Car wheel that will match 12" boat trailer wheel?

I've got 4.80X12" tires on a 4 bolt wheel for my FS. Both the tires and wheels have seen better days. Will a 13" used car wheel fit this trailer? I would like to replace with alloy wheels, hoping that they will corrode less!

Also, new wheels and tires in the same size cost around $100, and I'm wondering if the tires are strong enough. I can buy 4 discount 13" car tires for under $100, and would guess that they have a higher weight, traction, tread wear, and stability factors over the standard trailer tires.

Will all 4 bolt trailer and car wheels fit the same? What should I be looking out for? My trailer tires are inflated to 60psi, typical car tires ~ 30psi. It that an issue?

Thanks for your thoughts!

There's some interesting information about trailer tires at Try this url:

Basically you should use trailer tires on trailers.

Greg Bennett
Flying Scot 1087

Thanks Greg!

Good link to Champion Trailers too. I've heard good things about them. It seems that there are advantages to using trailer tires. Also some disadvantages, in that they are not holding up as well and do not have the rating systems of car tires for durability. Still, seems important to have the sidewall stiffnes necessary to prevent swaying.

I was hoping there were some folks who had good experiences with modifying to car wheels and tires.

Eric FS 2552

quote:Originally posted by glbennett
There's some interesting information about trailer tires at Try this url:

Basically you should use trailer tires on trailers.

Greg Bennett
Flying Scot 1087

I got my trailer wheels/tires from NorthernTools (internet order). I got the 12" 4-Hole Galvanized Wheel & Tire (item # 12162) if I recall correctly. They go for $42.99 each currently plus $24.01 shipping for two. You might find them in a local NorthernTools store as well. Unfortunately when I looked they did not have two of the same galvanized wheels. When picking them from the store do make sure they are exactly the same. The tires that I replaced when I got the trailer where 1/2" different in height which one doesn't notice just looking at it but that difference killed a bearing. I got three wheels, one spare that I attached to the trailer. Also I went crazy and got the tires balanced at a local shop for $5 each. They performe quite well on interstate speeds.

Claus FS5074 Ames, IA |

As someone who's owned and operated quite a number of single and tandem axle trailers for utility, boat, cargo, and car I can tell you that you would be fine using automotive tires for a Flying Scot. The two big considerations are weight and wear. A car tire is built to handle 1.5 tons of weight for a minimum of 40k miles. A FS/trailer combo isn't even near that. Therefore, weight and wear will be of a magnitude better. The thing to remember is to keep the tires the same... either two radials or two bias ply. Keep the pressure reasonable... I use 28-30psi. Keep your bears clean and always lubed... I use bearing buddies on all my trailers (currently number 5). When you are not using your trailer, especially during the winter storage time, take the load off the wheels. Jack and block the entire trailer clear of the ground. That way, even if you have a slow leak, the weight of the boat would ruin/crack the sidewall.

One good trick when trailering is to check the tire temp. If after an hour on the highway the tire is hot to the touch, you need more tire pressure. The heat is caused by the flexing of the sidewall as well as the friction from the asphalt. Heat breaks down rubber so you want an easily spun wheel assembly. Bad bearings will also help heat the tire up so feel the axle hub. If the tires warm but the hub is hot, you are looking at bearing failure.

Finally, and here's where most wheel/bearing assemblies get ruined, after trailering a distance down the road you arrive at your destination. As soon as possible, you back down the ramp and launch the boat, parking the trailer somewhere not to distant. The warm axle hub/bearing assembly gets a quick cool bath in the process. Any air pockets in and around the bearings contract from the cold pulling the fresh, or even worse, salt water, into your high carbon bearing race. There it will sit until you reload the boat and take off for home. Bottom line you get pit corrosion on the bearings which accelerates the wear. Someday the baring seizes and your SOL. The cure is simple, use a positive pressure bearing lubrication system... I use the spring loaded "Bearing Buddies" but there are a lot of brands out there. Second, use fresh water to wash your trailer down, especially if like me you do the majority of your sailing in salt water. Finally, Re-grease your axles before storing at the end of the season... not the beginning. Old grease contains contaminants that accelerate corrosion and that’s bad.

Good luck.


Good Luck.

Re: Bearing Buddies

Or simply don't back the trailer so far that the bearings are in the water. So far I never had to immerse the trailer hub for launching and retrieving with the aluminum trailer.

Claus FS5074 Ames, IA

Not immersing your hubs is a big help to the longivity of your bearings BUT keeping them FULL of grease is much better. Use bearing buddies and flush with fresh water. The cooling of warm/hot axles in a humid environment will pull condensation into the bearings and accerate corrosion. the ramps I use most often are fairly gently sloped which means I have to back down quite a way to float the boat. I like my hulls racer smooth and fair. To help keep them that way, I don't drag my hulls on the carpeted bed supports as that's a good way to scratch the hulls from sand/grit/road grime trapped in the carpeting material.


Thanks for adding some substance to this old thread! Since posting this a year ago I had heard that I need to be careful to get old rear wheel drive wheel, which are more likely to have a hub in the center of the wheel, instead of on the outside of the wheel. This affects wear on the hub apparently since pressure is not evenly distributed between the inner and outer bearings.

I agree that it makes sense to use auto tires which are stronger and cheaper. Your experience of using auto wheels is reassuring. What type of wheel did you pick to use on your trailer? I was hoping that someone would say that'1994 Toyota Corolla wheels work perfectly on 4 bolt Scot trailers'. Guess I was dreaming that something like that would work out! Thanks for keeping the discussion alive.

By the way, I haven't done anything yet. My tires are old, but I hauled the Scot up to the Yacht Club, and am planning on keeping it there for the time being. Some day I'll decide to haul it to Catawba or Traverse or some lake in-between. When I do, I'll feel more comfortable with new rubber.