There is never a good time to have a travel trailer tire blowout. This one was no exception. We were traveling home from a short weekend camping at Big Bone Lick State Historic Site. (I’ve done a couple of blog posts on that site if you’re interested.) While the timing wasn’t great, the scenario was about as good as it can get. We were not on the interstate and only a few miles from the travel trailer storage facility. We were going about 45 mph at the time and commenting on how smooth the ride was.
Without warning, there was a massive pop. The trailer’s front driver’s side tire popped and was flat. I could see it clearly in my mirror. There wasn’t any real loss of control, which was reassuring. Flashers on, we had to continue a quarter-mile to a small parking lot.
I Got This
Niki asked what we were going to do and who we should call. “What?! We’re not calling anyone. I’ve been preparing for this my whole life!” I replied. I even have a video that covers this exact thing. It was time to put theory to practice. I’m not going to lie; I was a little excited about it.
I eagerly busted out my gear. Tire iron, check. Four-ton jack, check. Battery-powered air compressor, check. I even had work gloves! Boom! I was about to prove my self worth as a man.
The first part was going to be easy. Months prior, I made sure I was already carrying the exact size sockets for the nuts and bolts for my tire, including the spare. I also knew where everything was. I had even thought ahead enough to make sure they were accessible when towing the trailer. Removing the spare and flat tire went quickly. My manhood is intact.
The first cracks in my plan showed up when I jacked up the trailer. Unlike a car, the travel trailer rides higher off the ground, so you need a bigger jack to reach from the ground to the frame. Quick thinking helped me. I pulled the wood and plastic leveling blocks I kept on the trailer. That raised the jack enough to reach the trailer frame. I’m still a man.
I thought the next problem was going to do me in. I was able to lift the trailer high enough with the jack/wood combo, but I still couldn’t get it up high enough to get the spare time on. Something wasn’t right. Then it hit me. As I lifted the trailer frame higher, the trailer’s leaf springs came down. My jack wasn’t big enough to move the frame up AND cover the downward flex in the leaf springs. Failure. My lovely wife again suggested calling someone. That stung.
Then it hit me. It wasn’t another person I needed; it was another jack. If I had a second jack, I could alternate them up and work in additional blocks of wood until it was high enough. I had a second jack in my truck. I’m back in business!
The remainder of the story was pretty dull. Old tire off. New tire on. Tighten, tighten, tighten. Done. That is how it is supposed to be. We made it back to our storage facility, and now I start the search for some new tires, forever confident in my tire changing masculinity.
Travel Trailer Tire Blowout: Conclusion
So here is what I learned and some numbers behind the event. Maybe this will help some fellow RVers out there.
- Be prepared. If I hadn’t specifically gone out and bought a jack and wrench for the trailer, I would be stuck. The jack in the truck worked for the tandem jack thing, but would not have worked on its own.
- I should have practiced this more. Knowing how to deal with the leaf springs would have saved me some time.
- Upgrade your tires. The tire on my trailer was original, specifically Castle Rock ST225/75R15 Radial Trailer Tire – Load Range D.
- I inspect mine and inflate to the proper pressure before every trip. The tires showed no apparent issues. I’ve only put on 1400 miles on these, and I bet the prior owner put less than 1000. They looked brand new.
- My tires are rated for 75 mph, and I typically kept it at 65 or below. I never crossed 70.
- Each tire was rated for 2540 lbs.
- Know what kind of jack to get. I purchased a 4-ton jack. It was more expensive, but it could lift my trailer.
- This reminded me to make sure I had good RV insurance. Check out some options here.
If you had similar experiences, or have any questions, let me know in the comments below.