Why Can I Not Use My Mighty Trailer Wheels on My Car?

Trailer wheels are indeed mighty, manufactured specifically for their sole job of dealing effectively with an onset of heavy downward weight. However, because of a trailer wheel’s specialized manufacturing (even the rims are engineered differently), you can never use trailer wheels on a car. Read more about terrific trailer wheels.


So, what are the differences between trailer wheels and car wheels?

Car and truck tires and trailer tires are pretty much distant cousins to each other. In a similar way that wheels for a semi-trailer truck are designed uniquely for long-distance travel, trailer wheels and rims are designed specifically for their vertical load limits and handling of cornering forces

Looking for professionals who understand every aspect of your trailer? Contact Standard Axle in London, Ontario, at (519) 451 1116.

See some of our trailer tires here.

Understand the basic specializations of your trailer wheels; their offset, rims, weight rating, tires and sidewalls, bolt patterns, and hubs.



Offset is the distance between the wheel hub-mounting surface and its centre plane or the lateral or side-to-side position of the wheel. The width of a wheel must allow enough space to avoid rubbing or contact with other components.

To interchange the wheels of a trailer and non-trailer vehicle would mean the wheel wouldn’t sit in its correct position. Changing the offset will also affect the load on the wheel bearings which are designed for a specific offset. 

Trailer wheels have a zero offset (the mounting surface sits at the wheel’s centre plane) that facilitates optimal tread wear, which is necessary with the heavier loads of trailers.

Cars have wheels with high positive offsets. This puts the tire closer to the frame (or the wheel’s outboard side) so that it aligns properly under the fender. 

A negative offset means the hub-mounting surface sits closer to the inboard side of the wheel.



Trailer rims are manufactured from galvanized or high-quality aluminum because they are often enthusiastically exposed to dunkings in lakes. Trailer rims are often more narrow than car rims.

Boy, do we have rims, 6 pages of them, from endless bolt patterned affordable galvanized rims to our top-of-the-line aluminum black machined Americanas.


Weight rating:

Ensure your load does not exceed the weight rating of both the tire and the trailer axle. Trailer tires have a 50 psi rating.

 Trailer tires are manufactured to maximize their load capability, which means their rims may also be constructed differently to aid the wheels’ handling abilities. 

Car and truck tires are generally weight-rated for less weight than a trailer tires. In some instances where a truck tire is made with a stiffer sidewall and offers a compatible load-carrying capacity, you might be able to make them work for a trailer.


Tires and sidewalls:

We are London and the area’s busy trailer tire professionals. Here are just some of our tire products. Please call or visit us for further help with your trailer tires.

Trailer tires are manufactured differently:  

  • With very strong and stiff sidewalls, giving them a higher weight rating. 
  • With more plys in the tire to limit any sway action.
  • With extra UV inhibitors in the rubber to withstand long stints of sitting in the sun.

Car tires are built with softer sidewalls to provide a more comfortable ride and better gas mileage.


Do you need to recycle some tires? We’ve partnered with Yes Environmental Services & Solutions (YESS). Click to enter your address or postal code to find a tire recycler near you.


Bolt pattern and hub size:

Trailer hub holes and car hub holes are not interchangeable. Even if you discover a bolt pattern that is the same, the holes are made a different size, a realization that comes very late for many who observe that the hole size “looks close.”

We offer a vast array of hubs to suit the configuration you require. Here’s page one of our hubs.


Trailer wheel and rim manufacturers warn against interchanging car, truck, and trailer tires

If there is an accident, you may be liable for using rims for the wrong application. 


The cost of trailer tires is comparable to car and truck tires: 

Really, there is no great reason to want to interchange these tires, anyway.


We are London’s trailer specialists. Call any of our knowledgeable staff at (519) 451 1116 or shop here.