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Using Your RV : Tips & tricks

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Spare tires for your RV?
Russ and Tina DeMaris

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Courtesy greeblie on flickr.com, creative commons license
It's not the most pleasant thought: Having a flat tire on your rig. And many new RVers are surprised when they find a lot of motorhomes don't even have a spare tire. What's going on here? Here's the inside scoop on RV spare tires.

Many have noted that as we go down the road of time, a lot of newer motorhomes, particularly Class A units, have no spare tire. Why is that? One reason is space: RVers want to carry a lot of stuff, and manufacturers give away as much basement storage to that request. While it's true that some large chassis motorhomes could probably stuff a spare tire away between the frame rails, somewhere under the coach, imagine yourself trying to wrestle a behemoth motorhome tire and wheel out from under.

Hence, safety considerations may be an even greater reason for not equipping big motorhomes with spare tires. With weights of rim and tire pushing the mid-200 pound range, visions of strained muscles, "put out" backs, or worse, can also enter into the minds of RV manufacturers. But what if you get a flat?

Here's where experienced RVers have their 'two cents worth.' Wise RVers carry emergency road service insurance coverage, so when and if a flat becomes a reality, they call for backup. Here's where it can get a bit tricky: Will your road service company be able to find the correct tire within a reasonable amount of time? Or will they bring a tire that "does the job," but in reality, isn't what you really should be running.

Hence, many motorcoach owners carry a spare tire--not tire on a rim, just the tire--in their basement storage area. Yes, it takes up room, but you can stuff the center of the tire with other items, or even stick a piece of custom cut plywood over the top to give you a level storage spot. Most road service crews are competent enough to change out a tire right there along side the road--just be sure to check with your road service insurance company to make sure.

If you do make treks "off the beaten path," say to Alaska, Mexico, or some of the more sparsely populated areas of the Canadian North, having a spare tire assembly--one on a rim--might make sense if you have the physical ability to manhandle it. It can be a long wait in some parts of the outback for the road service folks to come along.

If your rig is a travel trailer or fifth wheel, you'll probably find a spare tire assembly mounted somewhere. We've changed a number of flats on our fifth wheel. It's not fun, but it's "do-able." Of course, when we got road insurance it was a lot safer to watch the road service tech stick his backside out into freeway traffic while changing a blown tire. We wouldn't have the courage to do what they do.

One more thing: Be sure your road service insurance covers your rig. Friends of ours carried AAA emergency road service, the kind specifically designed for RVs. When their fifth wheel blew a tire on a lonely stretch of an Arizona highway, imagine their surprise when the road service responder told them that AAA will not cover changing a tire on a trailer. On the tow vehicle itself, yes, but not on the trailer. As it was, they also had a mechanical issue at the same incident, and the tow service company went ahead and changed out the tire before towing the whole combination back to a shop.



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