Torque - Trailer tire

Joined
Aug 1, 2017
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WA
Hello to the tire people and torque experts.

I have a concern regarding my trailer tire.
Recently purchased a spare tire and wanted to try it out see if it fits properly, etc. Spare is a different brand but same size and spec.
In case you are wondering why was I testing it for a proper fit ... I just don't like surprises when or if I get a flat.

The recommended torque is 100 lbf-ft. Please see below.

I have a truck (100 lb-ft) and couple other cars (spec is 65-79 lbf-ft) and I was initially thinking 90-120 seems kind of high for a small trailer so I set my torque wrench to 70 lbf-ft.
even at 70, I felt a lot of stretching which I've never felt (as much) with either one of our cars.
So my initial feeling that the specified torque maybe too high, matched my experience.

My torque wrench is CDI and is in great shape so it's not torque wrench related.

Now I know factory wants to be on the safe side (liability?) and assuming the average person may never check the torque so maybe they over-torque it?

Just curious, is 90-120 lbs-ft normal for a small tire. I just didn't like that much stretching. Can't imagine I want to push it to 120 lb-ft.
As of now, I rather stop every 20 miles and re-check the torque than over-stretching it.
Maybe there is a good explanation and I will set it to 100. I won't be using the trailer till next summer.
Maybe I'm overthinking this but hey this is BITOG.

Additional trailer info:
- Tire size: 205/75/15
- Rim: Steel
- Stud size (5): 1/2"x20
- Torque spec: 90-120 lbf-ft
- Trailer max payload: 2300 lbs.
- Called the manufacturer and they torque it to 100 lb-ft before shipping.
- Dealer was clueless and said as long it's "tight", it's ok ... lol
that's why I called the manufacturer.
 

CKN

Joined
Oct 14, 2014
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Utah
I have towed thousands upon thousands of miles-your are over thinking it. It's anywhere to 100 to 125 ft/lbs. Don't worry-I can tell you from first hand experience they won't fall off-and you do need to check them (periodically) because tight turning in to camp spots do loosen the lugs.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2015
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Yes tighten to 100. The 1/2 inch studs can take that. Good idea to walk around with your tire iron (not necessarily a torque wrench) and check that they are still tight as part of each hook-up routine. The exact number isn't real important. They have to be quite loose before there is much danger of the wheel coming off.
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2003
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Somewhere in the US
If you feel uncomfortable with that high of torque, why not try the lower torque and see if they loosen? Yes, this has some risk, but you can minimize that risk by testing frequently.

The Test? Use the torque wrench to see if any require additional twisting after use. In this case, I would try it after an hour's worth of towing. If you find any that need tightening, use more torque.
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2008
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Central NY
The lugbolts on my car trailer have 95 stamped into them. The lugbolts on my 4x8 utility trailer also have 95 stamped into them. The new hubs with studs I bought for the other axle on my car trailer didn't recommend a toqrue spec.

Also, I hate lug bolts.
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2014
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MN
Lug torque has absolutely nothing to do with the tire size. It's a function of the lug size and wheel material, bigger lugs take more torque. Most 3/4 ton trucks on the road call for 140ft/lbs, my travel trailer wants 120ft/lbs, the lowest I've seen on a vehicle I've worked on was 80ft/lbs. Most shops just go for 100 on cars and smaller trucks and 120-140 on 3/4-1 ton trucks.

If you are getting too much stretch with less torque, it's a good sign that those lugs have been grossly overtightened in the past and could be failing. It might be worth inspecting them for a stretched section or cracks.
 

OilUzer

Thread starter
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Aug 1, 2017
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WA
Thanks everyone.

FYI:
another interesting thing I learned after buying a spare for my utility trailer is that in general, balancing is not required/recommended unless you notice any issues which is very rare in general ... Did a lot of reading and it gets somewhat technical and I can't type everything here ... But the consensus is that balance is not required.
Even the trailer manufacturer and the dealer told me the same.

after this research, I kind of remembered that I don't recall ever seeing a balancing weight on my several boat trailers that I had owned (and sold lol) over the past years ... All my boat trailers came with spare.

My conclusion:
* Do your own research *

No balance unless major issues ... then balance (pin plate adapter required with car balancing machines and most car places don't have the adapter and don't know about it so you will be wasting $) or most likely the issue could be with the trailer hub which balancing the Tire won't help and it could potentially make things even worse.
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 9, 2006
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1,461
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Grand Rapids, MI
My trailer has 1/2" lugs and I have always tightened them to 100 ft-lbs.

I prefer to get my trailer tires balanced (at least for my travel trailer) since it gets lots of miles and I don't know if I could even feel the vibration in the tow vehicle.
 

CKN

Joined
Oct 14, 2014
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Utah
My trailer has 1/2" lugs and I have always tightened them to 100 ft-lbs.

I prefer to get my trailer tires balanced (at least for my travel trailer) since it gets lots of miles and I don't know if I could even feel the vibration in the tow vehicle.
Seeing how you ball is bouncing up and down on the hitch-no you can't really feel the tires turning on the trailer.
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2003
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I'm kinda late to the party, - BUT - I recommend to all trailer users to do a "preflight" inspection. Check the tire pressures, check the torque on the wheels, and rub the circumference of the tires with a GLOVED hand to check for bulges. Do this BEFORE every major tow. Do the tow vehicle, too!
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
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Iowa
The stretching that you're feeling is probably the steel wheel wheels squeezing down. I've noticed that they tend to compress a little bit around each stud.
 

OilUzer

Thread starter
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The stretching that you're feeling is probably the steel wheel wheels squeezing down. I've noticed that they tend to compress a little bit around each stud.

good point. Cars have alloy wheels. i feel lots of stretching even at 70 lb-ft. which could be the squeeze!
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
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3,450
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British Columbia, Canada
One of my friends in Winnipeg had both his trailer wheels loosen, more than once. And that's not good.

So I'd suggest you get them "good and tight". If the recommended torque is 100 lb-ft, then I'd torque them to 100 lb-ft.
 
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