Even an [immaculately maintained] caravan isn’t immune to the odd flat tyre. And when you get one, chances are you won’t be in an ideal place either. It’s important to remain calm and always act safely. We look at the things you need to know when changing a tyre on a caravan while you’re on the road.
Safety first (second and third)
- Find a safe place to pull over – ideally completely off the road in an emergency lane or driveway. Make the call; if getting off the road is not an option you may have to change the tyre immediately. Otherwise, you’ll need to ‘nurse’ your caravan to elsewhere.
- Don’t take chances – never assume drivers can see you, even during the day. Switch on your hazard lights before exiting the car. Wear a safety vest or hi-vis shirt and put out your safety triangle if you have one.
- Keep children in the car. And if another adult is present, have them assist and act as lookout.
There’s a range of jacks out there, but in this guide we’re sticking with a classic bottle or scissor jack. Make sure you’ve read our Understanding your caravan guide, so that you know your way around. Here’s a step-by-step guide to jacking:
- Optionally, bring the flat tyre up onto a block to make jacking easier, especially with a nearside flat, as cambered roads will tilt the caravan towards the kerb.
- Engage both car and caravan handbrakes. It is unsafe to just put your car in park.
- For added safety, keep the caravan connected to the car at all times.
- Chock up the far-side tyre(s).
- Locate the caravan’s jacking point (refer to your user manual).
- If the ground is soft or uneven, use a base plate (dedicated or otherwise) to ensure the jack remains steady.
- Extend the jack to meet the jacking point. Ensure that it properly connects. Continue until you feel the jack take on the caravan’s weight.
- Just before the tyre leaves the ground, loosen the wheel nuts with the wheel brace.
- Jack the caravan until the tyre clears the ground and you can easily remove the wheel.
Warning: Never get under your caravan while it is jacked up.
Fitting the spare
It’s just like fitting a car spare:
- Fit the spare to the hub. If you used a block at the beginning, remove it. You’ll notice there’s now plenty of room to refit the wheel without further jacking.
- Hand-tighten the wheel nuts (see point 4 below).
- Lower the caravan, keeping the jack in place.
- Using the wheel brace, tighten the wheel nuts firmly, moving in a diagonally opposed pattern until all nuts are tightened.
- Check wheel nut torque using a torque wrench to manufacturer’s recommendation.
- Un-chock the far-side wheel(s).
While changing a caravan tyre roadside isn’t recommended, it’s sometimes your only option. Remember that your safety and that of your occupants is your primary concern so take it easy and take your time.
Check out our Pre-travel caravan safety checklist to learn more about prepping for your big trip.