It’s no fun getting a flat tire when you’re out in the middle of almost nowhere, or in a thriving metropolis for that matter. When that flat is on your motorhome, it’s even less of a picnic. Maintaining your tires and replacing worn ones does decrease the risk of a flat but sometimes the inevitable happens. Staying calm and using a little common sense will keep you safe and get you back on the road ASAP.
Tire Care – Minimizing Your Chances of Getting a Flat
Let’s look at trying to prevent that flat first. Make sure that checking your tires is part of your RV spring cleaning ritual. Then give those tires regular check-ups throughout the season. Check the tread for wear and the sidewalls for cracking. The rubber on old tires becomes brittle over time and even if you have good tread, those tires need replaced. Make sure the tires have the correct air pressure and that the lug nuts are correctly tightened. Don’t forget to check out your spare tire. If you’re mechanically minded you can go ahead with checking the brakes, wheel bearings and other tire-related items, if not find a professional service shop. When you bring your rig into your Alberta RV Dealer for spring servicing your tires will get the once-over.
Getting a Flat – Stay Calm
First, stay calm. Sometimes flats do startle drivers because they let out a huge bang, at others you’ll notice that your vehicle suddenly doesn’t handle the way it usually does. Either way, your job is to get your rig over to the side of the road safely. Put on your emergency flashers and drive very slowly. If the shoulder is too small to get your rig totally off the road try and get to a wider parking spot. Once parked, keep those flashers on. Carry some reflective triangles, the same ones used by big rig truckers, and set them out several feet in back of and in front of your rig. This gives motorists a heads-up about your parked rig.
Check Out the Situation
Check out the flat, being mindful of the traffic. If you are in a safe enough spot and know enough to change the tire or make a temporary repair, then do so. Do not attempt a repair on the driver’s side of the rig if you are in traffic or on a short shoulder, it’s just too dangerous. If you are blocking traffic or feel at all unsure call 911. It’s a lot safer for you and oncoming traffic to have a police car with flashing lights parked behind your rig.
The other thing to remember is that RV’s usually weigh a lot more than a car making tire changes more challenging. If you have an RV road service contract, such as with CAA or Sam’s Club, call them. The attending police service can usually make this call for you. The attending service person will let you know whether it’s safer to make a repair, change that tire or tow you to the nearest tire shop.