- Car Care & Maintenance
RV Tire Changing Tips
The trick to handling a flat tire situation, is to be aware, and prepared for the situation. Your first step in handling this is prevention.
Be sure to check your tires often. When you get ready to travel, whether at the beginning of your trip or after multiple days on the road. When you first get ready to leave home make sure the tires on your RV are road worthy, and are ready for your journey. Check the air pressure, and adjust so they meet your tire specifications. Also check your tires for defects, such as, weather cracks, bulges, tread separation.
Next, check your tires when you stop during your travels, it only takes a moment. Walk around your RV and visually inspect them. Do they all look alike: if one looks different that is a potential problem.
Some of the basic tools that will save you from being rescued, are as follows:
Hydraulic Bottle Jack
Star Tire Wrench
Small 12V air compressor
Bottle of Slime Tire Sealant
2 Short 2x4 boards no more than 2' long
Valve core Removal tool
Uses for Items
Hydraulic Bottle Jack-is much easier to use that most factory jacks, and will hold up better over time. You can get these jacks in different sizes, and one that will lift what ever size of RV that you have. Some hydraulic jacks also have a top that twists out to make your jack a little taller.
Star Tire Wrench-works great in most applications. Make sure to get a good quality one, some are cheaply made, and break pretty easily. If you buy a good one, you can actually put two people on it.
Plug Kit-A basic plug kit is essential. Most flat tires are from a foreign object being stuck through the tread of the tire. Like a nail, rock, screw. those type of things. The basic plug kit has a pair of pliers to get the object out of the tire. A Reamer to rough up, and make uniform the inside of the whole. Next is a rubber plug, and tool. Dip this in Rubber cement, and shove it into the hole in the tire.
Small air compressor- This is great for airing up your tire, whether to get to a tire shop, or after you have plugged your tire. It can also air up your spare in case you forgot to check that one for proper inflation.
Bottle of Slime-If you have a small puncture, or faulty tire stem, some of these smaller leaks can be temporarily repaired by putting some slim in your tire. Then as you travel the slim coats the inside of the tire, and temporarily seals the leak.
2x4 boards-These are for multiple uses. If the ground is soft, but them down as a base for your jack to sit on. If your jack is short, stack them up to raise it up a little.
Valve Core Removal Tool-This tool is used to remove the core of your valve stem. You will need to remove this when you are putting slim into your tire. Be careful when you do this as any air left in the tire will be under pressure as you remove the core, and could come flying out.
Basics of Tire Changing
When you have to change a tire, or help someone else change a tire. Be sure that first off you find a safe place to do it!
If you are on the open road, try to find a pull out that you can limp into, especially if you have to change a left hand side tire. This will have you doing your work right beside other traffic going down the highway. Even if you ruin a tire or rim, that is better than being hit by a vehicle.
Once you have found a safe place to perform your task, first set the brake on your RV, or the tow vehicle of that RV.
Next, bring out your tools. Find a good spot for your jack (best if tried at home, and practiced before you have to do it for real) if you need to put your boards down for a platform, or height, then do so. Pump the jack up to where it contacts the trailer and becomes snug. Don't lift it yet!
Then, using the star wrench loosen all of the lug nuts, or bolts. Don't take them out, but make them loose enough they turn easily with the wrench.
Lift the tire or axle with the bottle jack, till the tire clears the ground.
Take all of the lug nuts, or bolts, and remove them. Be sure not to have any body parts under the trailer, or under the tire, just it case it was to move or fall off the jack.
Remove the tire, and replace with the spare tire. Snug up all lug nuts, or bolts, as tight as possible with the wrench
Lower your hydraulic jack and remove from under your trailer, along with the boards.
Re tighten all of you lug nuts, or bolts, with the star wrench. I usually make a couple of rounds to be sure that they are all tight.
Last thing, stop at the next town and get your tire repaired. If you have a long way to go to get there, it isn't a bad idea to stop and recheck the tire to make sure that it is still tight.
Have fun on your travels. Being prepared, even if you run into troubles makes the experience all the more pleasant.
If you have troubles on the road, don't get mad or upset, as it will make the task miserable. Instead find the fun in it. You can make anything fun!! It's all part of the adventure of RV's
Enjoy your next adventure!!