When changing a caravan tyre being properly prepared for potential emergencies is an essential part of caravan camping. Sometimes regular maintenance isn’t enough to avoid seemingly random failure of equipment such as confusing electrical shorts.
Being equipped with a quality set of tools and caravan spares is a great way to prepare yourself for random emergencies. Having the equipment, however, is useless if you don’t know how to use it to perform routine maintenance tasks as practice makes perfect when learning to change a tyre.
The following few paragraphs will act as a beginner’s guide to changing caravan tyres. Once mastered, these steps will save you thousands in potential towing and repair costs.
WARNING: NEVER GO UNDER YOUR CARAVAN WHILE IT IS JACKED UP!!!
Recommended Tools & Equipment
You should always have the following tools and equipment on hand in the case of a roadside flat tyre:
- A Spare Tyre
This one’s a bit self-explanatory, but you will obviously need a new inflated tyre to replace the old one with. You must also periodically check your spare tyres pressure.
- A Jack
A jack is used to lift the caravan while you replace the flat tyre. Because caravans are extremely heavy and can be hazardous to your health if one falls on you, it’s extremely important to use a jack that adheres to the AS-NZS 2693 Vehicle Jack Safety Standards.
- Wheel Chocks
Because caravans are designed with an automatic reversing system which overrides the handbrake, it’s not rare for the odd caravan to take off from its owner. Wheel chocks are often used to avoid this disastrous (and embarrassing) situation.
- Wrench Wheel Brace
It can be hard to remove the nuts that attach a caravan’s tyres. A quality wrench wheel brace with a handy telescopic extending handle can make the task much easier.
- Torque Wrench
A torque wrench is used to check that the new tyre’s wheel nuts are properly tightened.
Although we never recommend that campers repair their caravan on the side of the road, sometimes there just isn’t any choice. If replacing your tire is an emergency, we do recommend the following:
- Try to find an off-road lane, alley, or driveway to park the caravan. If private property, be sure to ask the owners.
- Ensure the caravan is parked on level ground far from the hindrance of traffic, people, and pedestrians
- Have your caravan’s hazard lights flashing always, even if the flat occurs during the daytime. If possible, try to put on a safety or visibility vest when changing the tyre.
Replacing the Tyre
The process required to change a caravan tyre is very similar to that used to replace a regular automobile tyre.
- Slowly raise the caravan according to the jack’s instruction guide ensuring you are jacking the caravan up on level ground.
- Prior to the wheels being lifted off the ground, loosen the wheel nuts using a wheel brace
- Continue raising the caravan until the tyre is not touching the ground
- Remove the tyre and fit the spare to the hub
- Use the wheel wrench to tighten the caravan’s wheel nuts while moving in a diagonally opposed manner.
- Slowly lower the caravan without removing the jack
- Tighten the wheel nuts firmly with a wheel brace, still using a diagonally opposed manner
- Check the torque of the nuts with a torque wrench
- Remove wheel chocks