Have you taken notice of the rise of travelers lately? This can be easily seen through a simple browse on YouTube, where vlogs of different kinds of travelers all around the globe seem to pop up every day. Specifically, land travelers have been rampant because driving to your destination is cheaper than going via sea or air. Not only that, traveling on land takes the famous quote “it is about the journey and not the destination” to heart.
Vans and trailers have gained enormous popularity even amongst the younger generations in the last decade. Gone is the time when such kinds of vehicles could only be seen used by middle-aged men forcing their families on a road trip across states. Their use has become widespread because they are spacious enough to make anyone’s travel reasonably comfortable. Recently, many upgrades have been developed on these kinds of vehicles. Most models can fit a bed or two, a kitchenette, and even a bathroom.
One specific vehicle most preferred for long-distance travel is dual-axle travel trailers. They are larger and can sustain more weight than single-axle travel trailers. Therefore, they are best for a large family or a group of friends on a road trip.
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But land traveling has its challenges. One of them being – and the most common – is a flat tire. It would not be such a trial if you happened to pass by an automotive machine shop. Then you only need to have it serviced by professionals. But what about if you were along with a dessert or a quiet coastal road? Now, that is a possibility every traveler should ponder on and prepare for. Although having a flat tire is relatively uncommon in the case of a dual-axle travel trailer, knowing how to go about it yourself certainly does not hurt, as you can save money on service charges.
Thus, here are the steps on how to safely jack up a dual-axle travel trailer to change a flat tire:
A normal bottle jack is not recommended since a larger dual-axle travel trailer weighs more than a single-axle travel trailer. The tire ramp would be perfect for jacking it up to change a flat tire because it delivers efficiency by giving you enough space to work on a flat tire without putting too much pressure on the trailer as if you were to use a bottle jack. Plus, tire ramps are easy to bring during your road trips since they do not take up too much space and are not outrageously heavy, as most of them sold in the market are usually lightweight.
However, jack stands may be used especially for cases where the work is not a mere change of a flat tire. If you were to use them, you need to place them securely so that they do not move but not to the extent that they would be difficult to remove. Moreover, it would help if you positioned them into the wheel well on both sides of the axles.
The other tools needed are a lug wrench, breaker bar, socket, tire pressure gauge, and spare tire. It would help if you had these tools all the time during your travels because you do not know when you will need them.
The surface on which you intend to do this must be hard and level. There should be no possibility of the travel trailer sliding off the tire ramps. It is common sense that you should properly park the travel trailer either at a garage, a parking lot, or on the road to avoid traffic issues while working on it. It prevents accidents and inconveniences on the part of the other motorists. Still, it also ensures that you do the job properly and with no additional stress than you are already under.
It would help if you always planned out before executing any job. In this step, you need to know first which tire needs to be changed and work from there. The ramp must be positioned not to put unnecessary pressure on the trailer and the tire. It would help to elevate the good tire adjacent to the flat tire on the ramp to have a workable space for you to work on the latter. Most tire ramps give an elevation of at least an inch or so.
If you were to change the front tire of the dual-axle, you need to position the ramp at the rear of the good back tire with the low part of the ramp in the center of the good back tire. Conversely, if you were to change the back tire, you need to position the ramp in front of the good front tire with the low part of the ramp in the center.
Before driving or backing onto the ramp, it is highly recommended to slightly loosen the lug nuts of the flat tire by using your breaker bar and wench.
Slowly drive or back onto the tire ramp the center of the good tire on the receiving part of the ramp where the tire will be secured. Park and engage the emergency brake on the travel trailer.
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Once elevated, remove the lug nuts of the flat tire and replace it with the spare tire. If needed, you may have to lift the flat tire off the rim. After this, tighten the lug nuts of the spare tire until it revolves. Then, slowly drive or back the travel trailer off the low end of the ramp. Finally, tighten the lug nuts securely. You should also remove the jack stands if there are any.
Here are some safety tips and tricks to avoid accidents:
Whether you are doing this for the first time or have done it several times, a large task like this is still dangerous, so it is highly recommended to ask a person to help you. If you are traveling alone, you may want to ask for help from a fellow motorist or a bystander.
You might think that you can get this job done on your own, but you should never forget that you need to drive or back onto the ramp accurately, and you can only do this if someone is there to guide you and tell you when to stop. You might also need assistance when changing your tire. Moreover, if you are in a dangerous position, your companion can look out for you and seek help by calling an emergency hotline.
What a hassle it would be for you to find out after you have spent time and energy on elevating your travel trailer and removing your flat tire that your spare tire has low air pressure or that it is flat! Well, then avoid that additional stress and take the precautionary measure of checking the conditions of the spare tire not only at the start of your trip but also now and then while you are on the road. Finding out that your spare tire is defective while in the middle of nowhere can be avoided.
Every once in a while, and especially if you are in a city or any populated area, check if any of your equipment is up to par for any emergency repair down the road. So that if anything needs to be replaced or improved upon, you can go to the nearby hardware store or the automotive machine shop in town.
This is a trick that is no longer a secret. To have a smooth drive after you have changed your tire, you might want to do the optional – but recommended – step of lubricating the tire’s lug nuts.
This covers a wide range of measures. It would help if you were wary of any children running around the site where you are parking. You should also ensure that the place you are at is not accident-prone. It would be best if you likewise were careful of any possible carnapping.
Now that you know the steps to jack up a dual-axle travel trailer safely, you must master them before even contemplating lifting that wrench. The tire ramp may make the work seem easy, but it is not. A do-it-yourself job handling a vehicle – a travel trailer, at that – is never easy, especially in this case where there is heavy lifting (literally). In all cases, you should put your safety first and err on the side of caution. If you think you are doing something wrong or are in danger, you should ask for help from professionals.
But if you think you are up for it and have adequately prepared yourself and your tools, you only need to follow the abovementioned steps, and your flat tire will be changed in no time and at no cost. Be a responsible driver and share this information with anyone you might think will need it. Have a safe travel!