What’s the best way to change two flat tires on RV?


gary-736Dear Gary,
I have two flat tires on my RV, one on each side. How do I change tires on a travel trailer? How do I jack the trailer up to change the tire? Or is there a better way? —Willie B.

Dear Willie,
Well, a better way for me is to call one of my son-in-laws and have them do the work! But here’s the next best idea…

Loosen the lugs on both wheels holding the flat tires while the trailer is on the ground. Always jack the trailer on the main frame rails only – never on the axle. As you raise the trailer, the suspension will relax and sag. Once the tires are off the ground, support the trailer on weight-appropriate (sized correctly) jack stands and remove/replace the tire assembly.

Always use safety jack stands. Do not allow the jack to maintain the weight while the coach is in the air. Chock the opposite side tires and be sure the tongue jack stays on the ground during the entire process. Change the tire on one side first, then the other side.

It’s best to use a floor jack, but a bottle jack is workable if it can be supported underneath and has enough reach to raise the tires off the ground. In some cases, you might have to use wood cribbing to build up the jack placement. It’s doable, but a hefty floor jack is better.

It’s also wise to find out exactly what caused the flat tires. If there’s no obvious cause (nail, faulty tire valve, etc.), a tire expert can inspect the inside of the tire casing and determine the exact cause of the failure; a little tire CSI!

The main causes of tire failure are under-inflation and overloading. Evidence will show if either contributed to the flats. You’ll certainly want to rectify an issue if you possibly can, so as not to repeat the scenario in the future! 

Read more from Gary Bunzer at the RVdoctor.com. See Gary’s videos about RV repair and maintenance.




3 Thoughts to “What’s the best way to change two flat tires on RV?”

  1. Marmot

    When I recently serviced my four wheel bearing sets I used a bottle jack and raised the trailer using the frame rails. I placed the jack according to the manual’s instructions: just behind or just in front of the wheel being serviced. In all four jacking locations the tongue jack was a few inches off the ground when the tire was high enough to remove. Any suggestions or thoughts?

    By the way: before I found my manual, I called the dealer service department to ask where to place the jack. The service adviser said “under the axle.”

  2. Tommy Molnar

    I always see where you are not supposed to raise the trailer with the axle. Just why IS this? In order to lift with the frame, it must be jacked up MUCH more than with the axle. This reminds me of the old ‘bumper jacks’ that came with cars in the “old days” where you had to jack it up to the clouds to get a tire off the ground.

    1. Chuck

      Just my opinion but it really depends on the axle being above or below the spring. If it’s above the spring, i place the jack directly under the spring where it intersects the axle. If the axle is below the spring I use the frame. The jack, when in direct contact with the axle, places too much stress on just a few points of the axle. This can flatten or dent the axle tube causing weak points.

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