Imagine: You’re cruising along in your RV, happy to be enjoying a day on the road, when suddenly you feel something strange… uh oh. Your camper has a flat tire.
If you pay for a roadside assistance service, you may be able to contact them for help. But what if you’re out of mobile phone range, or you simply don’t want to wait around for hours by the side of the road?
Fortunately, flat tire repair for your RV can often be a do-it-yourself job. Of course, getting a flat tire on your RV isn’t exactly the same as getting a flat on your car, but there’s no reason to let a flat deflate your fun.
Here’s how to change flat tires on your RV, step by step.
Step 1: Pack a Tire Change Kit
DIY flat tire repair is only possible when you have the right tools – so make sure to bring them with you. Pack a flat tire toolkit for RVs that includes:
- Fully inflated spare tire/s
- Lug wrench or breaker bar that fits your RV tire lug nuts
- If using a breaker bar, a socket that fits lug nuts and the bar
- Tire pressure gauge
- Portable air compressor
- Chocks and ramps
- Lubrication oil, such as WD-40
Step 2: Pull Over
When you’ve got a flat tire on your RV, the first thing to do is pull over and park your RV in a safe spot. Of course, this may be easier said than done, as you need to find a wide, long and preferably level spot to accommodate your RV.
You must also find a spot that’s away from the flow of traffic, so get off the road at the closet exit, and never stop on the highway to fix a flat. That’s when you reach out to a roadside or emergency service.
Once you’ve pulled over, turn on your hazard lights. If you’ve got warning triangles or safety cones, set them out to alert any possible oncoming traffic of your position.
Step 3: Use Ramps when Attempting a DIY Flat Tire Repair on Your RV
When changing a flat tire on an RV, it’s often better to use a ramp than a jack. Why? Because many jacks can’t lift the RV high enough, and even if they can, it’s often not safe. In contrast, ramps work well on sandy or uneven surfaces and can help keep the RV stable, even in windy conditions.
Once you’ve pulled over, loosen (but don’t remove) the lug nuts on the flat tire. Now drive the good tire, on the same side as the flat tire, onto the ramp.
Step 4: Remove the Lug Nuts
Check the tires on the other side of the RV. Make sure the bad tire can spin freely. Now you can use the wrench or breaker bar and socket to take off the lug nuts.
Remove the bad tire, and replace it with the new one. Spray each stud with a bit of lubricant oil, then put the lug nuts back in place.
Tighten them in a “star” pattern. Start by partially tightening the top nut, then partially tighten the opposite nut. Repeat on the other side of the tire, each time getting tighter. Finally, tighten them all as far as you can.
Step 5: Finish Changing the Flat
Store the flat tire away, and remove the wheel chocks from the other tires. Now you can drive slowly and carefully off the ramp, but just pull ahead a few feet.
Once the new tire can’t spin, give each lug nut a few more torques, ensuring that each nut is as tight as you can get it. Finally, pack up your tools and ramp so you leave nothing behind.
Congratulations — you’ve changed your RV’s flat tire! Now you can hit the road again.