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Around the Campfire: Would you change your RV’s flat tire yourself?

A late arrival to the campfire explained that this RVer didn’t intend to pull into the campground after nine in the evening. He arrived late because he had a flat tire on his travel trailer. After waiting three hours for road assistance to show up, he finally changed the tire himself. I wondered what other RVers would do in this situation, so I posed the question to everyone else sitting around the fire: If your RV got a flat tire while traveling, would you try changing it yourself or would you call roadside assistance?

Motorhome has no spare tire

George smirked: “It’d be difficult for me to change my diesel pusher’s tire because I don’t have a spare! And even if I did, that tire’d be too heavy for me to maneuver anyway.” He explained that a tire for his rig weighed more than 100 pounds. Never having owned a motorhome, I had no idea that some didn’t carry a spare. It makes sense.

Fifth-wheel worries

Marla owns a fifth-wheel RV and has changed a flat two different times during her travels. “Mine is one of the smallest fifth-wheels you can buy, and I wanted it for this very reason. If I couldn’t service it myself, I wouldn’t have purchased it in the first place.” This means Marla needs to take along all of the necessary tools, a jack, and of course the spare tire. “Everything’s with me all the time since I’m full-time on the road,” she explained.

Tim, on the other hand, has a very large fifth-wheel toy-hauler. “Change a flat tire on that behemoth?! No way!”

Travel trailer trouble

“Change my own flat? Well, that’d depend on several factors: the terrain, width of the shoulder, time of day/night, and more,” Troy responded.

Our late-comer lamented, “Our owner’s manual said: ‘Do not attempt to change a flat tire on your RV. Should one occur, call a road hazard company.’” Several folks felt this was simply “lawyer-speak,” to protect the manufacturer should someone get injured while changing a flat.

Tips for changing an RV flat tire

With so many different RV configurations, it’s impossible to provide universal directions for changing an RV tire. If you want detailed information for your particular rig, you should consult your owner’s manual. That said, there are general safety tips that apply to all RVers.

  • Flashers and reduce speed. When your tire pressure monitoring system indicates a problem, or when you suspect tire trouble, put on your emergency flashers and slow down. Note: If you don’t have a TPMS, seriously consider purchasing one. For us, it’s a necessary safety feature.
  • Stop away from traffic. If possible, move to a safe place, well off the highway. Do not drive on a flat tire. Not only can it potentially ruin the tire, but it may also damage the wheel.
  • Caution cones. Set up your safety cones, triangles, or flares to alert other drivers. (Keep these in your RV at all times.)
  • Call for assistance. If there is significant, high-speed traffic on the roadway, reduced visibility, soft shoulders, or any other hindrance that makes you feel uncomfortable about changing your own tire, call roadside assistance.

Note: When our truck got a flat tire, we contacted the Missouri Highway Patrol. We were traveling on a very busy, high-speed interstate highway. The shoulder was not wide enough for us to pull completely off the road and the flat tire was (of course) on the highway side of the truck. We explained our situation to the patrol’s contact person, and she sent an officer out. He positioned his car so that traffic had to move over, giving us enough space to successfully change the tire.

Have you ever changed a flat tire on your RV? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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Tina
25 days ago

No! Would never change it our selves! Know nothing about “torking” the lug nuts! Besides tires are way too heavy for me to handle!

Tom Fletcher
1 month ago

I used to carry one of the “ramp” type ez jacks, but the first time I had a flat on my 5th wheel I found that it didn’t raise the axle enough to get the spare tire on. Since then I carry a 10 ton bottle jack.

I once had a flat on the interstate, highway side, and found people just don’t move over like they should. With every passing truck my trailer would rock while I was changing the tire. Finally my wife stood a ways behind the trailer and began waving people to move over. Her antics and much cussing was kind of distracting….

Chas Pearson
1 month ago

Have small (22′) motorhome, Rialta, routinely change my tires for seasonal needs.
Have a floor jack, ramps, jack stands and several 2×8 wood blocks of various lengths in garage.
Most important is to change out the scissors jack that came with the rig and replace it with a “low-profile” 12 ton hydraulic jack (harbor freight), makes lifting the rig MUCH easier,
Have changed ONE tire on the road in over 200K miles of travel, with the low profile jack, was a piece of cake.

JAMES
1 month ago

At 70 years old and a 30′ class C I will have to call for assistance. In my younger days I would change it myself. I’m not as strong as before.

Last edited 1 month ago by JAMES
Ace
1 month ago

Yes, I will change it; I did a change-out last summer on my travel trailer. Were a long ways from any town and I had it changed in about 15 minutes. I keep a scissors jack, breaker bar and socket, a good spare, a plug kit and a small compressor that goes to 100 psi and runs on 20V battery, AC or DC.
After reading about road service, the problems and long wait periods; I was very happy that I was up and running in a short time.

Neal Davis
1 month ago

Roadside assistance every time.

Wes Aldridge
1 month ago

I have changed our rear inner tire on our class a motor home( it seems that it’s always the inner tire that blows) It has air hook up off the air brake system it’s simple. I also have a Roadmaster spare tire holder.

Tom
1 month ago

We have everything needed to change a tire, including a 1-800 number.
You might check out the RV spare tire for age. Having a flat spare tire is not much good.

Gail
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom

Excellent advice! Thanks, Tom.

