will not perform safely, so pay for quality tires from a respected brand to keep your camping plans on track!

Most People Don’t Know This About Trailer Tires (Video)

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38 thoughts on “12 Trailer Tire Brands to Avoid and Why”

  1. Can’t agree more. China bomb tires are junk. I went with all goodyears on all of my trailers. The only USA built tires I know of.

  2. I completely disagree on the Carlisle tires. I have been buying them for
    15 years for my trailers. Campers, flatbeds and enclosed with loaded weights up to 10000 lbs and have never had a bad tire or a blowout on any of them. Being a tire builder and inspector for Firestone for 23 yrs I know ply specs also have a big impact on how a tire hold up.

    1. I agree I have Carlisle 12 ply on my trailer and it’s been from Washington to Az and back and Washington to Sturgis SD,Florence Oregon,plus several state side trips and still look like new. Other trailer tires I’ve had I replaced all 6 3 times in 2 years because of catastrophic failure.

    2. Years ago my bass boat came with Carlisle tires which promptly slung the tread off. They were of proper rating for the weight and inflated to proper psi but they just slung the tread off.

    3. Me too, I have Carlisle 12 ply on my 15000 lb fifth wheel also and have been happy with them but the trailer came with 10 ply and I had two blow outs so I went with 235-85-16 in stead of 235-80-16 but you really need to buy tires made for a trailer and America does not make hardly any and it’s Americas fault.

    4. The article states that Carlyle is now moving to, or already is, making their tires in China. What does the experience of 15 years ago really mean at this point?

  3. I sold tires for over 40 years and trailer tires were a challenge for the last 20. Few customers were willing to bite the bullet for American built tires but were unhappy when they wore unevenly or failed in 2 or 3 years. I ate lots of them. Like so many other products, I cannot blame the tire companies entirely because to build them like they used to would raise the cost enough that they wouldn’t sell. Blame goes back to the consumer.

    1. Endurance ST by Goodyear are the ONLY ST tires made in the USA. Had OEM China made tires on my toyhauler, one blew, did $7k damage to the TH. Never again! The Goodyears on my equipment trailer used to haul my Rubicon and golf cart behind my motor home currently have 40k miles with no flats or any problems.

      1. You are wrong there are other tires are made in US with an ST rating. One such tire is the Hercules he just made in Ohio and the company is owned by Cooper tire and they are excellent tires.

        1. I just bought 5 , there 14 ply , hope I did good , the china bombs which I didn’t know about almost took us out on our vacation last September to the Rockies , a brand new cougar 5 wheel as well “

    2. I agree that in many ways the US consumer has created the problem with Chinese products that are inferior by demanding and buying cheap products. Some 15 years ago I bought new Carlisle tires from a major tire chain store. Three of those tires came apart within the first 1,000 miles. The US distributor paid my claim for damage to the trailer. I installed Maxxus 8008 tires as a cost compromise but sold the trailer and don’t know how they performed My next was taken directly to Discount and a set of Goodyear 614 tires were installed. Expensive but I never had a problem in 3 years. My next trailer came with Westlake and I also took it directly to Discount and was ready to install Goodyear G 614 tires but after discussion I put on Hartland 14 ply G rated. They are made in China but under the control of Discount and they performed well for 3 1/2 years. I just bought a new trailer in Texas, but before I drove it away I had Goodyear G 114 H rated tires installed. I am willing to spend the money in exchange for peace of mind and safety.

  4. Billy Bogue, Van Texas

    4 blow outs $6000 damages my first 3 years Changed to GY Endurance, no problems no blow outs 4 yrs running

  5. I have a stack of Goodyear Marathon tires that have failed over the years. I asked a Goodyear dealer if there was a recall on them. He said he has a steady flow of trailers limping in off the Interstate with same problem. It may have ss much asalmost full tread and the tread delaminates like a recap. The dealer asked the age of the tire? He said if it was 5 yrs or older it needs to be replaced. I have gone to using good quality car or light truck tires and problems went away. I have 10 trailers so sometimes they get little use.
    I have talked to others with same problem and they were using Goodyear Marathons.

