A few weeks ago I wrote about the need to have a spare tire in your RV when you travel. Our motorhome came without a spare tire and wheel even though there was a compartment designed to house it. We are planning a long RV trip this summer and I don’t want to go that distance without a spare.

The first problem was the size and lug pattern of the wheel itself. It is a 22.5 inch wheel with 8 lug holes. Most rims that size are designed for 10 lugs. I was surprised how difficult it was to find this particular wheel. After numerous phone calls and searching the internet I finally found a Ford dealer who said they could order the wheel for me. The cost was over $400.00. This was for a steel wheel. The Alcoa aluminum rims that are on the front and outer duals of the motorhome cost about $1,300.00 apiece. By the time I add the tire to the cost of the steel wheel I would have nearly $700.00 invested in a spare tire and wheel.

This seemed like a significant dollar amount for something you hope you will never need to use, similar to other insurance policies you invest in. Then I had a great idea, I’ll just buy a spare tire without a rim. If we have a flat tire our Roadside Service Plan (RSP) can take the flat tire off the rim and replace it with the new spare tire. This will kill two birds with one stone, it is less expensive and it will be less weight to carry in the RV. Problem number two was the RSP does not cover or pay for mounting the tire on the rim. They only change the flat tire with a serviceable spare tire and rim, or tow you to the closest destination to have the work done. It wasn’t just my RSP; it was every RSP I called.

So, option one (traveling with no spare) was out, and option two (traveling with just a tire and no rim) was out. Now my mission was to find a less expensive used 22.5 inch 8 lug wheel and have a tire mounted on it. It took a lot of searching but I finally located a company in Iowa that had surplus rims and even had the right size tire for the rim.  They buy tires, directly from the RV manufacturer, that pick up a screw on the floor during the assembly line process. The tire can’t be used on a brand new RV, but there is no major defect with the tire.  The cost for both tire and rim (mounted and balanced) was only $188.00. I hit pay dirt!

When I asked about shipping I was told that if it was shipped to a Fed Ex freight location it would only cost me about $80.00 with the shipper’s discount. I was still in great shape. They said they would ship the tire and rim and I could pay the shipping fee when it arrives. A few days later I got a call from the Fed Ex freight office telling me the shipment would be there the following day. They said to bring a check for $532.00 for shipping!! I almost fell over when I heard the dollar amount. I immediately called the company in Iowa and told them I would have no choice but to refuse the tire and rim. After several phone calls the shipper had the freight charges reversed back to their company, which in turn applied the 60% shipping discount to the $532.00 fee. The owner of the company apologized and asked if I would be willing to pay the other 40% for shipping. It came to $213.00, and when added to the cost of the tire and rim would be a total of $401.00. I wasn’t happy about it, but it was still less than the cost of a new wheel itself and I really needed it.

I agreed to the new terms and picked the tire and rim up the following day. From there I took the tire and rim over to my garage where the motorhome is to put it in the spare tire in the storage compartment. When we slid the tire in the compartment it went about half way and then hit something. The wheel was hitting one of the metal floor braces and would not fit in the compartment. At this point I was about ready to give up on this whole spare tire idea. We took the tire back out and I looked at how the floor of the spare tire compartment was designed. I saw where a little metal fabrication and a large hammer would enable me to lower the compartment floor about one inch which should accommodate the tire and rim. After an hour or so we had the spare tucked away in the compartment, where I am hoping it will stay for a very long time to come.

The final tally, $401.00, a few more gray hairs, a modified storage compartment and slightly higher blood pressure.

Happy Camping,

Mark Polk

RV Education 101

 

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33 comments

  1. Hi Mark, You have yourself covered in the event you do have a flat. Better to be safe, than sorry. Happy trails to you and yours.

  2. butterbean carpenter

    Howdy Mark,

    Man oh man, now I’m afraid to start out ANYWHERE…I don’t have a spare and
    certainly can’t afford one at those prices…WHAT TO DO????????? Sell it????

  3. Drew

    Our Winnebago came with a spare, mounted on a rim and locked away in a dedicated compartment, I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with it.

    Drew

  4. keebler

    I was lucky—a friend was trading in his MH and gave me his spare– but it was a 19.6 Chevy wheel—still i m happy to have 2 spares-that fit.-one here at the house and one in the MH-

    keebler in Va.

  5. Dan Rambow

    So I am usually careful on having duplicate keys, extra tools, extra glasses, etc. when I set out on trips. There must be hundreds of thousands of RV’s out there on the road with no spare.

