How To Handle An RV Tire Blowout

This article is about how to handle an RV tire blowout.

Of course, tire blowouts are no fun regardless of what vehicle you’re in. But they’re especially serious in RVs. That’s because of all the weight that they carry.

And you also need to especially give attention to blowouts that happen on a motorhome front axle. Because it’s the the steering axle.

And because of that, a blowout can throw off your front end and cause loss of steering control.

So what can you do in the case of an RV tire blowout? Well first and foremost, prevention is key!

And before we go further, let’s talk about a few things that you need to be doing to try to prevent tire blowouts.

Watch my video on how to prevent RV tire blowouts

Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – I earn a commission if you make a purchase using our affiliate links. I only link to products and companies I use and feel comfortable recommending. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this website

An RV Tire Blowout – Prevention Is Key!

Number one is to know what tire pressure you should be running in your RV tires. Then check your tires often, and keep them at the appropriate pressure.

View my recommended RV tire pressure gauge here

Number two is to maintain the proper weight in your RV. Don’t overload it! This is a common problem. Because a lot of people overload their RV’s without even thinking about it.

So what happens is they’re putting undue pressure on the tires. And they’re actually causing them to be susceptible to a tire blowout.

The third thing has to do with when you’re not traveling down the highway. When you’re sitting still. And that is you need to keep those tires covered! So put tire covers on them.

View my recommended tire covers for RVs here

How would that help with tire blowouts, you might ask? Well the number one thing that can weaken tires, believe it or not, is UV rays from the sun.

It just bakes the sidewalls of those tires and saps the oils out of them. Then they begin to crack. And when they do, the side walls weaken in most cases.

Tire blowouts most often take place, not in the tread, but in the side wall. So make sure that you protect those side walls from being weakened by the sun.

An RV Tire Blowout – Replace Aging Tires

Also make sure that you replace your tires when they have aged out.

So check those manufacture dates on the sides of your tires. And replace them when they need it.

Now some people replace them every five years. And many manufacturers will say every six years. Whatever interval you choose, just make sure you replace them within five to six years.

And that way, you don’t leave yourself susceptible to weak old tires. Tires that could be a a blowout ready to happen.

Monitor Your Tires On The Highway

Finally be sure that you monitor your tires as you’re going down the road. And this is best accomplished with a tire pressure monitoring system.

These are great for RVers. Because they’re going to tell you what’s going on with your tires.

They will tell you not just the tire pressure, but in many cases, they’ll usually tell you also about tire temperature.

You know, tires very often telegraph that there’s a problem coming. And very often you will be able to know that because the temperature goes up in those tires.

If you know that’s happening, you can very often get off the road and get it fixed right away. Without experiencing a tire blowout.

So be sure to have a tire pressure monitoring system for your RV. And also for the tow vehicle, or the towed vehicle, if it’s a motorhome.

View my recommended tire pressure monitoring system here

Now let’s talk about what happens if you have a blowout, even though you’ve done all these things to prevent it. Because sometimes life just throws you a curve. Well, what should you do?

An RV Tire Blowout – What To Do

The experts say, number one, have both hands on the wheel and get a firm grip. But number two is not very intuitive for many people. And that is that you should keep your foot on the gas. And even accelerate some.

Now I know how we all think. When something happens in your vehicle that you’re not sure about, you usually immediately put the brakes on, right?

But in a tire blowout, it’s actually the worst thing that you can do. Why?

Well, because when you have a tire blow out the released pressure goes sideways. And it works against the direction the RV is traveling. So as a result, the front of the RV can start to be turned sideways.

Then if you put the brakes on hard at the same time, the RV rear end can start coming around. And next thing you know, you lose control. Or maybe even flip the RV.

So it’s important to keep the gas on. And that way the rear wheels are still moving you forward, trying to straighten the RV out.

Then if you’ve got both hands on the wheel, you can usually keep the RV going nice and straight.

