A flat tire on your RV can put a damper on your road trip really fast! Knowing how to change the tire yourself can save you a lot of time and a lot of money. If you know how to change the tire on your car, you’ve already got the basics down so it won’t be horribly hard for you to get the RV tire changed. Here is how to change your RV flat tire and get yourself back on the road quickly!
Jacking it Up
RVs are a lot bigger than a car and the thought of jacking it up can be a little intimidating. Thankfully the RV will have more than one jack to make the process a bit easier and more stable. Place one jack behind the back wheel on the side with the flat and one in front of the front tire. You want to jack up the whole side to make sure that the weight is distributed across the frame on that side. BEFORE you start to actually jack it up, break the lug nuts loose! This part is important because right now you have the weight of the trailer on the wheel, but once it’s jacked up that tire will spin freely and if your lugs are on there well you won’t be able to loosen them without the tire just spinning and prohibiting it. So turn them just enough that they are no longer super tight. Now you want to bring your jacks up to the frame of the RV and get them into position. Make sure they are in contact with the frame and nothing else as they can do damage to other parts when pressure is put on them. Once you have contact and you’re sure they are in the right place, give one of the jacks about three pumps, and then do the same with the other. Continue to alternate back and forth like this until the flat tire is off the ground.
Replacing the Tire
Now that you have the lugs loosened and the tire jacked up, it’s time to get the old one off and the new one on. Remove the lug nuts in a star-shaped pattern so that it distributes the stress evenly (see above). You will also put them back on the same way. Once you have the lug nuts off, place them aside and pull the flat tire off. Place the new tire on and get at least one lug screwed on enough to help hold the tire in place so that you can let go. Tighten the lug nuts as much as you can while it’s jacked up but here again, the wheel will start to spin as they tighten so it can make it difficult to get them tight. Don’t worry, we’re coming back to them. This is just to get the wheel on and stable. Now it’s time to lower the RV back to the ground.
Lowering the RV and Tightening the Lug Nuts
Lower the RV in the same fashion you jacked it up, by moving back and forth every 3 pumps from the front to the back. Once you have the RV back on the ground you can tighten your lug nuts even more because the weight of the rig is going to hold the wheel still. Make sure to clean up all your tools and the flat tire and take it with you.
Torque is an amount of pressure put on something when twisting it. The lug nuts have a specific amount of torque they should be at. If there is too much torque it will put too much pressure on the lug and possibly break it. Not enough pressure and your tire will be wobbling all over the place. If you have a torque wrench, check and see what your torque should be at per manufacturer's specifications, and torque your lug nuts right away. If you do not have one, get your RV to a service center so they can do it. You don’t want the wheel falling off because you have the improper torque on the lugs.
Now you can deal with an emergency tire situation on your own! Remember to never drive on a compromised tire. Whether it’s flat, has a bulge, or you can see the wires, don’t take the chance. They can start on fire if you drive them flat or blow out if there is a weak spot and that can cause a roll over.