    Was I really being that foolish to travel across country with no spare, figuring worst case, I might have to find a Winnebago/Freightliner shop that could get me a replacement along the way??

    There are always the horror stories of the little repair shop in the middle of no-where that will charge ‘their’ price for the needed part. But how big a problem is this for most people? Many RV’s are already pushing their weight limits, adding a 200-300 tire and wheel isn’t a trivial thing, let alone the $400-$600 they might spend.

    Piece of mind is one of those ‘priceless’ things, but perhaps the old Visa card is best in this case?? Just wonder what others think.

  6. Gord

    Jeez, why anyone would want to carry the extra weight of a spare and tools makes me wonder. I have a cell phone and Good Sam Road Service. Have you ever watched an accredited tire shop remove wheels or change tires on big rigs? Two guys on a long-handled torque wrench, proper tools and experience. I’ll sit tight until my new tire is delivered to the Road Service outfit I have called. They will bring it to me and change my tire properly. No fuss, no muss. Been there – done that!

  7. Jerry

    Hi Mark

    Sounds like an expensive tire but I suppose the other options are more expensive. My problem is that there is no place to store a tire or
    mounted tire on my rig

  8. Hello Mark
    I would have looked for one in a salvage yard. There are hundreds of them all around the country and most have contact with one another. Arizona has a lot of RV wrecking and Salvage yards.
    M H in Yuma AZ

  9. Phil Mitchell

    I have a 40 foot MONACO with 22.5 tires, 10 hole rims with duals on the rear. Can one of the rear wheels be subsutited on the front in emergency situations for short distances at slow speed?
    No space for a spare, but I do have a 20 ton air over hydrolyc jack and a 1200 lb air hammer torque wrench, Taken the wheel on and off is a snap for me.

  10. Maumau

    WARNING to Fellow Truck Campers
    I have a Truck Camper that extends past the tailgate on a Dodge so the tailgate has to be down.
    The wonderful designers decided that the tailgate needs to be up when you lower the tire. Creates a little problem if you get a flat with the camper on.
    You have to use vice grips or channel locks or something to slowly lower the tire 1/8 of a turn at a time, or take the camper off to get the tailgate up

  11. Pete

    I own big trucks and have a Cl A Motorhome. The issues are multiple. 1) Tires of this magnatude are really really tough. 2) Most of the time you can fix a tire like these in place with a plug kit. You should spend 8 bucks on a plug kit at the local discount auto supply (good for all your tires). 3) If you can’t fix it in place, the odds of you changing it without some heavy duty impact tools and lifting devices are slim and none, the lugnuts are just too tight and the wheel just weighs too much. 3) These tires are only good for 7 years whether you use them or not. I have put brand new looking tires on trucks, even 3/4 ton trucks, that are over 7 years old and they just fly apart — so unless you want to spend another 400 bucks every 7 years just to avoid an occasional 125 dollar mobile tire repair charge, forget it. Have a good trip!

  12. Les & Claire

    You maybe able buy, carry, and possible change these tires and wheels, but make sure your health insurance is paid up. It is better to have Good Sam Road Service. We own these RV’s to relax , have fun, let someone else, that is equipped, take care of the problems.

  13. George Schomberg

    Had a inner rear tire blow out the side tread just as I got to the Pleasant Acrres CG office, in Sussex, NJ on Friday afternon. Called Good Sam service, said they would send out a svs truck, abt 3 hrst o get to CG. Svs guy came, got the spare off the MH, but could not loosen the lug nuts, said he had no air hammer or air compressor and he was a very small person.. I called GS again and they said they would search for a road service that could change the tire. Late Saturday, they said a guy from PA would be at CG in about 4 hrs. I spoke to the CG people, who said they use King Tire in Sussex, NJ. Called, and they said be out in less than a half hour. They came, changed the tire, said it looks like a factory defect, and took back blown tire to send to Cooper. I got a $100 refund from Cooper,

  14. I had an RV rental when I got a flat tire. I sat on the side of the road for 8 hours before a replacement could be brought to me.

  15. Hey Mark – How many years have you been driving a car and how many flat tires have you had? If you have new and good tires on your RV, just GO and have fun.
    We spent 4 months last year in Alaska, our whole trip in 2009 was 9 months, never had a spare. Have a tire repair kit — never used it.

  16. Last year I bought a 1995 Dolphin Motorhome. When I first looked at it the tires all looked good with lots of tread. After 1 week I discovered the tires were actualy the originals and the spare ( yeah it had one) inside a cover still had the manufactures sticker on the tread. Spare was never used. I replaced ALL with new tires before the next trip. Good insurance…

  17. Gaylord

    Sure would bs nice to know the name of the tire company.