Once the tire blowout is over and you’re still going straight, then you can start to ease your foot onto the brake slowly. And then gradually move off to the side of the road and get to a safe area.

That’s the way you really want to handle a tire blow out. At least, that’s what the tire pros tell us.

How to handle an RV tire blowout - Michelin video

Watch a Michelin video on handling a tire blowout here

Steering Support During An RV Tire Blowout

But now there’s another product that’s made to even help further with this problem. And it’s called the Safe-T-Plus Bar.

The purpose of the Safe-T-Plus Bar is to keep your front steering axle working to keep you in a straight line no matter what happens.

View a Safe-T-Plus bar for motorhomes here

I had it installed on my rig and I really noticed a steering difference when I did. The bar really does try to keep your coach going straight. No matter what side forces are applied to it. And that’s a good thing.

So it works great in tire blowouts. But it also works good in side winds too. You know, when you’re traveling down the highway in heavy winds.

These heavy winds blowing against the side of the coach may move you around on the highway. But with the Safe-T-Plus bar, I definitely can testify that it helps you be able to go straighter, easier.

Also, it helps when you’re being passed by big trucks. It keeps you from being moved around on the highway then as well.

So there’s a lot of good things that the Safe-T-Plus bar does for you. But especially in a tire blowout.

That’s when you want every bit of the odds on your side to keep that RV going straight and not turning on you.

Now I had mine installed at the Safe-T-Plus factory in Georgia. They did a great job and I highly recommend them.

But the truth is that you can install it yourself. In fact, they provide information to help you know how to install it yourself. Or you can get someone who’s mechanically inclined to do it for you.

Conclusion

So all of the suggestions I’ve given you today are about how you can handle a tire blowout in your RV.

And it’s true that motorhome and RV tire blowouts can be stressful. They’re not something you look forward to at all.

But if you are prepared. If you’ve done the work to prevent them as much as possible. Then you may never have to deal with one.

But if you do, and you know the right things to do, then you can handle an RV tire blowout. In a safe and successful manner.

Have safe and happy travels!

Flat Towing Vehicles – The Top Three Things You Will Need

Flat towing vehicles behind a motorhome is a necessity for many RVers. And in this article we’ll cover the top three things that you’re going to need for RV flat towing.

Now when we say flat towing, what does that mean? Well, what we’re talking about is towing a vehicle behind your RV. And it has all four tires on the ground.

So that’s what flat towing means. Now let’s get started on the list of the top three things you’ll need for flat towing.

Watch my video on the Top 3 things you will need to flat tow a vehicle

Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – I earn a commission if you make a purchase using our affiliate links. I only link to products and companies I use and feel comfortable recommending. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this website

Table of Contents

Flat Towing Vehicles – Tow Bar And Base Plate

Number one, you are going to need a tow bar and a base plate to make flat towing a success.

Flat towing vehicles - a tow bar and base plate in use
A tow bar and base plate in use

The tow bar goes in the hitch of your RV and has arms that extend out. Then the base plate attaches to your towed vehicle.

And the base plate is what the arms of the tow bar connect to. Then it can pull your vehicle down the road safely.

Now before you buy any vehicle out there, make sure that a base plate is available for it. The reason I say that is these days it’s hard even getting tow vehicles. Especially with the supply chain issues we are facing now.

But even if you get the vehicle, you may find that the base plate is not available for some reason.

So before you get any tow vehicle make sure you can get the base plate to connect to that vehicle for your tow bar to connect to.

What About Installation?

Now the next thing to decide is whether you’re going to install the base plate yourself or not.

Now if you’re not really mechanically inclined, I have a suggestion for you. You probably should have someone who knows what they’re doing do it for you.

That’s because base plates require a lot of alteration in many cases to the
towed vehicle. Sometimes things have to be cut out or screwed in to make it work.

And if you don’t know what you’re doing you may not do it right. So first off, decide whether you’re going to install it or not.

