Anyone who has done a significant amount of driving knows that the occasional flat tire is bound to happen, even on a travel trailer. While calling roadside assistance may seem like the obvious choice, sometimes it just makes more sense to go do it yourself. Whether you find yourself stranded in an area where help can’t reach you or you just want to avoid a long wait time, here is everything you need to know to change your travel trailer tire on your own.
The following items are what you will need to replace your RV trailer tire. Most of these items are basic RV repair and maintenance staples and should already be included in your everyday tool kit.
● Spare tire - be sure to regularly check the condition of your spare. You don’t want to change a flat with another flat! Most RV’s do not come equipped with a spare tire so, if you don’t have one, don’t get caught without!
● Tire jack and/or changing chocks - jacks are used for single axle trailers. If you have a double axle trailer, you will need a tire changing chock. Most chocks will hold up to 15,000 lbs, allowing you to keep your cargo on board.
● (OPTIONAL) Ramps - ramps are preferable to a jack because they provide increased stability, lift the RV higher and won’t sink into soft or sandy ground
● Tire or lug wrench - depending on how the tire is attached to your TT, you may need a wrench to remove it.
● Socket - if you are using a breaker bar, be sure to have a socket on hand that fits both the bar and the wheel lugs.
● Tire pressure gauge
● Portable air compressor with air chuck
● Lubrication - any light machine oil will do, such as WD-40
As soon as you notice the flat, be sure to pull over to a safe area and set your emergency brake before you change the trailer tire. If you are on the side of a busy road or highway, you may want to set out flares or signs and have a spotter.
Once you have gathered together all of your tools and equipment, use the tire or lug wrench to break the lug nuts loose. This should only take about half a turn and is much easier to do when the wheel is on the ground and can not spin freely.
For a single axle TT, jack up the flat tire so it can spin freely. For a double axle RV, you will need to drive or back up your “good tire” onto the ramp. If you need more clearance, you can add blocks under the ramp or dig out the ground from under the flat tire, if conditions allow.
Check the tires on the opposite side of the trailer, the side you will not be working on, and set the parking brake on your tow vehicle.
Remove the lug nuts from the flat tire then remove the flat tire from the hub.
Install the spare tire on the hub. It is best to lubricate the studs before you replace the lug nuts and tighten them until snug.
Reinstall the flat tire where your spare tire was and remove the jack and chocks or drive off the ramp.
Once the newly installed tire is on flat ground, torque the lug nuts until tight.
Use the tire gauge to check the air pressure in all of your tires, including the newly installed spare, and use the portable air compressor to inflate all tires to the proper PSI.
Once your tools are put away, you’re ready to get back on the road and continue your travel trailer adventure!
Prevention is a key component of RV maintenance, easily achieved with proper maintenance and regular inspections. Although flat tires are almost inevitable, you can help prevent them with a thorough check before setting out on long journeys and at the beginning and end of each season.
The first step to preventing a flat tire is to check them for damage, defects, and debris. A tire pressure gauge is crucial to ensure your travel trailer tires are inflated to the recommended PSI. If you have a single axle trailer, your tires can handle 100 percent of their load. If you have a dual axle trailer, you will want to reduce your load by 12 percent.
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