Class A owners ask: Can you spare a tire?

Class A owners ask: Can you spare a tire?

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

An RVer lamented that his brand-new motorhome had no spare tire. Concerned about what kind of outcome he’d face should he have a flat or blowout, he struggled mightily to get a spare and put it on board his rig.

Some colossus motorhome jockeys tell us they rely on their road service provider to bail them out in the event of a blown tire, no spare scenario. Some road service policies may cover you – others won’t – so check the fine print carefully. Even then, here’s a “what if” scenario. What if you’re in the middle of nowhere-land on a Sunday afternoon when one of your rig tires blows. First, can you find a service provider who will come and rescue you and, second, will they be able to find the appropriate tire to bring with them? This isn’t an uncommon problem for the motorhome set: Many manufacturers say that with such large, heavy tires, it just isn’t safe to provide the end user with a spare. Of course, you may also chalk this up to “cost savings” on the part of the industry, but it is a thought.

Facing this issue, there are plenty of motorhome owners who are being cagey in figuring out a “work around” for the problem. Perhaps the most common approach is to carry a spare tire – not a spare tire and wheel, just the tire. Again, check your road service policy to be clear that the service will pay for a “tire change” in the field. Not every rescue carries the tools and equipment needed to make a tire changeover out on the road, and you may wind up waiting a bit while your dispatcher locates one. Just make sure it’s really clear you need more than just a “take off the bad tire, put on the mounted and inflated spare.”

Where can you stash a big “rubber donut” for your motorhome? Thank heavens for ample basement storage, many report. Others slide the tire under their bed. That’ll work, provided you can maneuver one of those bad boys out from under the bed when needed and provided, too, that the smell of a new rubber tire isn’t so pervasive that it won’t let you sleep.

Other motorhome drivers say they wouldn’t go anywhere without a spare mounted tire, one that’s on a rim. That’s OK, provided (a) you have the muscles to move it, and (b) the wheels are “all the same, all around” on your motorhome, meaning that your “steer tire” rims are the same as your “drive tire” rims. If not, you’ll be playing the odds game of which tire blows when the tire is on the “wrong” rim. Add too, the issue of where to put that big mounted spare.

One enterprising RVer with a Class A motorhome stuck his spare on a beefed-up spare tire carrier that mounted to his hitch receiver. Since he didn’t have a toad car, he figured he could use that receiver for this important duty. Again, it’s an idea, but before you assign a big, heavy spare tire there, make sure you can safely carry that kind of weight on the back of your rig – not all motorhomes have the capacity. 

##RVT821

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12 thoughts on “Class A owners ask: Can you spare a tire?

  1. Tom

    If you have a spare, inspect it for air, before every trip. See if you can ‘move’ it. My 16″ tire and rim are in excess of 100 pounds, a tough item to align up on the side of the road.
    Check your road service contract.

  2. Al & Sharon

    I wish you would have provided the approximate weight of the 19.5 and 22.5 inch size tires mounted on the wheel (rim). That would have shown the readers exactly why carrying a mounted spare is not as simple as one might think.
    My 19.5″ mounted spare is about 125 pounds, A 22.5″ mounted spare is from about 175 pounds to over 200 pounds, depending on tire size.
    While i can get my 19.5″ tire out and changed, I cannot pick it up and put it back in the storage location.
    No way are the vast majority us going to manhandle a 22.5″ tire.
    On the other hand many reasonably strong people can change the 16″ tire on many Class C and Class B RV’s, along with 5th wheels.

  3. Ken Heath

    I have elected to carry a spare on my 37 ft. Itasca Meridian. I have heard horror stories of folks paying big money and waiting many hours while road service tracks down a compatible tire, sometimes returning with a truck tire for a motorhome. Motorhome tires and truck tires are compounded differently. I purchased a spare of the same size, manufacturer and type and will have it on hand when road service shows up to change the tire. I will not even try to carry the tools and jacks to change it myself, but I will be certain to control the time on the side of the road, the cost and the tire type by having the correct spare already available for road service when they arrive. I will be using a Roadmaster spare tire carrier which is hitch mounted and provides a hitch for a trailer or a tow car.

    1. Mike

      Exactly what I have done. 36’ Class A, 22.5 tires, Roadmaster tire carrier, Toad. Live in Alaska and travel the Alaska Hwy through Canada. Torque magnifier to remove the lug nuts, Torgue wrench to reinstall. Leverage bar to assist in lifting the tire back onto the hub. If I’m pulling my 24’ enclosed trailer the spare goes in it. 70 years old and I’m not waiting on anybody.

  4. Greg Woods

    OK, so let’s say I carry a spare wheel and tire for my 45′ class A motorhome. First where in the world do I store it. OK you say under the bed. OK now how at 69 years old do I get it out from under the bed and outside. Now I’m in pretty good shape for an old guy, but REALLY?
    These wheels and tires are not light.

    Ok, so now it’s out. What’s the next step, AH, yes jack my 45′ behemoth up. .Next………to any motorist driving by: sir, “sir could you loan me a gazillion pound rated jack”. Now it’s jacked up, it’s time to bust those lug nuts loose, HUH? . How many of you carry a wrench capable of removing a lug nut tightened to 450 foot pounds of torque at the factory?
    Not do’in it.
    Enough said?????? Leave it to the road service guy!!!!!

  5. David Ozanne

    Recently had a blown rear tire out in the desert of Nevada. Had to drive about 90 miles on one tire. Found a tire dealer , but he had no 8R19.5 tires. Bought 2 of the newer tires and put them on the front. Took the front tires and put them on the rear. Put the tire that had carried the weight for so long alone on the roof as a spare in case it happened again. Got home and changed the rear tires with new 225 70R195 tires.

    1. David Ozanne

      PS I drove the 90 miles at 30 MPH.

  6. Richard Davidson

    In addition, most people don’t know that rear dual tires on big class A’s have reverse threads on the mounting bolts. Don’t know why that is but they do.

    1. Mike Johnston

      On Semi’s the right side has right hand threads, the left side has left hand threads. Isn’t it the same on a big class A since they (mine) is on a Freightliner chassis?

      1. Mike

        PS: Left hand nuts have a notch on each of the corners, right hand nuts do not.

  7. Alan

    I keep a tire in the underbelly

  8. Mike Sokol

    As a teenager I worked in a truck shop and often had to move, mount and change semi-truck tires. These things are way heavier than any car tire you’ve ever changed. So if you’ve not practiced changing a Class-A RV tire in your driveway (or camping spot), you’ll want to call in an expert on the road. They’ll have the proper jacks, impact wrench and air compressor. But I do think it’s a great idea to carry a fully mounted spare tire with you. Just don’t get hurt trying to change it yourself for the first time on the side of the road.

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