If you’re not going to do it, get somebody who’s really good about making those kind of alterations to vehicles. And have them do it instead.

Flat Towing Vehicles – What About Weight?

Then the next thing is to get a tow bar that fits that vehicle. Now the reason I say that is that some vehicles are very light. Like a Fiat 500. And almost any tow bar is going to work with that.

But suppose you want to pull a full-size truck. Well then, that’s quite a bit more weight.

And you probably should make sure that you get a really heavy duty tow bar that’s going to fit that kind of weight. So match the tow bar with the weight of your vehicle.

The next thing to consider is what brand are you going to buy. And there’s two major brands on the market. One is Blue Ox and the other is Roadmaster.

Honestly, either one is great. But you’re going to hear from people that say this one’s better or that one’s better.

The reality though, is they both are used extensively by RVers all over the place. And with very good success. So just make your choice and go with it. You really can’t go wrong either way.

Flat Towing Vehicles – The Braking System

Alright, so that’s your tow bar and base plate. Now the second thing you’re going to need is a braking system for that towed vehicle.

And that’s because when you’re going down the road, the car is not on. It’s turned off. And there’s no way for the brakes to be working in any way while you’re traveling down the road.

So you have to come up with a braking system for it. Because it’s a whole additional weight that you’re pulling back there.

If there’s braking on the towed vehicle, it makes it so much easier for the RV’s brakes. Now you have a couple of choices here for braking for your towed vehicle.

Built-In Braking Systems

Number one, you can get a built-in system that’s super easy and super convenient when you’re towing. Because all you have to do is just plug it into the RV’s wiring harness. And you’re ready to go.

View an RV flat towing built-in braking system here

So when you put the brakes on up in the RV, the brakes go on back in the towed vehicle as well. It’s all very easy, and very convenient.

Then when you’re done traveling, you just unhook and you’re done. However, those kind of built-in braking systems are a real challenge to install.

They’re not easy at all. And because of that, the installation can be very
expensive. Because they don’t go in real quick either.

In fact, a very experienced person may take several hours of installation time. And of course, we know how expensive that can be when mechanics
are doing that.

So it can be expensive to get a built-in towed vehicle braking system. But also to have it installed as well.

Flat Towing Vehicles – Inertia Braking Systems

So there’s another way to go here that you could choose. And that is to choose an inertia brake instead.

View an RV inertia braking system here

Inertia brakes are really just braking devices that fit right in front of your driver’s seat. And usually it has an arm that comes out and attaches to the brake pedal.

Here is another type of RV inertia braking system

Now it works on inertia. So when you put on the brakes in a car you lurch a little forward usually, right?

When the inertia brake detects that there’s a lurching forward, it pushes that arm and depresses the brake pedal.

So suppose you put on the brakes in the RV and and lurch forward some? Then in the towed vehicle, that device senses it and it puts the brake on back there too. And generally they work pretty well in most situations.

Inertia Braking Cons

But here’s the con with those kind of inertia brakes. They must be set up every time you tow. You can’t just leave it in there.

It’s not a set it and forget it device. You’ve got to put it in and take it out every time that you tow.

But the good news is that it can be transferred from one vehicle to another. So it’s not like a built-in braking system. Because it’s really hard to take that out once you’ve installed it.

And that’s because you’ve made it part of your braking system. With an inertia brake though, if you decide you want a different tow vehicle back there, just change the vehicle and the inertia brake can be used with it.

So it’s very convenient in that respect. But it takes a lot more work to put it in and take it out of the towed vehicle every time.

So when it comes to braking, you have your choice. Do you want the convenience of just plugging in every time, in a matter of minutes? And then being ready to go for your braking?

Or do you want to save money with the inertia brake? Because they’re much less expensive than buying the built-in brake and having it installed. So that’s your choice.

Flat Towing Vehicles – Lighting Systems

Now let’s move to our third thing that we are going to need for flat towing. And that is a lighting system for the towed vehicle.

