Saturday, May 27, 2023


RV Mods – Got a spare, there?

Here’s an RV modification for the travel trailer and smaller motorhome set. It’s an “If you ain’t got it, you need it” mod. When we bought our mid-20-foot range travel trailer, it didn’t take us long to scratch our heads: “Where’s the spare tire?” It was an apt question, because in the years that we had that rig, due to an originally unbeknownst misaligned axle, we needed more than a couple of whacks with a spare tire.

Two square U-bolts hold this non-folding carrier on the 4″ square tube bumper.

Do you have a spare tire carrier on your rig? No, we’re not talking about behemoth Class A units where not only do you need a spare tire, you need the likes of Samson to ride along in your basement storage to lift and fit the spare. We’re talking about a rig that uses, say, a 15- or 16-inch tire. If your rig is equipped with the typical 4-inch square tube rear bumper, then acquiring and installing this important mod is quick, inexpensive and relatively easy.

Generally there are a couple of different styles of these spare mounts, either of which should run you about $50 or so. There’s a straight-up, “non-folding” carrier that mounts to the bumper and just sits there with a spare tire on it, while its folding cousin does the same job but allows you to “fold down” the spare tire. The latter is your choice if you have a storage compartment in the rear of your rig that would be blocked by the spare tire. Just fold the unit down, access your storage, then lift (with a slight grunt) the tire back up into normal position. Here’s a link to a carrier on Amazon similar to the one pictured.

Your new carrier should arrive with “easy instructions.” They are usually easier to assemble than the “bicycle in a box” purchased for a Christmas present that you spent four hours trying to assemble a few years back. Once assembled, the unit mounts to the square tube of the bumper with square U-bolts. Make sure they’re included in your purchase. Ours weren’t, and we spent some grumpy time touring hardware stores until we found the necessary bolts.

Locating the carrier position on the bumper is largely a matter of taste. Sticking it in the middle of the bumper seemed to us like the symmetrical thing to do, until it dawned on us that we had competition for the space. Dead in the center of the bumper was where we needed to mount a hold-down bracket for our wind turbine tower, so we had to adjust the tire location out to the edge. Just make sure the spare doesn’t block tail lights or license plates. Two nuts hold the spare to the carrier. Be sure to torque them firmly, but don’t overdue it lest you tear up the threads.

Expect to spend a half-hour to an hour completing the installation. Mount the appropriately fitted spare tire on rim to your new mount, toss a tire cover over it and relax. You’re ready to attend the next blowout!

Photos: R&T De Maris


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1 month ago

As a young family, we owned two camping trailers and two tow vehicles in the 80’s and 90’s. As it turned out, the five lug wheel bolt circle pattern of the the trailers and cars matched each other. In those years of travel we used that spare carried in our car on our trailer three or four times. We had a bike rack on the hose carrying bumpers of our trailers. And one I had had to add gussets because the weight and leverage of the bikes was tearing it from the frame. Doubtful that ability still exists today given automobiles now being of metric sizes.

Neal Davis
1 month ago

You are right, our 36′ DP has no spare and, if it did, then it would take a forklift to move it close enough to mount if we got a flat. However, when traveling to Alaska in 2019, we lashed a spare tire to the roof of our towed Jeep. We plan to do it again for our next trip to Alaska.

TJ Miller
1 month ago

Mine came with a spare tire: the same 33″(-ish) Goodyear A/T tire that I have on the axles…

I think it’ll even fit on my truck; I’m going to have to measure that; it would be cool to have two spares.

Steve H
1 month ago

In addition to the spare tire, I have a tire plug kit, a can of Fix-a-Flat, and a 12v compressor. On our trip to Alaska, I used the can in Haines, the plug kit and compressor in Seward and on the Top-of-the-World highway, and bought a new trailer spare in Palmer and new rear truck tires in Whitehorse. It definitely helped to be prepared on that trip!

Jim Johnson
1 month ago

Two points:

First, make sure you have a lug nut wrench able to remove the spare from the suggested carrier. I found that the spare lug bolt that came with the carrier was too long for the socket on my lug wrench. As my lug wrench has interchangeable sockets, the fix was easy… buy a long-reach socket; not so simple when you need to unmount your spare tire on the side of the road.

Second, if you are going to put much of any weight on those 4″ square tube “bumpers”, you really might want to think about reinforcing the tube. They have a tendency to rip where they are welded to the frame. Here is the reinforcement kit I installed. If you aren’t the mechanical type, get help, but reinforce the tube. You won’t be sorry.

1 month ago

Before mounting one of these on the bumper, make sure the bumper can support the extra load. Not just the weight of the tire, but the extra force applied with the tire and wheel protruding out from the bumper, especially when bouncing down the road.
It’s like carrying a 50 lb bag. Close to your body is not a problem. Extending your arms even a foot increases the load on your body. The bumper is probably only 16 gauge sheet metal. It’s not designed to carry weight or impact. It’s there to store the stinky slinky.

1 month ago

I installed an under-the-trailer mount on our last TT and plan to do the same on our newly purchased TT. I did this more for the reason of freeing up room for a bike rack that is locked on along with the bikes. I was actually surprised at how easy the under-mount rack was to pull out to remove the tire when needed.

Primo Rudy's Roadhouse
1 month ago

A 16 inch tire is pretty heavy. Bouncing up and down going down the road. Are your bumper and bumper mounts robust enough to handle the added stress without cracking. I worry about the threads being torn up if the nut is over torqued.

1 month ago

I’d suggest putting a lock of some sort on a spare stowed on the back bumper. Considering that many times your trailer is backed into a woodsy site at a lot of campgrounds, you’re giving many the opportunity to steal it under cover. We believe ours was stolen this way. Our new trailer came with the spare stowed under the trailer toward the front. Might be a little tough to get out, but that’s the point.

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