After towing our caravan nearly 25,000km around Australia, we were starting to think it was immune to problems – until we reached Queensland and were faced with our first flat tyre, that is.
We hadn’t travelled far towards our next camp spot in the Atherton Tablelands when the caravan started to feel unstable. Since we didn’t know what we were dealing with, the first thing we did was look for a safe place to pull over.
Choosing a suitable spot to pull over
About 1km away, we found a wide verge on the side of the road where we could inspect the car and caravan tyre. As we suspected, the van had a flat tyre on the driver’s side.
We were on a bit of a blind corner, so we decided it would be safer to pull over even further, at least three metres off the road. Luckily for us, this spot had a hard, even surface and plenty of space.
Changing the caravan tyre
We’d fitted new tyres to the van before we left Melbourne, so we’d already been through the process.
Safety is always key for us, so we remembered to follow some important procedures, such as engaging the handbrake of both the caravan and the car. And since we were towing, we also kept the caravan hitched.
Thankfully, changing the tyre on the road was no more difficult than doing so at home in our garage. But in a different location, it could have been a lot harder.
- Be aware of how the caravan feels when towing. We were able to identify the flat early on because we’d noticed changes in both steering and ease of towing.
- Take your time. We found a suitable place to change the tyre by assessing the situation before taking action.
- Don’t assume other drivers can see you. We kept our hazard lights on, and Court also watched out for traffic.
- Be careful where you tow. We suspect that the tyre picked up a screw at a waste-transfer station when we dropped off used engine oil, so we might leave the van behind in such situations in future.
By keeping cool heads and following a few important safety procedures, we were able to safely change our tyre and get back on the road without a hitch.
Drew and Court are a Melbourne couple who are travelling around Australia for the next 10 months. They’re writing about their experiences for Without a Hitch, giving us the real story of life on the road.
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