|The punctured inner dually, before removal from the truck|
I had intended to repair the damaged tire, and use it as a spare until I replaced all six tires later in the year. I removed the offending self-drilling screw (see picture) and plugged the hole using a tire repair kit. I wanted to see if the tire was okay after inflating, and if it was, I intended to have a tire shop install an internal patch.
When I inflated the tire, it was immediately apparent that the tire sidewalls were severely damaged. There were several obvious bulges, where the belt structure inside the tire had come apart, as a result of running flat, even though the other tire of the pair was carrying the weight.
I was faced with a decision. These were the options:
1. Get a new Michelin to match the tires on the truck, which are 75% worn. Cost $240.
2. Get a cheap Chinese tire from Walmart to use as a spare. Cost $140.
3. Drive on to Naples FL, and replace all 6 tires, as I planned on doing later in the year.
4. Drive on to Naples, and replace 2 front tires, using one of the old fronts as a spare.
Options 3 and 4 would involve driving to Naples with no spare tire. In Naples, I can obtain Firestone Transforce tires at a favorable price, because we have time to order from tirerack.com. I have decided on Firestone Transforce tires for the truck, as I have had previous experience with them on my Ford F350, and they are a commercial tire with an excellent track record.
I decided on option 4. I will replace the front tires in Naples, and replace the remaining 4 rear tires later in the summer, in Ontario. There is a very small risk involved in continuing on with no spare. If the unthinkable happens and another tire goes flat, I can still get off the highway to an area where I can park the rig. Because the truck is a dually, if a rear tire goes, I am still mobile, albeit at a reduced speed, for a short distance. If it is a front tire, I can "borrow" a rear tire to install on the front to get to a safe spot. The chances of another tire going in the next 700 miles are quite remote. I have covered probably 140,000 towing miles since we started fifthwheeling 12 years ago, and this is the first time I have had a problem with a truck tire.
Wish us luck!