On our last trip we had the distinct misfortune to suffer our first blown tire. Of course, it let go on a two lane 60 mph highway with no shoulder between us and our destination – which was only 25 miles away. The trailer was still towing fine and to be honest, I may not have even noticed had my wife not been following behind me in the car. We had to go few miles to even get to a road where we could turn off. Fortunately, there was a very large, flat pull off at that intersection where we could get it changed.
As you can see, the extra miles on the rim didn’t do it any favors. Once we got pulled over our first task was to assess the damage. The rim of course was toast, but we got lucky in that the side wheel well flares were not damaged on the trailer. Those are a common loss in these situations. Unfortunately, that was the end of the good news. The shredding of the tire threw chunks out which had their wires exposed. As luck would have it, one of those wires found the sidewall of the tire in front and poked a small hole in it. It was a slow leak, but fast enough that you could hear it leaking as you stood there. Of course, we only had one spare so what to do now?
We decided to put the spare on and attempt to drive the last 25 miles of the trip. There were some pull off’s ahead where we could stop and add more air to the leaking tire if we needed to.
Changing the tire was not that tough. We stacked blocks and rolled the front wheel up to get the bad wheel high enough to take off to get the new one on. They make special ramps for this too, but the blocks worked well enough. Not perfectly though, it got things high enough to get the old rim off, but we were about 1 to 2 inches too low to get the spare tire on. We carry a 5 ton floor jack for just such occasions. Jacking up the axle directly with a jack is not recommended, but in this case we were just lifting it from bottomed out an inch or two so we were not putting a lot of weight on it. Once the axle was jacked up, it was a quick swap of the rim for the spare and back down she went.
It’s important to note that you should always carry everything you need to change a tire. That may seem obvious, but changing a trailer tire is a lot different then a car tire. You can’t rely on the tools in your tow vehicle emergency kit to get the job done. We carry blocks, a floor jack, a breaker bar, sockets that fit the lugs, a 150 ft lb torque wrench and Viair 88P 12 volt air compressor. The portable 12 volt air compressor is essential, it made the difference between being stuck and allowing us to move on and add air on the road as we needed.
When we got to camp we went to the local Discount Tire and they got us hooked up. They replaced the sidewall damaged tire and ordered a new rim and installed a new tire to match. The rims on a ours were Sendel T-06 15×6 rims. If you’re trailer has nice aluminum rims and you need to find a matching replacement then Sendel would be a good place to look. They supply much of the RV industry with aluminum rims and have several of the styles I’ve seen on other trailers.
All in all, not a terrible experience but not much fun either.