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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Two Flat Tires - One on Each Side of the RV

I have two flat tires on my RV, one on each side. How do I change tires on a travel trailer? How do I jack the trailer up to change the tire? Or is there a better way? Willie B., (Gulfport, MS)

Well a better way for me Willie, is to call one of my son-in-laws and have them do the work! But here's the next best idea...

Loosen the lugs on both wheels holding the flat tires while the trailer is on the ground. Always jack the trailer on the main frame rails only; never on the axle. As you raise the trailer, the suspension will relax and sag. Once the tires are off the ground, support the trailer on weight-appropriate (sized correctly) jack stands and remove/replace the tire assembly.

Always use safety jack stands. Do not allow the jack to maintain the weight while the coach is in the air. Chock the opposite side tires and be sure the tongue jack stays on the ground during the entire process. Change the tire on one side first, then the other side.

It’s best to use a floor jack, but a bottle jack is workable if it can be supported underneath and has enough reach to raise the tires off the ground. In some cases, you might have to use wood cribbing to build up the jack placement. It’s doable, but a hefty floor jack is better.

It's also wise to find out exactly what caused the flat tires. If there's no obvious cause (nail, faulty tire valve, etc.), a tire expert can inspect the inside of the tire casing and determine the exact cause of the failure; a little tire CSI! The main causes of tire failure are under inflation and overloading. Evidence will show if either contributed to the flats. You'll certainly want to rectify an issue if you possibly can, so as not to repeat the scenario in the future! 

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