Dennis G
1 month ago

We are lucky in that our 30’ class A has the smaller 19.5 wheels. They weight in around 100 pounds. Had an inner dual deflate and pop it’s bead seat.
Drove slowly for 3 miles to a level paved spot. Used our 20ton bottle jack, 36” breaker bar and lug stand to remove the wheels. Installed our spare and away we went in under 45 minutes. Made me get to our destination only an hour later than planned.

Suru
1 month ago

We had a flat on our 5th wheel on the 5 Freeway going through Fresno, CA on a Sunday afternoon. The traffic was whizzing by at 75 mph. Of course, the flat was on the highway side. My husband was recovering from a broken back and was in a brace and I wouldn’t let him change it. I was too scared about getting run over to change it myself. I called AAA but found out we didn’t have RV coverage. I found a local garage who would send someone out. I was very nervous about the traffic, but they showed up in the tow truck with lights blinking and set up flares so people had to slow down. They used an Anderson leveler on one tire which raised the flat one off the ground. No jack needed. With power tools they had it changed in less than 5 minutes. $175.00 later we were on our way. When we got home, we had to fix all the electrical and plumbing that the flat took out on the underside of the trailer, but at least no one was hurt. I now have AAA RV coverage and a set of road flares.

cee
1 month ago

I carry a spare and will trust Coach-Net to change my tire.

Bruce
1 month ago
Reply to  cee

My Class C RV came with no tire changing tools, or a spare tire, so I resigned myself to purchase a Road Service Plan. Coach-Net was recommended. I ended up getting a flat tire on my older Lexus SUV and cars were covered. I was less than 2 miles from my home, which is in a rather large town/city, I decided let’s give Coach-Net a call, since it was getting dark. The man there said he would get help to me. About 20 minutes later, I got a call back and the man told me, “I can’t find anybody available, do you want me to keep trying” I told him YES. So, for about an hour an a half he kept calling me back and saying he couldn’t get anyone, but would keep trying. Waited another half hour and gave it up and changed it myself with a dim flashlight in my mouth. The next day, since I didn’t get a call to explain, or an apology, I cancelled my Coach-Net plan and signed up with Good Sam. Read below they let some people down. So, I guess we road warriors can’t rely on anyone. AAA?

cee
1 month ago
Reply to  Bruce

I can change a tire on my car but wouldn’t attempt to on my motor home. I didn’t see any comments below where folks had a bad experience with Coach-Net except for you. Sorry they let you down. If I need Coach-Net I hope they respond; if they don’t I’ll figure it out.

Wayne C
1 month ago

One of the bullet points says “ Do not drive on a flat tire. Not only can it potentially ruin the tire, but it may also damage the wheel.” In order to get to a safe place and out of traffic keep going slowly. The tire and wheel are expendable. If a rig is stopped hanging out in the road the entire vehicle may be destroyed by passing traffic.

don
1 month ago

As I was getting ready to leave the campground after a weekend outing, I found the inner dual tire on my motorhome was flat. I told the office I’d need a late departure and asked me to call my road service provider so I did. I was told it would be an hour and half before they could get someone to help me. I got out my lawn chair to wait. I soon got fidgety and took figured I give them a head start by removing the wheel liner. With off, I figured it would help to get the tire off the ground so I used the leveling jacks to raise it up. I still had a long wait ahead of me. I carry a Ryobi 18v 1/2in impact wrench which is strong enough to loosen the lugs. One thing led to another and I soon had the flat tire off and one the ground. The reason it was flat was the stainless steel mesh wrapped Wheelmaster valve extension had failed. I must have driven to the campground with the tire flat as the tire was loose on the rim and wouldn’t take take air. I carry a small air compressor but w

Dr4Film
1 month ago

That’s exactly why I carry the Coach-Net Emergency Roadside Service card in my wallet and mobile phone. They are a simple phone call away!

Last edited 1 month ago by Dr4Film
Teresa Simons
1 month ago

I have Good Sam and use them for tire changes but after having 3 blowouts on year old China bombs on the same trip, I went to USA made tires and follow the 5 year rule and have been ok. I will still keep Good Sam roadside service just in case.

sally
1 month ago

Husband changed a flat on 36 ft 5th wheel along side the interstate, on the busy highway side (of course) Called the Mo State Highway Patrol for assistance in getting traffic to move over…which was very helpful. Remember to call using *55 and not 911.
We carry all needed equipment for tire change on the truck and the trailer.

Rick Rund
1 month ago

I would be willing to change my own if needed. I am 76 but can still do it.
I have a previous comment of a blown tire on our Honda, called Good Sam but they never showed up.
I just need to purchase a suitable bottle jack to carry in our 5th wheel. Already have the breaker bar and torque wrench.

Donald N Wright
1 month ago

Changing a tire on my dual axle Airstream should not be a problem. getting the spare tire out of the cradle under the Airstream will be the problem. I wish there was a “hands on” boot camp for that.

Gary Reed
1 month ago

I ‘m 79 and carry a spare tire, jack, blocking, impact wrench, breaker bar if needed to change tire on our 30 foot Eagle TT. When new it came with Chinese bin tires and I had my share of changing those new tires. None running Good Year brand. I’m not going to sit on the road side for an average of 1.5 hours waiting for road service.
And we have road service as well.

Matt Colie
1 month ago

This is kind of an unfair question. Our classic (old small) class A has wheels and tires that are the same as might be on a heavy pickup truck. They are 225-R75-16 LRE. Even at my age, I can still manage them and we do carry a spare. If they were as large and heavy as many other motorhome’s, this would not be a possibility. We do have two different road services available.

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