[EXPLAINED] Can You Drive a Dual Axle Trailer With 3 Tires?

Dual-axle trailers are so popular because of their capability to carry more weight. It’s possible because the overall trailer weight gets distributed over both axles, where each axle uniquely can withstand a huge amount of weight (around 34,000 pounds). 

But things become difficult when you’re about to drive your dual-axle trailer and find one of the four tires is flat or blown out. In this case, you’ll surely think about whether you can drive the trailer with only 3 tires or not.

The fact is you can drive your dual-axle trailer with 3 tires, but it isn’t recommended at all. Take a few minutes and read the entire post to get an overall idea of this topic.

Can You Drive a Dual Axle Trailer With 3 Tires

Is It Possible to Drive a Dual Axle Trailer With 3 Tires?

The exact answer varies on several factors such as trailer weight, axle, tire, etc. But overall, the answer is yes. Now if you ask whether you should drive the trailer in this situation, the straightforward answer is no. Seems confusing, right? Let us explain: If you’re an efficient driver and the trailer weight is within its capacity, you can still drive the trailer. But obviously, you can’t totally avoid the potential risks regarding this activity.  

Potential Risks

These are the potential risks you may face while driving the trailer with 3 tiers –

  1. Stability Gets Reduced

With 3 tires, the trailer won’t be balanced perfectly and it’ll tend to fishtail or sway, especially during turns or sudden maneuvers.

  1. Weight Gets Distributed Unevenly

Without one tire, the total weight gets distributed on the remaining tires unevenly. It’ll wear the tires excessively than usual, especially that single tire. 

  1. Tires Can Blowout

The absence of a tire increases the amount of stress and strain on the tire which increases the tendency of the tire to blowout. If it happens, it’ll become nearly impossible to control the trailer at high speeds, which is pretty dangerous.

  1. Towing Vehicle Lose Control

When the trailer is imbalanced due to the missing tire, it becomes very difficult to control it. In the worst-case scenario, the trailer can tilt to a side, making the towing vehicle lose its control, and causing a severe accident.

  1. Trailer Prone to Damage

Last but not least, if you consider the aforementioned risks, you can realize each of them is likely to cause damage to the trailer at a point. So it can be said that without a tire, the trailer is always prone to damage. 

For further clarification, here’s what happens to the trailer when it’s being towed on only 3 tires along with the severity of the affection –

  • The trailer’s gross vehicle weight rate is exceeded by 25%.
  • There’s 50% stress and strain added to the axle.
  • The breaks lose over 25% breaking or stopping power.
  • The tires’ carry load is increased to 33%.
  • There’s 50% stress and strain added to the wheel bearings. 

What to Consider When Driving a Dual Axle Trailer Without a Tire?

In case you need to drive your dual-axle trailer without a tire, you must consider a few things before doing so. If you don’t, the consequences can be too severe to handle. Those are –

  • Make sure that the remaining tires in the axles are in good condition. 
  • Keep a minimal weight that’s within the trailer’s weight capacity to ensure less strain on the tires (if possible).
  • No matter whether you’re carrying a heavy-weight or low-weight trailer, it’s always better to drive slowly and carefully. This way the tires won’t face too much stress and blowout.
  • It’s highly suggested to drive on a smooth road in this case. Because the trailer is already in an imbalanced situation and if you decide to drive it on a rough road, it’ll bounce and shake the trailer and lead to lose control. 

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (FAQs)

Is it illegal to drive a trailer with three tires?

Yes, in most states it is. A trailer without a tire is inappropriate to drive as it’s more prone to cause an accident. If one drives such a trailer and causes an accident, most likely it’ll happen on the road, where other vehicles will be. That means the other vehicles will also be prone to be affected by that trailer. Being unsafe, driving a three-wheel trailer is considered illegal. 

How far apart should tires be on a dual-axle trailer?

The minimum safe distance between front and rear tires on the same side of a dual-axle trailer is typically 4 inches. This is to ensure proper suspension travel and prevent the tires from friction against each other. But remember, the exact distance between the tires varies depending on the trailer manufacturer and the type of tires used.

Final Verdict

As you’ve read this far, it should be clear to you by now that you can drive your dual-axle trailer with 3 tires, but it’ll be pretty unsafe and illegal if your state doesn’t allow you to do this. So, you must replace or repair the tire before towing the trailer. Also, ensure that all tires are properly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure and that they’re in good condition. You can prevent your trailer tires from excessive wearing if you inspect and take good care of them regularly. This way you can prevent issues while on the road and improve overall safety. If you have any more questions, feel free to knock us in the comment section.

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