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Ask Dave: Should I carry a spare tire for my Class C, and is the added weight worth it?

Dear Dave,
How do you change the inside tire of a dually? I carry a spare, but is the added weight worth it if I can’t change the tire? What about the jack you have to carry? I have a Class C. Are those tire warranties from third party companies (think: Good Sam) worth it? —Jeffrey

Dear Jeffrey,
Typically, rear dual tires on a motorhome have extra long lug bolts that go from the hub through both the inside and outside dual. To change it, you need to properly and safely get the wheels off the ground and remove the lug nuts. Once you do this, both tires and rims should come off.

There has been much debate over the years about whether you should carry a spare or not. Some RV manufacturers don’t even offer a spare tire! Plus, do you really want to change the tire yourself on the side of a road?

Consider the weight of a spare tire

The typical Class A 22.5” tire weighs about 80-90 lbs. with another 50 lbs. for the Alcoa rim. Your tire could be a 16” or even 18″ and could weigh up to 100 lbs., so you have to decide if you can lift that into a storage compartment or onto the back bumper rack, which many Class C units have.

Plus, the inside dual and front tires will have a reverse rim from the outside dual so you would have to carry two different spare tires. Most RVers that do carry a spare will match the front tire configuration as you can typically “limp” a blown or flat rear tire to a tire center if the other tire is in good shape.

Consider the size of a spare tire and tools needed

You need to consider the size of the tire wrench and force needed to break the lug nuts loose on such a rim.

As for the jack, it depends on the chassis weight that your Class C is rated at and what you have put on additionally. The larger Class C chassis is rated at a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 14,500 lbs. You won’t need a jack that can handle the entire weight. However, the rear axle Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) is 9,500 lbs., so there could be more than 4,000 lbs. on one rear dual position. The jack needs to be large enough to handle that much weight. If you do decide to change the tire yourself, make sure you consult your owner’s manual for the proper location of a jack and the safe procedure to do so.

For me, I do like to carry a spare that would fit the front tire position. However, I do not intend to change it myself on the side of the road, but rather have roadside assistance from CoachNet. I have worked with CoachNet for more than 30 years and have been very satisfied. I carry a spare as I want to make sure I have the correct tire for the technician— especially in the middle of the night. They can even switch the tire on a rim that is in a different configuration such as the outside dual.

Let’s see what others have done over the years. Please leave a comment sharing your experiences.

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

Read more from Dave here

Related:
RV Tire Safety: Are you sure you can change a flat tire? (from Roger Marble)

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Lynn C
6 months ago

For those that do carry a spare, where do you store it. I was thinking about carrying an unmounted tire but not sure where to store due to weight. I have room in the rear storage but concerned about the extra weight since I have a longer tail end behind the rear tires.

Vanessa Simmons
6 months ago

I can and have changed tires on cars and taught both my sons to do it when they started driving. But I can afford road side assistance and let them do it on the car, TV and TT. I carry a full size spare for everything…no donuts for me.

Dennis G.
6 months ago

We have a less common 8R19.5 tire, and we do carry a 90-100 pound spare tire and wheel. I have had an inner dual lose air pressure and have the tire pop off of the bead, so it could not be inflated. Had to use our spare, drove home 120 miles and had the tire remounted.
In my opinion, the spare was a life saver and time saver for us, that day.

Roger Marble
6 months ago

You need to know if your tire size is common (most dealers have that size and LR.) or un-common and might take days to find one. If un-common and you have a storage place large enough, you might consider just carrying an unmounted tire. Saves a lot of weight and if you tell the service truck they can plan on changing on the roadside. You can pack a lot of “stuff” on the center of a tire. Try calling tire stores to learn if your tire is common or not.

Believe it or not but Dave and I did not plan on both writing on a similar topic of tire problems. Check out my comment on changing tires under RV Tire Safety.

Last edited 6 months ago by Roger Marble
Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
6 months ago
Reply to  Roger Marble

Hi, Roger. Yep, I was the only one that noticed what happened when you had to change out your post at the last minute. But that’s why I linked your article at the bottom of Dave’s, so readers could get even more information about spare tires. I just love coincidences! Have a great day! 😀 –Diane

Pat King
6 months ago

We had a flat on the outside Dually of our 25 foot class a. We had stopped at a loves station with tire repair next-door, however they did not have the 16 inch rim tire but were happy to put the spare on for us free of charge!

