Dear RV Shrink:
My husband has a spare tire problem and it is not just his belly. We travel part of the year with our pickup camper. It is the biggest one made and extends out over the back of our truck. We had a flat tire and he couldn’t get the spare out from under the truck. We called road service and the driver that showed up had some special ratchet tool and was able to climb under and retrieve the tire. My husband’s own spare tire won’t fit under the truck to get the spare tire out. What other options are there? Do all RVers just use road service? —Flat Out Worried in Flagstaff
Dear Flag Lady:
Good for you. Lesson learned. Thinking about a flat tire before you have one again is half the battle. Most large RVs don’t even come with a spare anymore. Mine does, but getting it from the outside storage bin on the road side, that was designed under the rear bed slide, would probably kill me – unless a truck runs me over first.
Many truck camper owners jury-rig a ratchet extension that will lower the tire with the camper still on the truck. It is often not that simple even if you have designed something ahead of time. Road grime has often clogged the gears and the tire won’t lower without a bit of profanity and hammer-pounding. To do that you usually need to get under the vehicle – which can be challenging if you have a clearance issue.
One solution is to mount a spare on the front of the truck, but often owners have already designated that area for bikes or other recreational toys. I did see a creative solution last winter. A couple had the spare rack mounted on the back in the hitch receiver. I asked them how they got in and out of the camper. They dropped the tire and rack down and it became their rear step. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Road service is a great convenience unless you are out in the middle of nowhere. The farther out you are the more expensive a service call will be. Having a backup plan is always a great idea.
You only need one spare tire, so have your husband lose his. It will add years to your RV Lifestyle. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink
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