If you’ve changed a tire before, then you know it’s not that difficult of a job. All it takes is the right set of tools and some basic knowledge about how to change the tire properly. As easy as it can be, though, it is an incredibly useful skill to have.
Travel trailers are no different. If you are hitting the road with a travel trailer for vacation, then whether or not you get there in time depends in part on the tires for that trailer. Even these tires can blow out, and while changing one is not that different, it still requires the right tools and knowledge to get it done properly. If you’re not sure how you would change a tire in that situation, read on to learn the proper way to change a tire on a travel trailer.
Like any automotive procedure, the right tools are required. To change a travel trailer tire, you need the following:
A spare tire. This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people go on the road without a properly functioning spare tire in case of emergencies. You should always check this before you go anywhere!
A lug wrench. Usually, these come standard with a vehicle, but if you don’t have one they are easy to find and buy at any automotive store. Lug nuts do come in different sizes, though, so make sure your lug wrench fits the ones on your tires.
Portable air compressor with an air chuck. File this under the “just in case” category. As in, it’s a good idea to have one of these with you just in case your spare tire turns out to be flat! The air compressor can fill up that flat spare, otherwise, you might be just as stranded.
Chocks. You will use these to help make sure the travel trailer stays in place when lifted. Trust us – you do not want it to shift while you are working on it!
Ramps. Just like changing a tire on a car, you will use these to lift the trailer.
Lubrication. This might not be 100% necessary, but it will definitely help to make this job easier and make the end result safer.
Step by Step Guide
1. Now that you have all your tools together and you’re on the road, let’s talk about how to handle a flat. Should the flat happen while you’re driving, then the first thing to do is to find a safe place to pull over.
The good news about this sort of vehicle is there’s a bit of redundancy in the double axles, which means you should be able to go a little bit until you find the perfect place. You don’t want a shoulder that’s too narrow as it can make it hard to work safely – especially if the blown tire is on the side facing the highway.
Once you’re safely pulled over, gather all of the tools together and get ready to work.
2. Identify the blown tire. Then put the ramp either in front of or behind the OTHER tire on that side (not the one that’s blown). You will use this ramp to raise up the side of the trailer, but not yet!
3. Now that you have the ramp placed, use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts on the tire. Do NOT remove them completely! You just want to loosen them while the tire is still on the ground and being held in place.
4. Once the nuts are loosened enough, then get back into your vehicle and drive the trailer up on the ramps. Depending on which tire is blown and which is not, you might actually be driving it backward. Remember, you are driving the GOOD wheel up on the ramps! This will free the other wheel so you can work on it. Take a minute and place your chocks around the tires on the other side, to help keep the travel trailer in place.
5. When the side is raised, check whether the blown tire is loose and free of the ground. It should be raised up enough so you can work on it, but if it isn’t, you might have to increase the height of the ramp by putting blocks underneath it, or you can dig out underneath the blown tire a little.
6. Once the tire is loose, remove the lug nuts completely and take off the blown tire. Replace it with the spare.
7. Before you put the lug nuts back on, use a little of the lubrication on each of the nuts. This will help you tighten them correctly. Then, tighten the nuts with the lug wrench, using the standard “star” pattern. Tighten them as much as you can.
8. Drive off the ramp so the trailer is flat on the ground again. Use the wrench and tighten the lug nuts the rest of the way.
9. Finally, use this time to double-check the air pressure in your spare tire, and the other tires as well. Then, put the tools back in place and get back on the road!
Can you jack up a travel trailer by the axle?
If you would prefer to use a jack, or if you only have a single wheel on each side so using a ramp is not an option. You can use a jack, just like you would any other vehicle. Place the jack under the frame or the axle itself. Other than that, follow the same procedures as here.
What size jack do you need for the camper?
When choosing the right jack, keep in mind both the height and weight of your trailer. Measure the height of the trailer to see how much clearance you need. For weight, keep in mind that you need a jack that can handle 10% of the weight of your fully-loaded trailer (most of the weight will actually be going onto the other side of the trailer). So, a 5,000lb trailer requires a jack with at least a 500lb capacity.