Thomas D
6 months ago
Reply to  Pat King

Outside dually flat. Impossible! I think it’s a law that only the inside goes flat. Never had an outside go flat, and I’ve had my share.

TexasScout
6 months ago
Reply to  Thomas D

I had an outside blowout on a bobtail logging and perforating truck many years ago. It was loud and scared the **** out of me.

Terry
6 months ago

I found some miss information in the answer. First front and rear tires use the same wheel and are interchangeable with each other, One spare fits both. I believe you should carry a spare in case of a emergency not so you can change your own tire but so when you do have a flat you can get a service truck to change it. To have to get someone to come out and remove the tire and wheel and go find someplace that will replace the tire and then come put it back on maybe taking a full day is a lot harder than just having a spare installed. Obviously Dave is not very knowledgeable about tires.

Sailor Bill
6 months ago
Reply to  Terry

I’m with you Terry. The spare I carry for my Class C fits either the front or rear wheel positions (inner or outer rear dual). Plus my tire size is not that common (205/75R16C). Like you I would have a service truck change it for me.

Bob p
6 months ago
Reply to  Terry

Ditto, I caught the misinformation about the outside rim and inside rim being different, they are exactly the same, they are just reversed from their mounting configuration. But the info about carrying a spare tire is correct as road service can dismount a flat and mount a new tire in minutes, but finding your size especially a 19.5” in the tread pattern may be difficult. Many lowboy trailers use 19.5” rims but you don’t want a trailer tire on your motorhome.

TexasScout
6 months ago
Reply to  Terry

Yes, these tires are not “rotation specific” like some high performance tires are. The “dually” rim will fit all positions.

Greg S
6 months ago

Read your road service agreement carefully. We full time in a class A diesel pusher and blew an outside dual on Friday before Memorial Day weekend.
Called road service. Rather than find a tire and send someone to change it, they informed me that they would have me towed to a tire store where I could get the tire changed the following Tuesday.
Makes no sense to me. $90 service call to change a tire or $$$ for a tow truck hook up plus $$$ mileage charge for the tow, and they would still have to pay the tire store for labor. And they would have to tow with the blown tire on the ground.
Did I mention the inconvenience of boondocking in a tire store parking lot over a long holiday weekend?

Ron T.
6 months ago

I could be wrong, but I believe my Class C has six identical rims, seven including the spare. The outside duals are just reversed. In fact when I checked tread wear last fall I noted the outside duals showed more wear than the other four indicating to me that they had been on the front at one time. The RV was a rental previously and that was probably their standard operating procedure to maximize tire life.

Bill
6 months ago
Reply to  Ron T.

Most non-class A are set up the same way as yours. No need for 2 spares and usually a small 3 ton bottle jack placed per vehicle manufacturer instructions will do the lifting trick. As for getting the lug nuts off – better practice this at least once before you have to do it for real.

Dan
6 months ago

We have a spare tire and a jack and I couldn’t begin to guess how many tires I’ve changed on the road, in my driveway, and while working. Best thing I carry when we travel is a little gold card that has AAA on it. Haven’t needed it yet in the RV, knock on wood, but it is so worth it

PDN
6 months ago
Reply to  Dan

Be cautious. I had a flat in MA (I live there). Called AAA. I was told by a supervisor that they do not change tires in the state. I had a gold card too.

Bob p
6 months ago
Reply to  Dan

If you’re over 50 and out of shape you’re better off to let someone else change your tire, not only is it unsafe to put a bottle jack under your axel on the side of the road with all the wind from passing trucks shaking your RV with every one that passes, but unless you have a stable base for it to rest on you have to get it perfectly perpendicular. There’s a world of difference changing a tire in your driveway and sitting on the shoulder of the road.

Kasey
6 months ago

We have a spare on our class C and it has definitely saved us time. No intention to ever change tires on it ourselves, though. We had a flat once on one of our rear outer tires, of course on a holiday weekend. Good Sam roadside dispatched a tech that came and changed it, took about an hour out of our schedule and off we went. Had we not had that spare, it would have been much longer to obtain and mount the tire and we likely would have had to scrap the remainder of our trip plans. I was really happy to have the spare on hand to just change and go!

John M
6 months ago
Reply to  Kasey

I have no place to carry a spare tire even without the rim. None of my compartment are big enough. I would probably have them take one dual off and put on the front if it was the flat tire. then drive really slow to the next town to get a new tire.

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