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As summer driving season heats up in Michigan, don’t forget about trailer tire safety

As part of National Tire Safety Week, MI Environment is highlighting how tire safety is paramount to protect people and the environment.

Boat trailers in a parking lot showing their tires.

Because they don’t last nearly as long as vehicle tires, trailer tires deserve special attention. Courtesy of the DNR.


Keeping vehicle tires properly inflated is not only safer and results in improved fuel efficiency, it also helps extend the life of the tires. And that good for the environment because it gets the most potential wear prior to disposal.

Tires should be recycled, once their life is over. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s (EGLE) Scrap Tire Program  in 2023 cleaned up over 507,000 passenger tires.

Improper management of scrap tires can be hazardous to the environment and public health, not to mention being unsightly. Runoff from hard-to-extinguish tire fires can contaminate water, and scrap tires are an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry disease such as West Nile Virus.

This year during National Tire Safety Week, EGLE is encouraging Michiganders to be watchful of the conditions of their trailer tires, too.

“We’ve all seen people with the 20-year-old boat trailer with tiny tires speeding down the highway at 80 miles an hour,” says Kirsten Clemens, EGLE’s scrap tire coordinator.  “Did they check the air? What speed are those tires rated for? How old are the tires? Are they dry rotted or sun damaged?”

Because they don’t last nearly as long as vehicle tires, trailer tires deserve special attention, Clemens added.

She provides the following tips:

  • It is recommended that trailer tires undergo detailed and frequent inspections to determine their condition. Trailer tire life is between three to eight years – regardless of mileage --and as much as one-third of a tire’s strength is gone in approximately three years.
  • Protect trailer tires from ozone, ultraviolet light and heat-related exposure during storage. All can degrade tires. Tire life is prolonged under cool and dark storage conditions. Tire covers also shield tires from sunlight.
  • During storage, trailers should be parked on blocks, if not used for six months or more. For less than six months of storage, tires should be placed on a waterproof surface.
  • Be aware of tires’ maximum speed. Many should not be used at over 65 miles per hour. Higher speeds affect the life and wear of trailer tires.
  • Proper trailer alignment and balancing helps to extend trailer tire life.

Many communities are offering tire collection events for passenger cars, pickup trucks, and trailer tires, thanks to EGLE grants. Check with your local EGLE Scrap Tire Program staff to find an event near you.