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Do Travel Trailers Come with Tire Jacks

At some point, all campers will experience a flat tire while pulling their travel trailer.

In most cases, you’ll be able to call someone to change out the tire for you.

But what happens if you have no cell service?

Or maybe it’s going to be hours before help arrives?

This is when a tire jack can really come in handy.

But do travel trailers come with tire jacks?

In most cases, all new travel trailers will come with a tire jack! However, if you buy a used travel trailer you might not be so lucky! If this is the case, I strongly recommend that it be one of your first purchases.

What Kind of Jack Do I Need?

The type of jack you need will depend on the size of your tires, the tongue weight, and how much labor you are willing to perform in the middle of your adventure.

There are two types of travel trailer jacks:

Manual trailer jacks

Very similar to an old-school car jack, manual trailer jacks are a cheap but labor-intensive way to level your travel trailer.

Manual jacks are comprised of a hand crank that can lift or lower a trailer’s tongue.

While the basic level mechanisms will help maximize your strength, they will still be your strength doing most of the work.

On the other hand, manual trailer jacks tend to be cheaper and more resilient than their alternative.

Electric trailer jacks

Electrical power can be a great alternative to raw muscle for those who can afford it.

Electric trailer jacks offer precisely this.

An electric jack is a 12-V machine that you can charge using your RV’s secondary electrical system.

It consists of a gear-powered mechanism that can lift your trailer tongue to a pre-set height.

On your side, all you need to do is press the “go” button.

Most models also include a manual mode that will allow you to level your travel trailer if you lose power.

Electric jacks are powerful machines, and as such, they are not usually cheap.

The larger the jack, the larger the trailer it can lift – but this will also increase its cost.

Most often, when travel trailers come with a jack, the manufacturer includes a manual one.

What Size Jack Do I Need?

When we talk about a jack’s size, we are usually referring to its lifting capacity.

The jack you will need will depend on the size of your trailer and the tongue weight as you will be using the jack to lift the front of the travel trailer.

Available sizes include:

  • Under 2500 pounds
  • Under 3000 pounds
  • Under 5000 pounds
  • Under 8000 pounds

It is unlikely that a travel trailer’s tongue will weigh above 8000 pounds, even when fully loaded.

Yet, it is just as unlikely that you will know the tongue’s weight off the top of your head.

As a general safety rule, the tongue weight should not be above 8 or 10% of the trailer’s total weight.

However, if you stack up many things in the middle, keeping track of this may be challenging.

To be sure, assume that the tongue’s weight is 15% of the total weight of your trailer.

If you fall close to the limit between two sizes, go for the larger: this will help your jack operate more efficiently and will help it work better for longer.

Where Does the Jack Go on a Travel Trailer?

The correct position for your jack will depend on the type of work you are trying to accomplish.

If you are simply trying to change a tire, you should put the jack right beneath the tire’s axle that you will change.

You might also like: How Long Do RV Tires Last

If you are trying to do another type of repair, you will most likely want to use the jack to provide extra stability or protect the travel trailer from vibrations.

In these cases, the jack should be as close as possible to where you are performing your work.

Always try to support the top of the jack beneath the trailer’s axle or frame.

Structurally, these are the most resilient and most robust points of the bed of your trailer.

This will make it less likely for the bed to bend while being lifted.

What Else Do I Need to Change a Tire on a Travel Trailer?

In addition to a tire rack, you will need a 4-way lug wrench, a breaker bar with a spare socket, and an extra tire to change a tire on a travel trailer.

If you want to make the operation more comfortable, you should also get a pair of utility gloves.

To change the tire on the trailer, you should:

  1. Set the parking brake on the truck
  2. Ensure the towed vehicle is correctly attached to the trailer
  3. Place wheel chocks around all the other tires
  4. Break the tire’s lug nuts loose using a 4-way lug wrench, one by one
  5. Use the breaker bar to remove the lugs almost wholly.
  6. Set the jack on the axle, close to the tire you are about to change
  7. Lift the vehicle slightly with the jack
  8. Finish removing the lug nuts and the tire
  9. Replace the tire
  10. Secure the lug nuts back in place
  11. Remove the jack

If you are using a manual jack, you may want to empty the travel trailer before replacing the tire.

This is not necessary, but it can make it easier to raise the jack.

Is it Safe to Jack Up a Travel Trailer?

Usually, jacking up a travel trailer is safe as long as you follow proper precautions.

First, it is vital to jack up only one side at a time.

When jacked, at least two more tires should still be safely on the ground.

As mentioned above, make sure your hand brakes are down and place wheel chucks around all other tires.

Conclusion

Murphy’s Law states that mishaps never happen when convenient, including flat tires on a travel jack.

This is why you should always wonder, “do travel trailers come with tire jacks?” before you set off on a long trip.

Double-check the jack type and size to ensure it is appropriate for your trailer’s loaded weight.

To replace a tire, you will also need some extra tools and to follow some basic precautions.

Safety always comes before saving time!