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Old 08-10-2019, 12:45 PM   #1
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Flat tire

I have a 2018 33' Keystone Springdale Travel Trailer, maximum weight of 9700 lbs, 2 slideouts. I have dual axles near the center of my RV with 4 tires. I was wondering is it ok to drive on 3 wheels slowly for a short distance should I get a flat tire.Click image for larger version

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Old 08-10-2019, 12:50 PM   #2
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It's definitely not ideal, but if you're 5 miles from a tire shop, go ahead. Just bear in mind that it will handle differently and won't be as stable.



I'm averaging a blow out about once a decade, so I've stopped carrying spare tires. They are just added weight for something I'm very unlikely to need.
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Old 08-10-2019, 05:43 PM   #3
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A flat tire? If you find it before you start, air it up. If something causes the tire to lose pressure, likely you will not know until pieces of tire are beating the snot out of trailer.
Even a short distance at 50% pressure is likely to turn tire to scrap.
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Old 08-11-2019, 05:21 AM   #4
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I just want to get off the highway at the next exit for safety reasons. This did happen to me years ago so I added air and got to the Goodyear tire store. In this case it was a slow leak and deflated overnight, not when I was driving.
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:47 AM   #5
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I am interested in this question also. I am hoping one of the "tire people" who have posted before will provide technical details about driving short distances with grossly overloaded tires.
Does it break up internal components, etc?
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Old 08-11-2019, 09:03 AM   #6
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Scoopydoo
I just want to get off the highway at the next exit for safety reasons. This did happen to me years ago so I added air and got to the Goodyear tire store. In this case it was a slow leak and deflated overnight, not when I was driving.
You have a flat at hiway speed, most likely the tire is junk by the time you stop. Risk your life to save a junk tire and damage to the trailer? Don't be ridiculous.
But one thing most people don't think of; Most tire traps that are not picked up are thrown to shoulder. You limp down the shoulder to a safe place to change, best spend some time looking at the other tires. Might find something that would have you limping down another shoulder.
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Old 08-11-2019, 10:04 AM   #7
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I was towing a 5th wheel with China bombs at 65mph thru Knoxville Tn. I had a blowout that semi trashed the tire. It did no damage to the 5th wheel. Lucky there was an exit with a Red Roof Inn 1/4 mile up the highway. The single remaining China bomb tire on same side as the blowout held about 3/8's of a mile until I took the exit and got into the Red Roof Inn parking lot. We spent the night in the Red Roof Inn and the next morning I changed the tire. Now with no spare we did make it the rest of the way to Crystal River Fl. for the winter.

While in Crystal River I replaced the China bombs with Michelin XPS Rib tires. The reason I feel confident in calling the original tires China bombs is they were much lighter with a flimsy side walls compared to the Michelin XPS Ribs.

So I made it 3/8's of a mile with one inflated tire on one side on a 5th wheel.

More info - this blowout was a big gaping hole in the sidewall. I have had two other blowout while towing my friends 5th wheel from Crystal River Fl to Jacksonville Fl. One blowout sounded like a shotgun blast and the tire shredded and damaged the trailer. The other blowout on this same trip also sounded like a shotgun but did not damage the trailer any further. The blowout on my 5th wheel did not make a loud sound. I saw rubber debris coming from the tire. But no shotgun blasting sound.

I would be interested in other stories of how far you made it on 1 tire on after a blowout.
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:18 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bro61021 View Post
I was wondering is it ok to drive on 3 wheels slowly for a short distance should I get a flat tire.Attachment 256448
bro61021,

I think there are a few things to consider. First, does the other tire on that side have the proper tire pressure? If it's not aired to the maximum (thereby allowing the maximum load) then I would say you shouldn't trust it to get you down the road.

Second, you must drive SLOWLY. If you're like me, it will be hard to force yourself to keep the speed down -- way down. I would limit my speed to 25-35 mph or so. You're going to have traffic backed up behind you.

Third, be sure you remove the flat tire from the axle. I once had a flat on a triple axle trailer and thought I could drive the last few miles even though I knew one of the tires was flat. I had a tire pressure monitoring system that gave a warning. By the time I got to the campground that flat tire was ruined. If I hadn't driven on it I may have been able to have it repaired, but driving on it ruined it.

