How to deal with flat tires

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Sweetsurrender

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Apr 14, 2019
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94
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Home is in Henderson, Nevada
After much deliberation and consideration of suggestions, tips, and advice from folks on this forum, we got our get away motorhome. It is a Class C 28 ft. Jayco. Plenty of storage for short trips, and I drove her home during high winds here in Las Vegas with no issues. Those saying it would be relatively easy were right. Thanks guys!

No flat tires yet of course, but what are the options when it happens? Can you be prepared for this unfortunate event?

Thanks. Hope to see you on the road!


 

Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
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5,858
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SW Louisiana
Personally I carry a spare on a hitch mount tire carrier, in 13,000 miles I have needed it once, thanks to a pot hole and belt separation on I-80 in middle of nowhere Nebraska, thankfully I was able to limp into a nearby small town at 20-30 mph and get to a mom and pop tire shop to get the swap done there vs doing it on the side of the highway.

Many others rely on roadside tire service offered through various roadside assistance plans for such situations, the downside is they may not have your size of tire in stock, and it may take several hours for them to arrive.
 

Larry N.

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May 26, 2010
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Westminster, Colorado
Most coaches with the larger tire sizes (especially the 22.5" rims) don't have capacity for carrying a spare, or even a rim. Besides, I'd have trouble manhandling the tire and would be unable to loosen or tighten the lug nuts, since the torque required is well beyond me. As a result we do as Isaac mentioned and have a roadside service contract, which is often a good idea even aside from tires.

I have Coach Net and though I didn't have to use it for the first few years, I've now used it four or five times in the last three years, only one being tire related (a problem with a valve extension I couldn't get to). This includes last weekend when I couldn't retract my slides -- they paid mileage and service call, I paid labor (no parts needed). But besides the paying for things, they are also helpful in finding someone to do the job (actually they find them and call them out), as well as offering troubleshooting tips, if applicable, before calling out help. They actually have techs there who know a LOT about RVs.
 

DonTom

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Apr 21, 2005
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7,104
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Auburn, CA or Reno, NV
Sweetsurrender said:
After much deliberation and consideration of suggestions, tips, and advice from folks on this forum, we got our get away motorhome. It is a Class C 28 ft. Jayco. Plenty of storage for short trips, and I drove her home during high winds here in Las Vegas with no issues. Those saying it would be relatively easy were right. Thanks guys!

No flat tires yet of course, but what are the options when it happens? Can you be prepared for this unfortunate event?

Thanks. Hope to see you on the road!
I have had several flats over the years on my RV. I carry a spare tire, this jack,  & this impact wrench with the correct size impact socket for the lug nuts for my RV.  I have replaced several flats on the side of the road over the years. I run the impact wrench from the generator.

My TPMS shows me when there is a problem.

-Don-  Reno, NV
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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26,278
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Davison Michigan
First. look for the Michelin video about flat tires. It is on You Tube. alas I do not have a link.. I' say search on Michelin. RV Flat and you may find it (I find it by other means. plus I've seen it projects)  If you belong to FMCA you can take the AEON RV driver's course at most rallys.. They will show the video there (Where I saw it).

Now. depending on the size of your tires You can carry a spare.. I carry a 12 ton air/hydraulic jack from Harbor Freight.  I know of two tire guys use the same jack and when I had new tires put on my class A.. They used MY jack (The shop jacks were not big enough) so it's a good jack.  Tires under 20 inches you can likely change. 22.5's  Well I have changed one once for a friend. I'm 6'2" by 300 pounds. routinely lifted 250 pounds at that time and I can tell you I do NOT want to change another 22.5
 

camperAL

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Oct 24, 2011
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Indiana
Hi Sweetsurrender,

I'm wondering if you have a new rig or a used one. Reason I ask, if have a used rig, and your tires are over 7 years old, then they need replaced to prevent a blowout. Even if the tread looks good, an 8 or 9 year old tire is not safe for very long. Keeping the correct tire pressure is important for driving and preventing blowouts. Speed also plays a factor. Check your weight also as that plays a factor with tires and keep the RV balanced with weight of your items. Don't over load or go beyond the recommended capacity of your RV. If you tow, you can put some weight in the vehicle you tow to balance weight. Best and good travels!
 

RRR

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May 20, 2018
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284
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Beaverton, Oregon
John From Detroit said:
...Now. depending on the size of your tires You can carry a spare.. I carry a 12 ton air/hydraulic jack from Harbor Freight...
How much CFM is required to run the jack? I looked at it, or one like it some time ago but couldn't find any specs. I figured it is more than my pancake compressor would put out.
 

phil-t

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Jul 10, 2017
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1,414
Location
Ogdensburg, NY
Sweetsurrender said:
...............
No flat tires yet of course, but what are the options when it happens? Can you be prepared for this unfortunate event?

Thanks. Hope to see you on the road!

