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Changing a Flat Tire

While this may sound elementary for anyone who has ever changed a flat on their car, some things are a little different while many are the same.  Read and understand your owners manual.  Some have very specific directions for jacking your make/model trailer, so pay particular attention to those instructions.

 

The very first thing you want to do about a flat tire is done before you ever leave home.  Make sure you have the following items and carry them with you all the time when towing:

  • A spare tire (have you checked the air pressure lately?)
  • A tire iron (does it fit both the lug nuts on the rim and the nut that holds on the spare?)
  • A jack (don't assume the tow vehicle jack will work, test it).  While testing, make sure that the jack will fit under your selected lifting point with a flat tire.  Remember the lifting point may be a few inches lower.
  • Any boards you may need under the jack raise a filled tire off the ground a sufficient distance to seat it on the hub
  • Chocks
  • Emergency flares or traffic triangles

 

 OK, now you have a flat tire, the first step is to make sure you are in a safe area, sufficiently clear of any and all passing traffic.  While you may destroy the rim towing to a different location on a flat, that is much better than placing your family in danger.  Once off the roadway remember to use flares or triangles to alert oncoming traffic of your presence.

If you can't get to a safe location, use your cellular phone to call the police for assistance!

Now its time to get down to the nuts & bolts (no pun intended)

  • Assuming you are connected to the tow vehicle, make sure the tow vehicle is in "Park" and set the parking brake (OK, some of you call it the emergency brake).
  • Chock the good camper wheel.  

The object of these two steps is to secure the pop up and make sure it does not shift while you are working on it.

  • Set the jack under the main frame rail, close to where the springs (OK, suspension on some PUs) attach to the main frame rail.  Do not jack under the axle or cross rails as they are not designed to carry the full weight of the trailer on a two square inch area and can easily be damaged this way. Use any wood necessary to raise the jack.  Additionally, jacking under the axle may push the flat tire up into the wheel well, causing difficulty in removing the flat tire. 
  • Start to raise the jack until it exerts pressure under the frame, but do not fraise the tire off the ground at this point.
  • Now its time to loosen all the lug nuts on the tire to be changed.  If you raise the tire first, the tire will just spin when you attempt to do this.
  • Now jack the flat tire off the ground.  Remember, you will need more clearance when you attempt to put the inflated spare on, so you will need to jack higher than just to remove the flat.
  • Remove flat tire/replace with inflated spare tire.
  • Install lug nuts, hand tighten
  • Lower jack
  • Tighten lug nuts using the lug wrench.  Remember, most of them are meant to be tightened to over 100 Ft Lbs.

Store everything away and continue on your way.  Just remember, you should re-check the lug nuts shortly after changing a tire.  Check your owners manual for the distance, but 50 miles then again at 100 miles works for me.

 

Remember Safety First!

 

 

   Revised: February 18, 2007

 

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