So that when you put the brakes on in the RV, the brake lights in back of the towed vehicle come on too. That way people can see that you are stopping. Or when you put your turn signals on so they see that you’re turning.

Now once again there’s two options you could go with. There is a built-in option. And it’s going to require a lot of installation.

It’s not quite as involved as the braking system. But it’s going to be expensive to have someone install it for you.

Now if you do it yourself, that’ll be fine. But you better know what you’re doing when you tie in to your towed vehicle’s electrical system.

The good news is that once you do, all you do is just hook into the motorhome wiring harness. And your towing lights are all set.

Then when you put on your turn signals in the RV, they go on in the towed vehicle too. And when you put on your brakes in the RV, the lights go on back there too. And the same with your driving lights as well.

So it’s very easy, very convenient. And just plug and play so to speak. However, there is also another way to go.

Auxiliary Lighting Systems

You can buy an auxiliary lighting system instead. And these are usually made up of magnetic lights that go on the back of the towed vehicle.

They usually sit right up there on the roof. They just stick on with the provided magnets.

Flat towing vehicles - lights for the towed vehicle

And then there’s a wiring system that hooks into the wiring harness of the RV. Now the great thing about these auxiliary lights is that they’re super inexpensive.

View a set of auxiliary towing lights here

In fact, they’re only about 20 or 30 dollars for a set. And you’re off to the races.

The con is that you’re going to have to set them up every single time you tow. And you have to be careful with where you place them.

Because if you put the wiring on your vehicle’s paint, sometimes the movement of the wind can cause the wiring to scar the paint. So you have to be careful with the way that you set it up every time.

And here again there’s a choice to be made. Are you going to spend the money to have a built-in lighting system installed? Or are you going to
use the auxiliary lighting instead? It’s entirely up to you.

Conclusion

Well, those are three things you’re going to need to think about before you get that towed vehicle. Lets review them briefly:

  1. A base plate and tow bar that fits your towed vehicle
  2. A braking system for the towed vehicle
  3. A lighting system for the towed vehicle

What I recommend is, before you buy whatever vehicle you’re getting, do your homework.

Number one, find out if that vehicle can be flat towed. Because not all of them can.

If it can, find out if it has a base plate available for it. And then choose your tow bar and base plate.

After that, you have two more decisions to make. Are you going to put in a built-in braking and lighting system? Or use an auxiliary one instead. There’s pros and cons either way you go.

Well that’s it for now. Have safe and happy travels. Until next time…..

RV Tow Bar Lessons Learned When Mine Broke

This article is about some really important lessons I learned when my RV tow bar broke. And it happened while I was towing my Honda CRV down the highway.

You know, I’ve been thinking for a while about what some of the risks are about towing vehicles. And about how I can minimize some of those risks.

So before we left on a 3000 mile trip cross country, I decided to make a couple of purchases. Items that I thought might help me safety-wise as I’m going down the road.

And boy am I glad I did!!!! Because in Fort Worth, Texas at the convergence of two major highways, my tow bar broke.

Watch my video about what happened when my tow bar broke

Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – I earn a commission if you make a purchase using our affiliate links. I only link to products and companies I use and feel comfortable recommending. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this website

Table of Contents

What Happened When My RV Tow Bar Broke

So immediately we had to get off the highway. And move over a couple of lanes of traffic as we did. Of course, you can imagine how difficult that can be with a big rig!

Finally, we got into an area where it was safe enough to stop. And cars were whizzing by at 75 and 80 miles an hour.

Now I’ve got to apologize to you because I see these RV YouTube channels where things like this happens.

And the first thing that comes to their mind is to grab that video camera. Then go out there and video the whole mess, or at least take a few pictures.

Well I apologize because that was the last thing on my mind at that point. I’ve got to tell you, in situations like that I feel a lot of stress and anxiety.