Only you can know if you can be prepared.  Do you have spare, and is it in good, servicable condition? Can you physically handle that spare tire, have the tools and change the tire out on the side of the road.  NOT necessarily an easy task.
Raodside assistance and carrying a spare(if you have the room) are the best options, next to a capable DIYer.
No spare, generally means a long wait, depending on where and when this unfortunate event takes place.

Safe travels to you and enjoy your new adventures.
 

phil-t

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Joined
Jul 10, 2017
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Location
Ogdensburg, NY
Northern Traveler said:
I am pretty new to this stuff, but has anyone used their hydraulic leveling jacks and a block of wood  to change a tire?
Yes!  Though not recommended.
 

Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
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SW Louisiana
Another yes, though officially it is not recommended I am sure lots of people have done it with no negative results.
 

blw2

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Aug 9, 2012
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Saint Johns, FL
Did you buy it new?  Ford chassis?

They at least used to give the original owner free roadside coverage for 5 years.  Don't know if they still do or not...  It was basic roadside, not the full feature thing you get from Coachnet etc... but it worked well for me when I had the blowout.
 

TheBar

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Jun 25, 2018
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MS
Congratulations! Good choice and I'm sure you'll have many happy years with it. Glad to hear driving in a strong wind was a non event. Pretty easy to drive isn't it?

I apparently pack lighter than most people, I just take what I realistically need. Personally I do not carry my 12 ton jack and spare except for long extended trips. For short trips the extra weight (and loss of gas mileage) isn't worth it. In 40 years I can count the number of flats I've had on one hand. Never had a flat on any newer tires, just older tires with less tread. But I buy new tires when they lose half their tread. And when I have a tire that starts losing air I have them remount the tire if they don't find a nail in it. I've never had a flat on my trailers or motorhomes maybe because of the heavier duty tires. Maybe depends on whether you are driving on good roads or bad ones. Potholes are not common in my area of the south which probably helps. I have Good Sam roadside assistance (best coverage in Mississippi) and they will come and fix it should it happen. I can and have changed my own tires on my MH's and it isn't much fun.
 
D

Dan23

Guest
Using the tips provided above, the best place to figure out a tire change is in your driveway BEFORE you are faced with the task on the road. One thing no one here has mentioned is that even with the appropriate jack, you might be pulled over on a surface too soft to jack up your unit on. Therefore, you need some SERIOUS blocking in your tool kit, and the yellow plastic blocks people use to level their RVs are not up to the job. Two-by SPF from the lumber store is not enough either; you need to find real 2-inch material of hardwood such as oak. Also, you have to be physically able to crawl under your RV to access the spare (if that's where it's stored) and strong enough to slide it out and replace the flat tire to the same location after it's changed. It is a big help to have a helper, and fortunately, some states have Road Rangers you can call for assistance. But RRs are mainly equipped to change CAR tires and will NOT have a jack that will lift an RV, nor the blocking you need. Personally, I don't trust a blacktop surface to jack against without blocking, but unbroken concrete is probably strong enough. Another thing you should have in your kit is sheets of heavy corrugated cardboard to put down to work on (keeps parts from getting lost/fouled in the dirt) and a pair of coveralls and hand cleaner so you can continue on your way afterwards without dirtying the inside of your RV. As for jacks, I use a bottle jack because it packs smaller and is easier to handle under the RV BUT you will have to have someone weld up a cover for the ram so it spreads the load out and cannot slip. Don't EVER get under get under the RV when it's jacked with the tires removed. The best way to prevent having to change a flat is to physically check your air pressure DAILY in ALL tires BEFORE leaving your campsite, In the event you find a tire low, the first thing to check is that the valve core is not loose, so you need the proper tool for that as well. Others may trust TPMS, but I think they are worthless.
 

SLOweather

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Dec 2, 2018
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340
To amplify on what Dan23 said, after you practice it once on a nice sunny warm day, do it again in the cold, at night, with someone spraying you with water. That works for learning to put snow chains on, too, since, by definition, you'll never put chains on on a nice, warm, sunny day, unless you are just practicing. 
 

Sweetsurrender

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Joined
Apr 14, 2019
Posts
94
Location
Home is in Henderson, Nevada
Thank you all very much. It appears that roadside assistance is for us, as carrying the right equipment to assure a safe change is practically impossible in our rig, but more importantly, between us we probably wont be able to muscle the tires in and out of place.

As usual, the advice received is all quite good. BLW2, you reminded me to check, and as our rig is new, we do have the Ford roadside assistance. Whew! Now just need to figure out exactly what it covers. Obviously warranty will get repairs done, but the point is getting the rig where it needs to go if something goes wrong when we are out and about.

Thank you all. Happy, safe travels!
 
D

Dan23

Guest
Final word from me is that keeping correct tire pressure is the single most important thing to keep tires from failing. There is a manufacturer placard in RVs that will tell you the correct pressure. Second would be to keep off the areas of roadways that collect hardware and rocks blown off the higher traffic areas, such as shoulders and gore areas. Third is giving tires a visual check from time to time and replace them per the manufacturer's tire life expectations, despite the cost. Don't fret over the issue; you will solve your problems as they occur.
 
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