By Russ and Tiña De Maris
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 most recent RV, a 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 few years that we’ve had that rig, due to an originally unbeknownst misaligned axle, we’ve needed more than a couple of whacks with a spare tire.
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 — just a rig that uses a, say, 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’s a couple of different styles of these spare mounts, either of which should run you about $25 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.
Your new carrier should arrive with “easy instructions,” and 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