Since you must remove the flat from the axle anyway, which means jacking the trailer up, you might as well install the spare.
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Old 08-27-2019, 07:59 AM   #9
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Sometimes you have no choice but to keep driving. However, at some point the remaining tire on that side will be damaged from the additional load and need replacement. For this reason, I now carry two spare tires on my car trailer; along with a TPMS for the trailer and motorhome.

I had a flat on an earlier car trailer. Replaced with the spare, then stopped at a tire store to buy another spare. Just to be safe, I asked for the remaining tire to be dismounted for inspection. While the tire looked OK, the inside was significantly deteriorated so I ended up buying 2 new tires. For clarification, I had been driving an unknown distance with one tire flat and didn't know this until alerted by a nice driver of a passing 18 wheeler. At that point, I began thinking about a TPMS and, after lots of procrastination, finally bought one with 10 sensors (Wife: what did that system cost? Me: around $400. Wife: what does a motorhome tire cost? Around $400. Wife: OK)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bro61021 View Post
I have a 2018 33' Keystone Springdale Travel Trailer, maximum weight of 9700 lbs, 2 slideouts. I have dual axles near the center of my RV with 4 tires. I was wondering is it ok to drive on 3 wheels slowly for a short distance should I get a flat tire.Attachment 256448
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Old 08-27-2019, 01:32 PM   #10
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Yes it is OK to limp off the highway and if the tire shop is close enough to ahead and go there slowly. In most cases the other tire on that side will make it but even if you stop right away that tire is already compromised because it is carrying double the weight it was intended to, even if only for a short distance. Smart money changes both tires on that side and keeps the good tire for an emergency spare.
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Old 08-27-2019, 04:23 PM   #11
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Flat tire

We were traveling south on I-95, just outside of Washington D.C. when a trucker blew by us (we were doing 65 mph) and honked his horn.
I looked into the side mirror and saw smoke coming from one of the tires. I eased over into the breakdown lane and when I went out to check, it was pretty obvious we blew out a bearing.
My Bride and I had done our bearing service just before we left and we had already traveled 2,000 miles when the bearing went out. It appeared that the outer bearing froze on the shaft as the tire had a flat spot worn into it.
We we just about a quarter mile from a rest stop, so we put on the 4-way flashers and made it there. When I pulled the tire, the brake drum came off with it. It was a mess! No bearings anywhere! Grease all over.
And I could see that the outer bearing surface has sustained some damage....gouge marks on the bearing surface.
I tried to find a repair shop close by, but all the RV dealerships were booked and some even said they don't do trailer bearings.
Another couple pulled in next to us in their Class C motorhome. After an exchange of pleasantries, he told me about a repair shop that he used in Hampton, VA - Hibbard's Iron Works, about 100 miles away. I tried using both my Good Sam and Progressive towing insurance, but was told they would only take us 15 miles or to the nearest repair shop.
I called Hibbard's Iron Works and spoke with them. Yes they said, they could fix it. The shop suggested coming in on 3 tires. I admit, I was a bit paranoid, but traffic was pretty slow anyway and we stuck to non-interstate highways as much as possible.
We couldn't get to Hibbard's before closing, so we found a campground close-by for the night.
At 8:05 AM the following morning, we arrived, still on 3 tires. We made it! After 10 or 15 minutes of discussion, we dropped our Element in the parking lot and walked across the street to McDonald's for breakfast. By the time we finished at McDonald's, our Element was in a service bay and repairs started! We were told to return in about 4 hours.
We bummed around for a bit, did some shopping and returned as directed. They were just finishing up! I asked about the damage to the spindle and they told me we "should be OK." We paid the bill which included polishing the spindle, checking all the other bearings, and new grease caps.
We continued on our vacation and experienced no further issues with the bearings.
But then, I'm a bit paranoid about bearings. We've now towed two different travel trailers a total of 140,000 miles and this was our first bearing failure.
So to answer your question.....yes, you can do it on three wheels, but remember, we did take the wheel off.
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