What To Do When You Get a Flat Tire

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If you find yourself on the road with a flat tire, it can feel unnerving. But don’t worry – changing a tire is not difficult and is an essential skill to have; especially if you’re someplace where phone service reception is making it difficult to contact someone or look up nearby auto repair businesses.

Even with a flat tire, it’s a good idea to slow your car to roughly 25 mph and still be able to keep your car under control.

The following step-by-step list should help you replace your flat tire while on the road.  The process usually takes 15-30 minutes with the right tools.  See the recommended items below:

Items Needed to Replace a Tire

Items You Will Need to Replace a Tire: (all items should have come with your vehicle)

  • Car Jack
  • Lug wrench
  • Fully inflated spare tire
  • Vehicle owner’s manual

Items that are helpful to have while replacing your tire: (these do not come with your car, but are handy to have if ever in an emergency situation)

  • Flashlight with working batteries
  • Rain poncho
  • Gloves
  • Wheel wedges

Instructions for Replacing a Tire:

1 – Turn on your hazard lights and slow down gently using the brake pedal, find somewhere safe to stop. Pull as far off the road as possible and on the flattest and firmest ground you see. The more level and solid the ground, the better.

Level ground is good because it can prevent your vehicle from rolling. Straight stretches of road are also better than curves because you are more visible to oncoming traffic.

2 – Find a safe location.  Put the car in park and set the emergency brake. If you have a manual transmission, leave the car in 1st gear or reverse.

If you are parked on a hill or uneven terrain, be sure to use the parking brake to hold the car in a steady position and keep the tires on the car from rolling and decreasing tire pressure.

Call for help if you are in an emergency lane or center lane on a main street or highway. It is not safe for you to work on the vehicle unless you are well off the road with plenty of room to work.

3 – Use the wheel wedges and remove the hubcap. Wheel wedges create stability and prevent the car from rolling.   If you don’t have something look for a large rock or log.  Removing the hubcap before using the car jack to life the vehicle makes the process a lot easier.

4 – Loosen the Lug Nuts. The first crank is the toughest; do it before you jack up the vehicle. Skip every other lug nut working your way around until all lug nuts have been loosened. Remember: “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey”.

Place jack under car close to flat tire5 – Place your jack under the vehicle as instructed in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, being sure not to wedge it against the side trim or a flexible area.

6 – Completely remove the lug nuts and remove the tire by pulling straight away from the car. It may be heavy so do this slowly and be careful.

7 – Mount the spare tire onto the screw prongs, lining up the screws with the holes in the tire. Remember that the air valve should be facing out. Screw on the lug nuts by hand, alternating as you go with every other one, just until they’re all secured. Then go back with the lug wrench tool and tighten them slightly.

8 – Replace the Lug nuts and try to tighten each one equally to keep your spare evenly mounted. Turn them to the right to tighten and use some force.

9 – Lower the Jack and tighten the lug nuts to make sure they’re secure.

10 – Check the tire pressure and put all your items back in your vehicle.

11 – See an auto technician for further assistance. It’s important to have a professional inspect your car and tires afterwards to get a new spare tire and to inspect your other tires for any possible damage.  When it’s  time to take your car to a service center for tire repair or tire service, remember Harris Tire Company for your tire and automotive needs.

Take Preventative Measures

Knowing how to fix a flat tire is a great skill, but regularly scheduled tire maintenance is even more significant. In addition to reviewing this guide regularly, remember to frequently practice the following:

  • Keep tires inflated properly
  • Rotate your tires according to manufacturer’s guidelines
  • Monitor tire treads for wear and tear.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent flat tires completely, but proper care may help to improve performance and make sure your tires last as long as possible.

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