    1. Goodyear Marathon tires are not the same as the Endurance tires. I don’t believe the Marathon tires are U.S. made. They are a lower quality tire.

    2. Marathons are made in China, Goodyear endurance is American made , China tires have thin side walls and tread, they leak air and fly apart tearing up your trailer fenders and under carriage, I drive the highways everyday and see brand new campers and trailers shread tires daily, if your going to run China tires God Bless You.

  6. If it’s marketed as an ST then run from it. I run only LT tires on all my trailers. Haven’t lost one in 3 years plus at hiway speeds loaded.

  7. Recently returned from a safari in Kenya, all the Landcruisers running Goodride tires. Not a paved road in sight, 60 mph on rutted roads all day long. Perception is reality I guess.

    1. I’m going to speculate that the tires on those Landcruisers don’t last more than 5 or 6,000 miles due to flats/tread separation/blowouts due to the fact that they are run on unpaved, rutted roads with many road hazards.

      Running higher quality tires is probably much more expensive than buying cheap, readily available tires in bulk and having them mounted up on extra wheels to hasten tire changes when they lose air.

      Last, I’m gonna guess that many times when a tire fails on one of those Safaris the drivers just keep driving on the rim until they come to a “safe” place to change that tire. I could be wrong but if I were traveling in lion and hyena country, I would be very hesitant to stop until I was in a wide open area or somewhere with additional help to change that tire/keep an eye on the surrounding wildlife.

  8. I have had Firestone destination tires for 15 years and all of them have been American made, I have gotten 70 thousand miles on all of them and love how they ride, so I disagree on that, but Goodyear endurance is the only way to go but the Goodyear marathon are like the other china made tires they are junk tires. Also the china wheels are garbage too, I always go with Dexstar wheels.

  9. Another one to stay away from are Nexen tires sold at Walmart. I had 4 on a flatbed trailer. Within 3-4 years all four of them began to bounce because the cord was tearing apart leaving them out of round. They still had lots of tread depth. I put one up for a spare and within a few months the rubber had separated in the bottom of the tread. Terrible tires.

  10. No tires made in china, steel belted only and the real test is the weight. Lift an American made or Sailun tire and compare to the likes of tires like Westlakes. Good tires weigh almost twice what the china bombs weigh.

  11. I have been using nothing but Carlisle tires for the past 8 years on 5 different trailers. I haul something almost every day. Easily have 500,000 miles on all those tire combined. I’ve driven TN to CA, FL, OR, MI, SC, and PA (and everything in-between) with temps over 100 degrees. Not a single blow out or tread loss! Not a single issue! Before that, I was using Goodyear Marathons and a couple other brands I can remember right now. They would blow out or break a belt with perfect tread after only being installed for 12 to 16 months. I never had a single Goodyear tire last 24 months! Carlisle ALL THE WAY FOR ME! BEST TRAILER TIRE AVAILABLE!

  12. I recently had a Maxxis tire to come apart. I could not trust the other 3 so I had the shop to install 4 Goodyear Endurance tires. Hopefully I made the correct decision

  13. I had Westlake G rated tires on our 5th wheel for 25k mi without any problems. The lower rated tires have had issues but their G rated tires are solid.

  14. Had China Bombs on my fifth wheel. Had a blowout in Fl going 70mph. Not a treat in 5 lanes of traffic . I bought Hartland ST’s, American made, 12ply rated at 110 lbs pressure. The Fifth wheel empty weight is 16500 lbs . We put on 2200 miles up the east coast and west through the mountains. It pulled easier and absolutely no sway ! Would definitely recommend!!

  15. Towing a triple axle toy hauler averaging 70 mph running Carlisle CSL16 (F) rated. No issues whatsoever just bought my second set.

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