How to Change a Flat Tire
A flat tire on the road can be one of the most dangerous situations that you can find yourself in. Driving along you may notice that your tire monitoring light comes on. When this happens it is usually an indicator that one or more of your tires is losing pressure. Before you have a chance to even register what is going on you may begin to hear a flapping sound. It’s a flat tire. As we said before this can be a dangerous position to be in especially if you are on the highway. “According to recent data taken from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, approximately 12 percent of all interstate highway deaths result from shoulder accidents”. So you want to be extra careful if you are attempting to fix a flat tire on the highway.
In this article, we will go over some of the options that you have to fix a flat tire if you ever find yourself in this position.
Is it Safe to Drive with a Flat Tire?
Anytime a tire loses a large amount of pressure it will cause a low or flat tire. Flat tires are caused by a variety of factors; such as old or worn tires, improper air pressure, or tire defects. Additionally continued driving on underinflated tires will cause damages and wear to the tires. Always periodically check your tire pressure so that you don’t cause premature wear to your tires. Premature wear can cause a flat tire earlier than if you drive on properly inflated tires.
Driving on a flat tire can be very dangerous and should be avoided. When you notice that you have a flat, you want to avoid slamming on your brakes. Instead, pump your brakes in a slow and controlled fashion and get your speed down to around 20mph. find a safe spot on the shoulder (if you’re on the Highway), or pull into the nearest gas station (if close by).
Continuing to drive on a flat tire will cause your vehicle to pull heavy to the side that the flat is on. This can pull you into traffic. Driving on a flat tire makes it hard to drive straight. It can also cause costly damage to your vehicle if driven on for too long. A flat tire can also cause an accident, injuries, or fatalities on the road.
See how regular tire rotation can help you
How to Change a Flat Tire.
When you pull to the side of the road you have the option to change the flat tire and replace it with the spare. If your car is not equipped with a spare tire, you may want to purchase one as soon as possible to avoid any tow charges you may incur. You can also call a tow truck, or have a mobile mechanic fix the tire for you. If you decide to fix the flat tire on your own here are some of the steps and materials you will need.
Parts and Materials you will need:
- A Flashlight (so that you can see at night)- Purchase Price: $17.99
- A Floor jack.-Purchase Price: $119.79 (Most cars and trucks will have a factory one located under the spare tire or backseat.)
- A Pair of Jack stands (optional)
- Wheel Chalks (optional). These are a safety device that can prevent your car from rolling. Purchase Price: $20.95
- Lug wrench to take off the lug nuts.
- Spare tire (No brainer)
- Emergency cones or triangles. This will help alert traffic that you are on the side of the road. Purchase Price: $28.99
Steps to take when changing a flat tire:
- Pullover to the side of the road and park safely. After you have stopped your vehicle, activate the hazard lights. Pop the hood of your vehicle so that other cars will know that your vehicle is in distress.
- Get out your tools and spare tire. As Stated before the spare tire is located in the trunk of the vehicle. Or, under the tailgate of a truck. Remove the spare and place it next to the flat tire that is being replaced.
NOTE: If the flat tire has occurred on the front of the vehicle and you have a full-size spare, you can replace the tire with that. If you have a “Donut”, you will need to replace the tire with one of the rear tires and put the donut on the back.
- Engage the parking brake. Chock your wheels (if you have chocks). Before you use the floor jack, chock your tires at the opposite end of the vehicle to avoid the vehicle rolling.
- Use the floor jack to elevate the vehicle. Make sure that the position of the floor jack is placed on a solid surface of the vehicle to avoid damage. Refer to your owner’s manual for the locations of the jack points on your vehicle.
- After you have raised the vehicle you’ll want to remove the lug nuts. This can be tricky and difficult to break the lug nuts loose. You will need to put significant force to break the nuts loose on the flat tire.
- Remove the flat tire and set it to the side.
- Attach the spare tire. You may have to raise the vehicle on the jack some more to account for the larger diameter of the spare. Place the spare on the axle, and put the lug nuts back on and tighten just slightly. Do not tighten them completely.
- Lower the jack so that the weight of your car rests on the spare
- Tighten the lug nuts. This step requires that you tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern. This will ensure that the spare is tightened safely.
- Clean up. Lower your jack all the way and place the flat tire in the trunk of the car, lower the hood and turn off your hazards.
- Pull back into traffic safely and you are on your way.
Hopefully, this article has been helpful. You can bring your vehicle into us at any time to check the tightness of your lug nuts if you are unsure of lug nut tightness. You can also take your vehicle into any tire shop to have them re-balance your tires to ensure that further tire wear will not be a problem in the future.