Kenda Karrier Loadstar Radial Trailer Tire Review
New radial rubber for our HD hauler.
Trailer tires are definitely the unsung heroes of the tire world. They are not as glamorous as a nice road tire or as sexy as an extra-large mud terrain. But they are truly among the hardest-working tires a person can own. Trailer tires are often neglected, overlooked, abused, and overloaded. And nothing hurts worse than having a trailer tire, or two, fail while hauling a load. For that reason, it's important to stay on top of trailer tire maintenance, a big part of which is replacing your trailer's tires when they get old.
We had really good luck with the last set of tires on our heavy-duty, eight-lug car hauler trailer. We never had a flat (knock on wood), and the treadwear was fantastic. However, the tires had surpassed six years old, which is on the ragged edge of trailer tire's life span. So, it was time to replace them. We knew we wanted to retain a radial tire, and while there are several really good options in the space, for this tire change we went with Kenda's Karrier KR03 radial trailer tire.
The Kenda Karrier KR03 ST radial trailer tire is one of the best radial trailer tires on the market today. The Karrier features double steel belts and full nylon plies for heavy-duty applications and extended life. These tires are designed for improved handling in both wet and dry conditions and exceed DOT requirements for the segment.
For our trailer, we opted for the highest load rating available in the line. Sporting a 235/80R16 size with a 10-ply rating, each of the tires is capable of handling up to 3,500 pounds. At 14,000 pounds of combined load ability, the Kenda Karrier KR03 tires have a weight rating that exceeds both that of our aluminum wheels and the trailer itself, which is important for maintaining a long and happy tire life.
So far, we're quite pleased with the Kenda Karrier KR03 trailer tire. They roll smoothly down the road and have given us zero issues, which is about the most you can ask of a trailer tire. At about $140 per tire, they aren't the cheapest, but with a bit of care we should get many years of smooth and reliable service from them.
Nothing is more important to keeping a trailer on the road than proper tire maintenance. A big part of maintaining trailer tires is choosing the proper tire for the task the trailer performs and ensuring that they are replaced before they explosively expire.
While thankfully not our tires, this is a prime example of what can happen when proper tire care isn't taken. Nobody wants to be left on the side of the road when a trailer tire fails.
Trailer tires very rarely wear out in the traditional sense as most owners don't log enough miles to actually wear down the available tread. Instead, the rubber deteriorates over time from lack of use and sun exposure. Sidewall cracking is one sign that a trailer tire is getting close to needing to be replaced.
The most obvious solution, and hardest for most to grasp, is to replace a trailer's tires every three to five years, regardless of miles. To determine the age of a tire, simply look for the DOT date code stamped on the sidewall. The date code in this example is the four-digit code on the far right. All DOT-approved tires have this date code stamped on them. The first two digits are the week and the second two are the year of production. The tires that came off of our trailer then were built in the 17th week of 2014, or about the first week of May in 2014. This makes them 6 years old and ready for replacement.
For what is the third set of tires on our Carson car hauler (it came with bias-ply tires, then we added LT tires) we opted for a set of trailer-rated ST radial tires from Kenda. We mounted them to the same 16x7-inch Mickey Thompson aluminum wheels that we've had for six years.
The Karrier trailer tire is just one of dozens of specialty tires that Kenda offers in addition to the company's line of automotive truck tires. The Karrier KR03 seen here is an ST radial trailer tire. Kenda also offers Karrier branded tires in bias ply construction.
All of Kenda's trailer tires are stamped with the "Karrier" and "Loadstar" monikers. It's more important to look for the model designation, such as "KR03" when shopping as the company uses "Karrier" and "Loadstar" almost interchangeably across its line of 10 trailer tire models.
Our heavy-duty utility trailer uses the largest size of Karrier KR03 tires that Kenda offers. These 235/80R16 tires measure out to almost 31 inches tall and 9.5 inches wide.
Even within the same sizes Kenda offers the Karrier KR03 in several different ply and load ratings. For our 235/80R16 size the company offers both an eight-ply and 10-ply rating. We opted for the 10-ply rating, which brings with it an "E" load rating with a maximum load of 3,500 pounds per tire at 90 psi.
The Kenda Karrier KR03 trailer tires have a fairly robust tread pattern with deep grooves and copious siping. Though we haven't been able to test in wet weather, we're fairly confident by just looking at the tread pattern that this is a really solid tire for towing in the rain.
The ancient proverb of "one is none" doesn't ring truer than when it comes to spare trailer tires. We carry two full-size spare tires that are the same age as the tires on the road. This way if we do have a tire issue we're able to keep going about our business without angst.