  18. Bill

    I believe that the people who make and sell stuff for RV’s feel that everyone who owns an RV is a millionaire. No matter what you buy for your RV, the prices are outrageous. I think they are just taking advantage of us.

    From the other comments it sounds like the Good Sam service will come out and change and repair/replace a flat for you at the side of the road? If that’s true then it you can go without a spare and you don’t have to worry about the tire aging without ever being used and save some money.

    You might be at the side of the road for days though? Avoiding that has got to be worth something.

  19. Bob Wallace

    Hi Mark;
    What is the name of that dealer in Iowa that you got your tire and rim from??
    I would like to caLL THEM.
    Thanks
    Bob
    bOB

  20. Daniel Kaepp

    My biggest nightmare is that Good Sam will send me a repairman from Tim Buk Too. Every time I have needed emergency road service, it seems like it comes from 50-60 miles away, and I am afraid that as I travel to a more rural area and have a problem, I will have to wait for 24-48 hours for service, not knowing who else to call. Their ads and literature infer that they will provide quick and reliable service. For instance, as my wife and I were on our way to the Bay City area and needed road service, they sent it from Wixom, MI which is about 60 miles from where we were at. And on another occassion, when we were located about 10 miles south of Battle Creek, MI, we waited and waited, and a truck finally arrived from Kalamazoo, which is located about 50 miles west of Battle Creek, and Battle Creek being the size that it is, has plenty of Road Service contractors available. What gives?

  21. Peter R

    I have a 40 ft Motor Home on a Freightliner. I carry a Tire without a rim. I do have road service and I know the road service does not chage rims. But I have a friend with the same rig as mine, that had to wait 8 hours for the GoodYear service people to find the matching size tire. This was matching the tires that were already on their motor home. Big motor home- Big Tires and Rims- Big problems with a Flat

  22. steve davis

    I put a super air onboard tire inflation system on our parliement coach last year and it has been wonderfull picked up 2 nails in last year it notified me right away had tires fixed at truck stop cost about 20.00 each time and 1/2 hour time best money ive spent in a long time very heavy duty also

  23. john grillo

    i bought this 32 dp almost 3 years ago. no spare no tools no jack.. after 10 miles of new ownership i got a blow out… new 8r19.5 mounted with warrantee $300. that was my first shocker. tire dealer told me these tires are obsolete. manufactures are going metric.

    bought a spare tire kelly springfield. delear told me his company will continue to make my size… looked high and low for a rim.. found one in houston for $80 with tax. just happens that this bus has a place above the propane tank that accodimates the spare.

    now i have spare , tools and jack… first time i changed one tire myself took like the better part of the day with many breaks. these tires are heavy. but i had to do it my self to make sure if iam in the boonies i will be able to change a tire.

    got a impact gun from harbor frieght for $70. adapters for half inch to one inch and a set of large sockets for another $80.

    also taped the air tank with quick disconnect fitting and shut off valve.

    all in all tires tools jack about $450 but i got piece of mind knowing i got a spare system.

    since purchasing .. had 5 blow outs… all tires were under 5 years of mfg.. got some warrantee but prior owner dident take care of the tires i assume.

    john

  24. DAN

    i bought a used 4 year old 245-70/19.5 tire from a goodyear store for $40. i built a mount for the 75# unmounted spare in my storage bin.
    i switched from good sam road svc to aaa rv+ road svc.
    aaa pays to send a commercial tire provider to your location to repair or change the tire if necessary.
    with good sam, we would have to pay the commercial tire provider for this service.

  25. David U

    I just found a great item called Readyspare. It allows a person with a vehicle to check and inflate their spare tire from the convenience of their trunk. I think you can check it out on their website.

  26. Barb

    Interesting stories .Our ‘2000 36’ foot Monaco started losing rubber off a back tire on the interstate, in the dark and rain, when we had just puchased it, used.
    The noise sounded awful, the rubber beat a hole in the floor under the shower, but the tire stayed up for us to get to a large truck stop. They knew someone to call out who came equiped with flood lights etc. and had our spare put on in no time. It cost $192 but it was worth it.

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  28. the problem is when you mix any drfneieft tire types, it can mess up your handling.if one tire has a stiff sidewall and one has a soft sidewall, then you corner it can do some rather strange things.they likely have drfneieft “stickiness” if you panic stop, your car may spin on the sticky tire.if you are doing “regular driving” it should be fine,but the first time you try to avoid something, or stopping for some kid that ran out in front of your car, then you might find out why they say not to mix them.

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