When Don Simpson found himself with a flat tire on his RV in the proverbial middle of nowhere, he knew there had to be a better response to such an inevitable breakdown.
Large recreational vehicles almost never come with a spare wheel and tires, so when one of those rubber monsters gets a flat or has a blowout, drivers are stuck until roadside assistance can arrive.
“The big thing is RV tires aren’t available everywhere,” stated Simpson. “They’re hard to find, even in a big city. It can give you real fits trying to find them. They can be very difficult to come by and very expensive when you’re out on the road.”
Simpson got the idea for an RV spare tire carrier from his 1957 Chevy, which has a “continental kit” to hold a spare tire on the back of the vehicle. “That was my inspiration,” proclaimed Simpson, who acknowledged getting a patent for the device “really wasn’t difficult.”
But first came designing the device, which not only holds the spare wheel and tire in place on the RV’s rear but also has a slide mechanism that gently sets the heavy load down to the ground. That led Simpson to contact Doug Collins and Avid Product Development to get some help making his idea a reality.
“I just decided this isn’t going to happen again,” Simpson recalled of that inconvenient flat. “I made my first (carrier), and Doug Collins did a lot of the work on it for me as far as the engineering.”
Avid worked with Simpson to design the product and provided ideas to solve many challenges, including quick connection, different bolt hole patterns, different lug bolt sizes, etc. The procurement of functional prototypes and eventually low-volume production were soon to follow.
“Doug helped me and I made a batch of units by a company that Doug had recommended. I took them to an RV show in Arizona — a 10-day sales event — and we sold every one we had.”
A Heavenly Match
After patenting his heavy duty, leveraged spare tire carrier and founding his company, Simpson made a licensing deal with Roadmaster, a renowned provider of RV and towing parts. It was a match, as they say, made in heaven.
“Roadmaster picked this up – the marketing on it, the manufacturing – the whole nine yards,” acclaimed Simpson. “The nicest part is not only do we get royalties, they pay us to go to shows and pitch to different RV distributors.”
According to Simpson, sales of the spare RV tire carrier have been consistently strong. “Sales have been really good. Every year it’s getting better and better. The more I get out on the road, the more people see it and they buy it.”
Even though RV owners can now carry a spare wheel and tire and avoid a lengthy roadside breakdown with the Simpson Tire Mount, they will still have to wait for roadside assistance to remove the flat and put on the spare. “This isn’t for you to change,” Simpson stated. “Most of us carry AAA or roadside assistance. And if for $100 they can come out and (change the tire), it’s a great deal.”
While his idea has found an eager RV community ready to embrace it, Simpson said he owes Collins and Avid a big thank you for helping him get his spare tire carrier onto the market.
“Without the help of Doug Collins and Avid, I don’t think I could have been able to go any further because there’s just so much I didn’t know. If you don’t have the right people helping you, you can get in a bind in a hurry. I can’t recommend them enough. They’re a great company.”