So the only thing that was on my mind was to get this situation resolved safely. And then try to get back on the road in a safe manner.

So I don’t have any video or pictures to show you of what actually happened. But as a first person account, I can tell you it was very stressful.

It was really challenging, and I don’t want to have to go through that again anytime soon.

But what happened there, the breaking of that towbar, set things in motion. Things that really taught me some very good lessons. And made me glad I had done what I did before we left on this trip.

Lesson #1 Learned When My RV Tow Bar Broke

So let’s start with lesson number one. And that is to make sure that you have a really good functioning rear camera.

Now I had a rear camera in my 2004 Newmar Kountry Star. But when a rig is that old, there’s all kinds of little issues that develop with various components.

And sure enough, in the last year or so, I started having trouble with that camera. It would just sort of go out on me all of a sudden without warning.

And it could be out for a minute or it could be out for an hour or more. So during that time I wouldn’t know what’s going on behind me.

Now when I realized that this was going to be an ongoing problem, I got somebody working on it. First of all, I replaced the camera and that didn’t solve the problem.

Then I had some other people try to diagnose it. And as soon as they looked at it, it was not showing any problem at all. It was functioning fine.

So I got to thinking about it. And I kind of figured that this really sounds like it’s more of an electrical problem. Maybe a short somewhere in the wiring system.

Now I’m sure there are some of you who know a lot about electrical issues
and shorts. And if so, you know you could spend forever looking for this kind of thing and still not find it. Meanwhile, it could become very expensive.

RV Rear Camera Systems Can Be Challenging For Big Rigs

So I finally decided, I’ve had enough of this. I’m just going to buy a new
wireless rear camera and install it myself.

But that has its own set of issues. Just go on Amazon and start reading about rear view cameras for RVs.

You’ll see that there’s a lot of folks that complain that they don’t work very well for long RVs. I mean for short ones they’re okay.

But when you get up to 35 to 40 feet and beyond, a lot of RVers were complaining. They said that they just didn’t have enough signal to reach that far.

So I just kept looking. Finally I finally found a rear view camera system that said it was designed for longer rigs. And I got it.

Well, boy am I glad I did! Because that’s how I knew that the tow bar had broke.

How The Rear Camera Helped When MY RV Tow Bar Broke

While I’m driving, I always make a visual sweep of my gauges that are in front of me. And of my mirrors as I’m going down the road.

So I check from time to time on a regular basis to make sure that everything’s where it should be.

And while I was visually sweeping my gauges, I looked up into my rear view camera. When I did, there’s my car back there moving from side to side as I’m going down the highway.

Now it should be following straight behind me, but it wasn’t. In fact, there was a couple of times I could see it in my side mirror.

So I knew right away that there was a major problem with the tow bar. And that meant I had to get over to the side of the road and get this
resolved before it got worse.

Sure enough, seeing that situation in the rear view camera really saved me. Because if I hadn’t gotten over then, there’s a very good chance that the second bar would have broken too. And that could have been really bad!

So my first lesson is simple. Always make sure that you have a good functioning rear view camera when towing. That way you know what’s going on back there with your towed vehicle.

Lesson #2 Learned When My RV Tow Bar Broke

Now let’s get to lesson number two. And that is to always make sure that you have a good functioning tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). One that has sensors for your RV and for the vehicle behind it too.

Now I wrote an article a while back on RV tire pressure. And I covered how to manually make sure your tire pressures are where they should be.

I also explained how to check the tire pressure before you leave out on a trip. And it’s still very good advice.

But I got to thinking about RV towing in more detail. And I thought that’s great for my motorhome. But what about the vehicle I tow behind the RV?

I might be able to tell something’s wrong with the motorhome’s tires as I’m going down the road. But I will never know if the tires are having a problem in the towed vehicle.

Horror Stories I’ve Heard About Towing

And I’ve heard some stories that aren’t really very encouraging in regards to this. I’ve read about people towing a car, and they have a flat tire that they never feel in the RV.

