Tow-Vehicle Tire Tips

Six top tire selection tips

Tow-Vehicle Tire Tips

When buying tow-vehicle tires, we boaters don't know if we've made a poor choice until we're skittering along a gravel road on the way to the lake or wheel-spinning at a slippery boat ramp. Goodyear recognized the need for a new premium all-terrain tire, coming out with the Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar (WATA). I tested a set of Goodyear WATA tires in Colorado last fall and found them to be ideal for Boating's trailer-boating readers. Another result of that test was that I developed this tire-shopping checklist with input from Goodyear’s technical staff. It will help you find the tire that provides the optimum balance of features to best meet your boat towing needs.

Tow-Vehicle Tire Tips

Terrain
No matter where you tow your boat, all-terrain (AT) is the name of the game. Look for AT tires claiming "on- and off-road" performance, estimating 80 percent highway use and 20 percent off-road use. They'll be tough and capable enough for hard-pack access roads and ramps that consist of sloping banks, but they'll have quiet, smooth manners for driving the kids to school.

Tow-Vehicle Tire Tips

Ratings
Check your tow vehicle's recommended tire size and towing capacity, and then review the tires that stay within those recommendations. Make sure the tire is rated "LT" for light truck. Goodyear's new WATA tire is available in 20 LT sizes, and a pro-grade version features E load range, the equivalent of 10-ply.

Tow-Vehicle Tire Tips

Construction
Tow vehicle tires must be tough and enhance mileage. The Goodyear WATA features two layers of Kevlar belts below the tread and above the steel belts, which have 30 percent more steel than other tires' belts. Kevlar means less weight and improved fuel efficiency.

Tow-Vehicle Tire Tips

Tread
A plain Jane, five-rib tread pattern is not going to give you traction when submerged on a boat ramp. Is the tread too hard? Then it's also too slippery. For towing and launching in a variety of sloppy and off-road conditions, look for an open tread pattern with open shoulder blocks and traction ridges, like the WATA's.

Tow-Vehicle Tire Tips

Wet/Off-Road Traction
A good all-terrain tire with an open tread pattern, open shoulder blocks, traction ridges and a good rubber compound will have biting edges as well as the ability to self-clean.

Tow-Vehicle Tire Tips

Tread-Life Warranty
Warranties aren't everything, but a savvy shopper will appreciate a good one for tread life. Goodyear offers a 60,000-mile tread-life limited warranty, which is 20 percent longer than the warranties it offers with other Wrangler tires. Not bad.