When heading out on the road, rule #1 is to be prepared for the worst. Unfortunately, things happen, and we need to make sure we have some basic maintenance skills if we’re travelling in an RV. This week, we’re going to show you how to change an RV tire, which can be a little intimidating compared to a car. Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through it step-by-step so you’re prepared next time disaster strikes. Read on!
First, know the signs of tire damage
It’s important to know the early signs of tire damage so you can avoid a roadside blowout altogether. Here are some easy-to-spot signs:
Tread – The tread on your tires shouldn’t be less than 4-5mm deep (half the diameter of a penny).
Cracks or Bubbling – Cracks or warped sections of tire should signal immediate replacement. You have an increased risk of a blowout if you don’t.
Inflation – Check your manual for the recommended psi (pounds per square inch) and keep it as close as possible.
Sun Damage – If you’re storing your RV long term, protect your tires by covering them with cardboard or tire covers.
If you do find yourself with a blown-out tire during your trip:
1. Pull to the side of the road and put on the emergency brake.
2. RVs need two jacks compared to the one generally used on regular cars. Place one jack behind the back wheel on the side with the flat and one in front of the front tire. Before you start to jack up your rig, loosen the lug nuts so it is easy to pop them off when the tire is off the ground.
3. Give each of the jacks about three pumps, then alternate until the flat tire is completely off the ground.
4. Now we need to take the old tire off and put the new one on. Remove the lug nuts in a STAR-SHAPED pattern to distribute the stress evenly. 5. Place the lug nuts to the side, pull the flat tire off and place the new one on. Screw in at least one lug nut as much as possible to hold the tire in place. It may be difficult to screw them completely in, but don’t worry.
5. We’re now going to lower the RV in the same fashion we jacked it up, by pumping three times on each jack until the tires are touching the ground. Now tighten all the lug nuts. Be sure to grab all your tools and take the flat tire with you.
6. Your lug nuts will have a certain amount of torque as specified by the manufacturer. Too little torque and the wheel can fall off; too much and the lug nuts can snap. If you don’t know how to torque your lug nuts, bring it to a service center right away.
Some extra tips:
1. Always make sure the emergency brake is on when changing a tire.
2. Put wheel chocks between wheels still on the ground so the RV doesn’t move.
3. Never put any part of your body underneath the RV while changing a tire.
4. If possible, get roadside assistance to change your tire, especially if you don’t have proper equipment.
Hopefully you never have to change an RV tire on the side of the road, but if you do, you’re now prepared! As always, visit us at MidwestOutdoorResorts.com or call us at (800) 231-0425 and we’ll be happy to help you plan your next vacation today. Happy exploring!