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Nightmare: Popular YouTubers Drive RV 200 Miles with No Brakes

Going anywhere in your RV without brakes is a bad idea. It’s not only dangerous, it’s a nightmare.

But one couple made it over 200 miles before they realized their predicament.

Today, we’re taking a peek at what to do if you end up in this dangerous situation. Buckle up because it’s about to be a bumpy ride.

Let’s hit the road!

Damaged tire after tire blowout at high speed on the highway

RVers Lose Their RV Brakes During Tire Blowout

The couple behind the popular YouTube channel HappilyEverHanks had a near miss while driving south from the Yukon Territory. They describe their harrowing experience from the side of the highway. 

While traveling through a mountain pass, Renee and Kyle’s 35-foot fifth wheel had what could’ve been a catastrophe. One of the wheels on the trailer blew out, and at 110 PSI, that’s a big deal. Even though they were able to pull over safely, they quickly realized they weren’t out of hot water yet. 

Well, more specifically, they were out of water. The blowout ruptured the valve on their freshwater tank. Thankfully, it missed their propane line, which would’ve been a much bigger problem.

They also realized their RV brakes were damaged but wouldn’t know the full extent until later. A kind-hearted trucker stopped to help change the tire when their impact drill’s battery died, and they got back on the road. 

As they motored on to their next stop, the couple didn’t know they were in a precarious situation. Once they reached their campsite, they saw that for the last 220 miles, they were in danger of losing it all. It turns out that both of their RV brakes were gone! 

We’re glad they managed to arrive safely at their destination. 

Can You Tow an RV Without Brakes?

This nightmare scenario isn’t uncommon for those of us who spend significant time on the road. Safety measures fail, and the unexpected happens. 

Engineers developed brakes to make traveling safer. Sure, you can tow an RV without them in place, but we don’t recommend it. In this case, you’ve got to rely on your vehicle’s stopping power alone.

While it’s generally unsafe, it’s still a way to get your rig to a mechanic if you don’t have any other options. 

A better way to treat this issue would be to call a mobile mechanic, but that’s not always possible. In the video, Kyle and Renee were outside cell range, and their Starlink couldn’t connect.

There’s never a good place for this sort of thing to happen. Up on a mountain pass is probably the most dangerous we can imagine. 

One thing the couple did that worked well was driving slowly. After the tire blowout and repair, they didn’t go over 45 MPH on the drive to the campsite. While it added time to their journey, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Call a tow truck if you don’t trust your abilities to get your trailer home safely. They’ll have the tools to get your rig to a mechanic without incident. 

Do you know: How Do You Check RV Brakes?

Why Do RV Tire Blowouts Cause So Much Damage?

Many RV tires are inflated far beyond that of your standard vehicle. For example, passenger car tires are usually at 35 PSI, but on your rig, they’re more like 95 to 110. And, while they’re designed to handle the extra pressure, when they go, it’s epic.

Your camper also has many sensitive parts and systems that run along the bottom. Explosive forces can damage electrical equipment, propane, and water tanks, leaving you stranded. 

Even if you’re prepared to change it, you could still be out of luck and facing costly repairs.

Because of the likelihood of danger, it’s a good idea to turn the propane gas valve off during travel. That way, you’re not looking back at a ball of flame should a tire blowout happen.

Finally, your slideouts also run along the bottom of your trailer and can easily be destroyed in this situation. Instead of just a quick change, you could have to replace your whole rig.

Can You Prevent an RV Tire Blowout?

When it comes to your RV, preventing a tire blowout isn’t an exact science. If we knew when certain issues would arise, we’d never have to deal with them. But there are some things you can do to keep your rig’s wheels maintained to reduce the possibility. 

One prominent factor that causes failure in your radials is misuse. Exceeding their weight capacity too often can cause significant damage. 

Keeping your eyes on the road can also prevent you from driving over large potholes and debris. Remember that older equipment is more likely to give out under poor conditions. 

The biggest factor seems to be underinflation. Good Sam says it leads to 90 percent of RV tire blowouts.

Regular inspections can prevent catastrophic failure in most cases. Check air pressure and look for wear and tear daily when on the road. Then, correct anything you find as soon as possible to keep things running smoothly. 

Deep Dive: RV Tire Blowouts: 7 Tips to Prevent an Awful Accident.

What to Do if You Have an RV Tire Blowout

Kyle and Renee experienced their RV tire blowout on a mountain road, which isn’t ideal. They had to make some decisions quickly to ensure their safety on the narrow pass. Several things they did are best practices when this unfortunate event happens.

First, the couple moved off the roadway as far as possible after slowing down and not slamming on their brakes. Once in a safe spot, they turned on their hazard lights and inspected the damage. 

A good idea shared in the video is having only one person on the traffic side of the vehicle at a time. That way, someone will be on the lookout for oncoming traffic.

Then, using their jack and other tools, they changed the tire as quickly as possible. A portable air pump here is vital as your spare may not be at the correct pressure.

Finally, once the couple got things back under control, they held a slower speed until they could thoroughly inspect the damage to their rig.

If you’re in this situation, following these steps will make it as painless as possible. Sometimes, you can’t solve the problem on your own. Your safety is always the most important thing, so call for help instead of trying to be a hero.

Man looking afraid as he's driving an RV that might have bad brakes

Be Prepared for Roadside Emergencies

Even if you take all the precautions discussed here, you could still find yourself in a roadside accident. RV tire blowouts aren’t the only issues you could face. Having supplies on hand to deal with mishaps is essential. 

We recommend having an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times. Here are some suggestions of what to keep in yours.

Air compressors are a necessary item for any kit. Some can harness power from your battery to inflate tires with higher PSIs than others. We also like having road flares or reflective cones to protect you when you’re reinflating at night or on the road.

Flashlights are great for when you need to inspect, but they’re not the only way to illuminate the problem. Headlamps are one of our must-haves since they leave you hands-free and able to make repairs. Keep a rechargeable power bank handy, too, for portable electronics. 

First-aid kits and a toolbox are also crucial so you have what you need to fix mechanical or personal issues. Simply keeping a box of bandages on board won’t cut it. Burn gel, bleed stop, and pain medications are additional items that could prove useful.

Finally, wheel chocks are probably already in your rig. But, if you have to stop on an incline or uneven surface, they’re lifesavers. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list of things you should have handy in the case of an emergency. However, it’s a good start that could help you or someone else in a roadside calamity.

Keep your tires inflated properly with VIAIR 450P-RV/45053 Automatic Portable Compressor.

An Ounce of Prevention

Tire blowouts are more than just inconvenient. They could cause your RV brakes to fail, too. As we saw in the HappilyEverHanks video, it’s easy to miss a problem that could lead to dangerous situations.

But, with regular maintenance and reasonable precautions, you can ward off the worst. Be prepared for anything when you’re on the road, and you won’t be caught off guard.

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