You’ve packed all your essentials, booked your campsite and are ready for another fun-filled RV adventure! But then, all of a sudden, you notice that your tire pressure is not looking its best… this can only mean one thing – it’s time to change your tires. If you’ve never been in a situation where you had to change a flat RV tire (lucky you!), don’t worry. In this guide, we show you exactly how to fix a flat tire and get back on the road in no time.
When is the Right Time for RV Tire Change?
The common rule of thumb for changing RV tires is three to six years. That said, exactly how long your tires will last depends on several factors, including, of course, how often you’re on the road. If you travel often or live in your RV, your tires will probably not be able to last as long as six years. If, on the other hand, you travel only occasionally, your tires may indeed last up to six years. In whichever group you fall into though, sooner or later, changing your RV tires is inevitable.
Naturally, it’s always better to prevent a serious problem –such as getting a flat tire on the road– rather than deal with it later when you may be short on time or not fully equipped to solve it. Proper tire maintenance, as well as frequent inspections, can make a big difference in prolonging your tire life and preventing a flat when you’re traveling long distances. That’s why we suggest you examine your tires carefully every time before starting a new journey. If you notice treads, cracks, or bubbled sections on the tire, that’s the right time to replace it.
That all said, even the most diligent and careful drivers cannot always prevent a flat tire – sometimes, a sharp foreign object on the road is to blame, other times, it’s practically impossible to spot a weak patch on the tire and change it on time. Thankfully, changing a flat tire, whether on a standard car, truck or RV, is not that hard.
RV Tire-Changing Tools
For changing trailer tires like a pro, you will need some tools. Some of them are necessary, and some will only help you fix the problem more quickly and easily. You should carry these tools in your RV regularly just in case, along with a spare tire of course.
- RV tire jack; a lifting device, essential for changing your RV flat tire. Tire jacks come in various sizes and different lifting capacities, so before buying one, we suggest you explore which models are recommended for your type of RV.
- A trailer tire ramp; serves as an aid for changing a flat tire on travel trailers. Put simply, this tool can help you to change a tire without using a tire jack.
- A piece of plywood or some blocks; while not are exactly tools, these are still required to have in your RV. Use plywood to help stabilize the tire jack and to prevent it from sinking into an unstable ground like mud. Use the blocks for increasing the height of the tire ramp, if you use one.
- A pair of leather gloves; they’re required for handling hot metal.
- A lug wrench; this is one of the necessary tools because you need it for loosening the lug nuts.
- A torque wrench; another important tool to have for tightening the lugs properly.
- A socket set; this is also something you need to have in the RV always. You should have various sockets that suit the lugs on every RV wheel.
Except for these essential tools, we also recommend carrying the following additional items: a towel or a mat (to protect your knees while changing trailer tires), reflectors and a reflective vest (to keep you safe from the traffic), a flashlight, a tire inflation gauge, chocks, lubrication and a portable air compressor.
RV Tire Repair Steps
The first thing you have to do before changing trailer tires is to find a place good enough to do it. If you’re at home or in a parking point, that’s great, but if you are not, then you’ll need to find a safe place – as far from the traffic as possible. This is important for your own safety, as well as the safety of other drivers.
- After you’ve gathered all the tools you need, use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts. Half of the turn will probably be sufficient.
- In case you’re using trailer tire ramp, drive the good wheel that’s on the same side of the vehicle onto the ramp so that the flat tire can spin easily. If the flat tire can’t spin freely, add some height to the ramp by adding some blocks underneath. On the other hand, RV tire jack users will need to lift the whole side high enough to allow the flat tire to spin freely.
- After that, remove the lug nuts using the lug wrench, and remove the tire from the hub.
- Next, install the new tire onto the hub.
- Oil the studs, and then tighten the lug nuts using the torque wrench.
- Put your flat tire in the place where the spare tire was.
- Drive your vehicle off the ramp or set down the side using the tire jack.
- Once your wheels are on the ground, torque the lug nuts until they’re fixed.
One last thing you should do before you are back on the road is to check the air pressure in all of your tires. If tire pressure is adequate, you’re good to go, if not, you’ll need to fix it before driving.
Changing an RV flat tire may appear a bit difficult or complicated at times, especially for beginners. However, with just a little bit of practice (and by following our advice), you’re guaranteed to learn how to change your tires like a pro.