Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An Enlightinging Idea about the Continental Spare Tire Kit

When we are in Williamsburg, Virginia, we like to walk around the historic area after dark. It is quiet, peaceful, and history seems to come to life in the shadows. We park in a lot on the edge of the historic area that is very dark. The spaces, while fine for cars, are just a little short for the Roadtrek even if I pull the tires all the way up to the wooden log that serves as a curb for each space. When I looked the back of the Roadtrek was sticking out into the exit lane by the length of the Continental Spare Tire kit on the back. The spare on the back adds about a foot in length to the standard Roadtrek length.

During the day, the Roadtrek is clearly visible to anyone driving past in such a situation, but I noticed while parked here at night that from the side, if driving down the entrance/exit lane, the Roadtrek was almost completely in the dark - and there was the spare tire sticking out into the lane. That night walking around in Williamsburg I kept thinking that this was really not good. There is no reflector on the side of the Roadtrek at all and the only reflectors on the rear are up in the air on the lights that are on the top halves of the cargo doors. I wondered why Roadtrek had not added reflectors to the Continental Spare Tire Kit - and it was certainly shaped to accommodate their placement. I decided that a trip to Walmart was in order. And, of course, we when got back to the Roadtrek that night I headed over to the 24 hour Walmart in Williamsburg.

I was not certain if I wanted to use plastic reflectors or reflector tape. I looked through what they had in the auto department and decided that the plastic reflectors with an adhesive backing would never stay on during all types of weather and temperature. I found the reflective tape and it just did not look reflective to me. You should have seen us walking around the store to where there were lights focusing down to a spot where I could hold the tape package and see how well the tape reflected the light. Pretty much it looked no more reflective than the red duct tape that they had. Then I saw a package of reflective strips intended to be placed on a truck bumper. This was very reflective and combined both red and white foil reflectors in each strip. Cut down this would work perfectly. It installed with an strong adhesive backing and should hold much better than the stick on foam that was on the plastic reflectors. (I did not want to drill holes to screw anything on.)

When I get an idea, no matter what time it is, I have to see it through. We purchased the reflective strips and went out to the Roadtrek in the parking lot where there was plenty of light. I knew that the campground was too dark - and besides, do it now when there is nothing else to do than wait until the morning and take the time for things we had planned. And it was not raining...

We cleaned the Continental Spare Tire cover with household cleaner that we have in the Roadtrek and paper towels. I washed it well and dried it completely. I cut the long strips into pieces and placed the side strips on - which were for the time being the most important. I decided that I would wait until I got home to do any more - but at night with just the side strips we would be fine in the dark parking lot. The large white strip at the top and the large red strip at the bottom are what we put on that night.The dots you see were added after we got home and I punched those from this same material with a 3/4" leather punch. It punched very cleanly.

At home I was pulling into my driveway behind the Roadtrek and realized that I could not see the back of the Continental Spare  Tire Kit at all in the dark. I had the reflector strips so I added the two red strips that you see here on the bumps that are molded into the tire cover.  The s original strip was cut lengthwise in half to fit here perfectly. Of course, everything was cut to matching size using a ruler and when stuck on I made sure with the ruler that each strip was as close as possible in a matching position. The bottom white strip was the last added, because I saw that my small car's headlights were not lighting up the upper reflectors.

I look at this now, and wonder, "too much?" I really don't think so. We are out of the campground a lot at night and the Roadtrek is very dark in a lot of parking lots. This added just enough to make the part of the Roadtrek that sticks out the most visible. Even if they are able to see the side of the Roadtrek - you could not see the spare tire sticking out the back - and if you cut it close, you clipped the spare tire. This is an easy mod and it cost about $8 for the reflective strips (package of four) to enlighten your Roadtrek's Continental Spare Tire Kit.


  1. I never thought about that. Great mod! I may steal it.

  2. Not too much at all! Safety comes first in my book.

  3. The large red tape is what I used on my center hitch bike rack (I don't keep the continental tire kit on). I found it at Lowes & it works great! Will use it on the tire kit if I ever use it - thanks for the tip.

  4. You can also purchase reflective tape from safety equipment suppliers. DOT (Department of Transport) tape used by the haulage industry is available by length then cut it to suit.