There’s nothing like an interruption on the road to set back your entire day. While many rides to and from work, errands, and social engagements run smoothly, every now and again we run into a hitch. Among the most common roadside issues? A flat tire.
Do you know what to do if you get a flat tire? According to a survey of the country, one in five drivers couldn’t tell you. If you count yourself among this number, you’ll need to get this knowledge under your belt so that you know what to do in the case of an emergency.
Flat tire replacement isn’t as complicated as many drivers assume, and you can learn the basics of this practice in just a few minutes. What do you need to know about fixing a flat tire? Read on and we’ll walk you through the basics.
Identifying a Flat Tire
Driving on a flat tire can be bad for the overall health of your vehicle, leading to further need for car repairs. It can also be dangerous, impeding your ability to accelerate, turn, and brake properly.
For these reasons, you must be able to identify a flat tire as soon as it occurs. Getting off the open road as soon as your tire has been blown will be essential for your overall safety and well-being.
So what should you look out for?
Luckily, the impact of a flat tire can be quite evident. If all of a sudden, you notice a dragging feeling on one side of the car, it’s a good indication that something is wrong with your tire.
You may even be able to identify the issue the moment that it happens. Often, when your tire makes an impact with something that pierces it, there will be a loud popping sound.
That will be followed by a consisted woosh of air out of the tire. If you hear this pop or this leaking sound, you should pull over right away.
When driving, if you feel you have difficulty accelerating, turning, or changing lanes, it’s another good sign that something is wrong with your tire. Find a safe place to pull off the road, away from the flow of traffic, and look into the situation.
Changing Your Flat Tire
Once you’re pulled off to the side of the road, take a look at the tire. If it’s flat, you should be able to tell by sight alone.
Before you start work on the tire, double-check that the location you are in is safe. You don’t want to be anywhere close to driving cars, especially if it is dark out or there is any kind of low visibility.
Put your hazards on to signal to other drivers that you have had an issue and are pulled over:
What You’ll Need
At a bare minimum, you’ll need a jack, a wrench, and a spare tired to fix your current situation. These items are generally located in the trunk of your car, but their location may vary depending on the vehicle that you drive.
It can be helpful to have a tire gauge and a mat to lay down next to the tire as well. This mat will be for you to lean on so as not to dirty yourself.
A flashlight and gloves can also be helpful if you have access to them.
Taking the Tire Off
First, you’ll want to pry the hubcap off of the impacted tire. You should be able to do this by hand, just push your finger under the edge and pull back. Underneath the hubcap, you should be able to see several different lug nuts that are keeping the tire in place.
Secure your wrench onto each nut and turn counterclockwise until it becomes loose.
Once you’ve loosened all of the nuts, you’ll need to lift the weight of the vehicle to get the tire off. Place the jack under the metal portion of your vehicle (not the plastic!).
Once properly placed, use the jack to raise the portion of the car above the tire. The jack should stay perpendicular to the ground at all times. If it ever begins moving, stop and start over.
Once the car is positioned about six inches above the ground, you can begin to finish each of the lug nuts. Keep the lug nuts in a safe place as you remove them, you’ll need them again in a moment.
With the nuts removed, you should be able to slide the tire right off. Take the tire to the trunk and store it and pull out the spare. You’ll want to install the spare by doing the reverse of the process you just did.
Slide the spare on, insert the lug nuts, and tighten them. Here, you can tighten them before bringing the jack down. Once the tire is back on the ground, ensure the tire pressure is adequate before driving away.
That’s all there is to flat tire replacement.
If this task seems too involved for your level of expertise, you can always call a mobile tire repair service to come to your aid.
What to Do if You Get a Flat Tire
Do you know what to do if you get a flat tire? Many drivers don’t, but it is a situation we can all easily end up in. The above information can help you understand how fixing a flat tire can be done quickly and easily.
Need more help with car repairs or common car problems? Keep scrolling through our blog for more advice and information.
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