Travel trailers or Recreational Vehicles are one of the most intuitively designed vehicles for people who love to live close to nature and the vehicle. For most adventure-loving people, owning travel trailers is a handy option to consider. But there are a few things you should know about RVs since it is not your average vehicle. And so, the learning curve is a little different from that of an ordinary vehicle.
Learning how to change a tire on a single axle travel trailer is one of the basic things for an RV owner. You need to learn it, and here’s why.
- You are in a place with no cellular network coverage
- You’re miles away from the nearest service center
- You’re far away from a highway where it’s not possible to request roadside assistance
Changing trailer tire is a tiring process. But that all changes today because in this article, I am going to walk you through exactly what you need to learn how to change a trailer tire and what tools you need to change a trailer tire.
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How to Change A Tire On A Travel Trailer
Travel trailers are very heavy, so you need to be careful while trying to jack it up. There are single axle trailers that are one of the lightest yet the trickiest to lift.
A few days ago, I spoke with an RV mechanic about how to change a tire on a single axle travel trailer. All you need is the best trailer tire and some tools. Here’s the list of tools you need to carry for all kinds of emergencies.
The first tool you need to lift a travel trailer is a renowned brand of the jack. Get a Torin big red bottle neck jack, and it should do just fine. It is easy to keep a jack around because most trailers have a dedicated toolbox compartment.
The average bottle jack has a height of 1 foot and weighs around 18 pounds, and has a load capacity of 20 tons (40,000 lbs).
Using a scissor jack is another alternative, although it is not the best option. Scissor jacks have a lower load capacity of about 3,300 pounds or 1500 kilos. Even though it weighs only about 6.3 pounds or roughly 3 kilos but, it is not reliable for heavy-duty.
Again, if you are at your house, using a floor jack would be the best option. It has dual hydraulic pumps for faster lifting and also reliable for heavy lifting. But that is not a great option to keep while traveling.
Stainless steel hubcaps look great on an RV. But the problem comes when you have to open it to work on your flat tire. Beauty comes with a cost, you know. So, have a hubcap remover in the toolbox at all times for situations such as – changing trailer tire.
The hubcap remover is a good tool to get your work done quickly. But you must know that aggressively plugging and unplugging a hubcap using a removal tool may damage the caps. So, use your hands to make sure they’re tapped tightly back in place.
One of the most important tools to have in your toolbox is a good lug wrench. I’ve seen most people keep a lug wrench in the tow truck. But, do bear this in mind – lug nuts on RV tires can be of different sizes, and so it is better to keep an extra lug wrench in your trailer toolbox.
Lug wrenches have a fixed casting for gripping the nuts that wear out over time. Just make sure you have an extra wrench in case you do not want to put extra pressure on the nuts and put them out of shape.
It is a good practice to check your spare tire once in a while to make sure it’s not cracked or leaked. Check the PSI on the tire to make sure it stays at the recommended level and adjust the pressure from time to time if needed.
All this should be done and ensured that you have a spare tire in the trailer. If you do not have one, make sure you buy one as soon as possible before setting out on a trip.
Piece of Wood
Picture the trailer. You’ll know that it sits on the frame and high above the ground. There’s a good chance that your jack may fall short of the height needed to levitate the trailer. And so, rather than looking for scraps of wood in the middle of nowhere, just keep what you need in the toolbox.
I have seen RV owners carry a 4×4 block of wood, some 2×4 blocks, or even a ½ inch piece of plywood just to bring it to the right height. The message here is to carry a dependable block of wood for height support. If you are worried about the block dimensions, you know the maximum attainable height of your jack and the ride height better than anyone.
No one loves a moving car when it comes to changing tires. So, what better to use than a wheel stock. Do not think that you need a wheel chock just for changing tires. It is a great tool to carry on camping. Besides, there is no other tool to stabilize a car than to use a couple of new wheel chocks.
Keep the Trailer Balanced
Outdoor trips are nice. But not as nice as having to fix a flat tire on a steep place or an uneven surface. So, before you start working on your flat tire, make sure you stabilize the trailer. Work on the tire on plain ground. In that way, you are safe from all kinds of worries.
Use wheel chocks to prevent the trailer from moving and ensure your tow truck is at level with the trailer with its parking brake activated.
Undo the Lug Nuts
Before you jack up the trailer, undo the lug nuts because it is easier to work in this way. Do not undo them all the way, or otherwise, you’ll lose control of the tire before it is jacked up. You do not want to find yourself in a position running after the tire and the nuts. That would be an amateur mistake.
Jack It Up
Jacking the trailer takes a few trials and errors to be executed perfectly. While jacking up the trailer, make sure you place the jack on the frame and not on the suspension. Placing the jack on the suspension may cause permanent damage to the trailer body, and you do not want that.
Put on the Spare Tire
After everything is set apart, put the spare tire in place of the old tire and set it carefully on the structure. You’ll feel it’s set and holding the tire, and that is the time you should use your hands to screw in the lug nuts.
Use your hands to tighten the easy bit just to set the tire firmly in its place. Finally, use the lug wrench to tighten the nuts until they are nice and snug. Use a pair of work gloves while you work on the tires to avoid getting all messy.
- If you get a flat tire while you’re on a highway or any place with commotion, make sure to park the car at a safe distance from other moving vehicles on the road.
- It’s better to use a single block of wood instead of stacking pieces of wood together to get a decent height. Stacking creates instability that always leaves an open end for the jack to slip and an accident to happen.
To Wrap It Up
This is all I can tell you about how to change a tire on a single axle travel trailer. Changing a flat tire is always a pain. But no matter what situation you are in, do it with time in hand. It might be simple work, but a lot depends on a perfectly assembled tire on the road. So, make sure to take your time to assemble it perfectly because one accident paves the way for the woes of a lifetime.