Bug Out - Trailer Surprise

Our trailer weighs around 7,000lbs loaded. With the F-250 and trailer combined we’re pushing 14,000lbs. After putting the rig through its paces for about 1,100 miles, we experienced a near total disintegration of one of the trailer’s tires. The left rear lost 70% of its tread, 60% of it sidewalls and 100% of its usefulness.

The surprise occurred on a downhill turn where the tire was on the outside of the curve. As I was looking in the rear view mirror, trying to locate the source of a flapping noise, I watched as pieces large and small flew off in just about every direction they could. I was reminded of those old gun cameras films from WWII where planes came apart while under attack.

We were blessed to have a fire road handy just a short bit down the way. Our change effected, we left for better pastures. But we weren’t through, yet. A farmer in his old truck pulled up next to us and yelled that we were having a problem with a tire… same side. It turned out that the other tire was a bit low (but checked out okay when we replaced the blown unit.) I saw that the sidewall was heavily cracked and beginning to bulge.

No spare.

No possible road fix, as with a nail or a screw penetration.

We used our GPS directory service to locate a tire store 22 miles down the road. A quick call settled that they had 4 tires of the propper type and size in stock, and would be expecting us. We drove between 51 and 53 mph to reach them. When we did arrive, I got another look at the problem tire. It was now only half inflated, and probably would have been on the rim if it weren’t for the spare behind it doing its duty.

With the tire crew at work, I was able to inspect things a little more closely. The Goodyear tires that came with the RV were actually made in China, not Denver or some other US source. That actually surprised me, and the print was very small.

Here are a few things of note to file away from this experience, and some important guidelines in general:

  • Flat tires are a a pain to change on an sloped surface. Celebrate if you have your blow out near a good flat siding.
  • Tires may not wait until you have left that winding mountain road to blow.
  • RV tires need to be changed before 5 years, regardless of tread life remaining. UV rays and ozone work to deteriorate the rubber even when sitting.
  • Tire covers used during RV storage slow deterioration.
  • Cracks in RV tire sidewalls are bad news, and will lead to blowouts.
  • Discoloration is a sign of deterioration.
  • Keep the pressures at the specified level to prevent excessive sidewall flex, leading to overheating and failure.
  • Tires stored at low pressure will develop buckling issues in the sidewalls at road level.
  • RVs left sitting for extended periods, even at the proper tire pressure, will develop stress in the tires. They need to be moved.
  • Two is one, and one is none. Keep two spares, if you have the room and cash.

Changing the Tire with Lynx Levelers

One of the items we carry in the rig is a set of Lynx Levelers. These are like large flat Lego blocks that interlock to form secure platforms. Driving the low side tires onto these will assist in leveling your rig, which is important to RV refrigerator performance and longevity. They also come in handy for changing tires on tandem axle trailers.

We stacked 6 Lynx Levelers pyramid style to create a platform three units high. After driving the good tire up onto the platform, the other tire was off the ground. Changing at that point was a snap, though watching that one tire handle the weight two were tasked to do increased the pucker factor just a tad. They have proven to be very handy to have, and I recommend them to anyone running a similar rig.

2 comments to Bug Out – Trailer Surprise

  • Caught a lucky break not losing the trailer when the tire blew. I suspect it took some nifty driving skills.

    Good job.

  • L P


    Some skill, but even little skill has good effect if one remains calm. The “Oh crap!” was replaced with, “steady on the wheel, ease the gas – no brakes.” Getting situational awareness quickly helps, too. Mirrors, knowing where the big rig was off to the right, the curves…..

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