Sooner or later every towable RVer will experience a flat tire on the tow or towed vehicle. Yes, most of us can summon emergency road service (providing you have cell service) and have the spare tire put on if you are willing to wait hours for the service truck to arrive. It really isn’t that hard to do and using the tip below will speed up the job and get you back on the road.
Virtually every travel trailer and fifth wheel owner travels with a cordless drill to raise and lower their stabilizing jacks (most RV manufacturers advise against this) among other functions. In addition to the socket that fits on the stabilizing jacks, carry a socket that fits your tow vehicle lug nuts & bolts and your trailer lug nuts & bolts.
Next time you find yourself changing a flat tire, break the lug nuts & bolts loose with a tire iron, then quickly spin them off the rest of the way with the cordless drill using the appropriate socket. This saves the time of tediously twisting each nut/lug off by hand and greatly speeds up the job.
Once the tire is changed, quickly spin the nuts & bolts back on with the drill until snug and then torque them tightly with your tire iron. Using your cordless drill is almost as convenient as having an impact wrench connected to compressed air like the tire shop uses.
If your vehicle is four-wheel drive and you have a flat front tire, engage the four wheel drive before jacking up the flat tire. By engaging the four-wheel drive you are in effect locking the front wheel from turning. Now the front wheel won’t spin when you break it loose or tighten the lug nuts/bolts. On the rear wheels, you can set the parking brake to prevent spin.
When changing a tire always follow these safety rules:
- Make sure the ground is level and firm. Jacks should never be placed where the ground is soft and subject to sinking.
- Use chocks to keep the vehicle from rolling. Block the front & back of the tire that is diagonally opposite to the flat.
- When changing a flat, place safety reflectors or flares behind the vehicle on the shoulder of the road to alert other drivers.
- Never crawl under a vehicle when supported solely by a jack.
- Follow your vehicle owner’s manual for proper procedures and warnings for changing a tire.
Changing tires at NASCAR pit crew speed, just another adventure in RVing!