So the flat tire just gets worse and worse. And then the rubber wears away and you have the rim right on pavement.

Now when you continue driving with the rim on pavement, it’s very easy to start throwing sparks. And I’ve even heard of situations where this has gone on for many, many miles. Finally the sparks can cause a fire in the towed vehicle.

So all of this was on my mind. And I decided then to not only install a TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) unit on my motorhome. But also make sure there were enough sensors for that towed vehicle as well.

A Near Tire Blowout When My RV Tow Bar Broke

And once again, boy am I glad I did! Because remember I said that when
one thing went wrong, other problems developed from it.

Well when the tow bar broke, it meant I had to get a new one. So I ordered one in right away. But I noticed it was really stiff from the factory.

I mean it was so stiff that I could barely pull the two connecting bars apart. But I thought if it’s coming from the factory that way, maybe there’s a reason for it being that stiff initially. And maybe it’ll loosen up pretty quickly.

So I went ahead and installed it. Then I hooked the tow vehicle up, and
down the highway I went.

Well it wasn’t long going down the highway before my TPMS unit alarm starts going off. And it’s telling me that both front tires have reached the danger zone for internal tire temperature.

Why You Need A Good RV TPMS

This because the good TPMS units don’t just tell you about your tire pressure. They also tell you what the temperature is inside each tire.

And at 200 degrees or so inside a tire, that’s about the point where they start coming apart. So the TPMS unit warns you at 165 degrees.

Well, both my front tires were at 165 degrees inside the tire. So of course, we pull right over immediately. And we unhooked the CRV. Then we caravanned on to the next stop.

As we were driving, I got to thinking that it can’t be the tires themselves. Because you wouldn’t have two of them having a problem at the same time.

I also knew that tow bar was pretty stiff. So at the rest stop I loosened up that tow bar a little bit. Then I adjusted it some more and got it to where it was much more pliable.

What’s Happened Since I Got A TPMS

Now the good news is that since I did that I haven’t had any problem with my CRV’s front tires. Especially not while towing.

So my point is this. Suppose I hadn’t had those sensors on my tires in the tow vehicle. In that case, I would never have known what was going on as I was towing the car down the highway.

So I probably would have been blissfully driving along while the tire temperature just kept rising. And eventually I could have had two blowouts, not just one. You can imagine how difficult that could have been!

So both things that I addressed before I left on the trip, actually came into good use. And I wanted to share that with you so hopefully it will be of some benefit for you.

Let’s Review The Lessons Learned When My RV Tow Bar Broke

Now let’s review. Number one is make sure you have a good functioning rear view camera system. And that’s true whether you’re flat towing or using a tow dolly.

It is also important whether you have a towable RV behind you or you are towing a small vehicle behind a motorized RV.

Whatever your setup is, make sure that you can see what’s going on back there.

But then take that one step further. And have a tire pressure monitoring system installed too. One that includes not only the tow vehicle, but what’s being towed behind as well.

That way you will know what’s going on with the towed vehicle’s tires. Because that’s really where the rubber literally meets the road.

Now the good news in all of this is this. So far both of these systems, the rear view camera and the TPMS, have functioned beautifully.

And I can say that I have a lot more peace of mind now. Because of knowing that I have this information readily available to me as I drive.

So I know about what’s going on, not only in the vehicle I’m driving, but in the one I’m towing too.

Conclusion

Now I’m going to put links to both of those systems here. And that way you can look at them and see what you think.

Click here to view our TireMinder TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system)

Click here to view our rear camera setup for longer rigs

And if you think it’s something that might work for you, then great! Because both of these systems have worked very well for me.

Of course, whatever you decide to do is fine. But I highly recommend that you get that rear camera installed and make sure it’s working. And then get a TPMS for your RV and put some sensors on your towed vehicle as well.

Well that’s it for now. Have safe and happy travels my friends. Until next time…

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