When you question yourself “What to do,” it isn’t “If” you have a flat, but rather “When” you have a flat.
As awful as they are, you can’t escape a flat tire forever – research suggesting that an average driver is likely to experience 5 flat tires in their lifetime. Additionally, one estimate reveals 220 million tire blowouts each year.
Nevertheless, the inconvenience is real, especially if you hear the loud bang of a blowout in the middle of the highway. If, however, you spot a flat tire when your vehicle is parked, count yourself lucky.
That said, the key to being safe from the dangers of a flat tire is knowing what to do next. And that is what we are going to talk about in this article. Read ahead and follow these steps when you have a flat tire.
How to spot a flat tire?
- The tell-tale sound of the rubber flapping
- Difficulty steering
- Sluggish acceleration
- Popping or thumping sounds
- Inappropriate braking
- Dragging feeling
What to do when your tire blowouts while driving on the highway?
Your tire giving out in the middle of the highway is a horrible experience. And the first and most important thing to do is not to continue driving. Whether you run over a nail or there’s damage to the valve system, a lot can go wrong if you drive along with a flattened tire. Here’s what to do.
- Brake gently and slow down
Upon hearing a loud bang while driving, you might panic and brake instantly. However, that’s not good practice and can lead to an accident. As soon as your steering feels off and the vehicle starts to slow down, turn on your hazard lights and brake gently. Then, carefully move to a safe spot on the side of the road.
- Inspect the tire damage
Once you are in a safe location, get out of your car and assess the situation. Inspect your tires physically to figure out the problem so you can plan ahead. Look around the tread and the sidewall for sharp objects that may have caused the puncture. Luckily, if you find one in the center of the tire, use one of your Fix – a – Flat tricks to get going.
- Hire a reputable towing service
Not all flat tires are easy to fix. Take, for example, when there’s excessive wear and tear, your flat tire may not be repairable. In that case, it is best to hire a vehicle-towing service, one that can safely tow your vehicle to a repair shop for a replacement.
What to do when you have a flat tire, and the vehicle is parked?
If you experience a flat tire while your vehicle is parked somewhere and there is a spare in your trunk, you are in luck. But, changing a tire can be challenging, especially if you have no prior experience or the required tools. Without the proper knowledge or skills of changing a tire on the road, the results can be catastrophic.
Fortunately, help from a professional tire change service is always an option. We recommend calling a local tow service and requesting a tire change.
On the flip side, if you are confident about tackling a flat tire and know what you are getting into, good for you! Just be careful and follow these steps.
- Be safe
Safety first! Before getting to work, make sure you are in a safe location. Roadsides are very dangerous, especially if the neighborhood is unknown or it’s getting dark. If you are away from home, look around your surroundings or consider the traffic in case you are parked on the roadside.
- Check you have all the necessary tools
Changing a tire requires a range of professional tools and equipment, without which the task can be strenuous. Good thing, most of these tools come with your vehicle. All you have to do is make sure to stow them in your trunk before hitting the road.
Below is the basic tire-changing tool checklist.
- Properly inflated spare tire
- A jack
- Lug wrench
- Pair of gloves
- Wheel chock
- Vehicle owner’s manual
- Tire repair kit
- Reflective triangles
- Change the flat tire
Let’s, get down to changing the flat tire
- Prepare your car
Preparing your car for a tire change involves placing it on a flat surface to avoid rolling. You can also put the emergency brake on or place the wheel chocks behind the wheels. In addition, position the reflective triangles around your vehicle to alert the oncoming traffic.
- Attack the jack
In case you have one, remove the wheel cover or hubcap from the tire. Next, position the jack under your vehicle and start raising up. You will want to stop when the jack catches the jacking points.
- Loosen the lug nuts
Using the lug wrench, it is time to lose the lug nuts on your wheel. Turn them in an anticlockwise direction and keep your balance while doing this. Make sure you do not completely remove the lug nuts off as yet.
- Raise the vehicle
Again, turn the jack lever to raise the vehicle around 6-10 cm above the ground.
- Remove the lug nuts
Finally, remove all the lug nuts completely and then remove the flat tire.
- Mount the spare tire
After removing the flat tire, mount the spare tire on the wheel studs. Replace the lug nuts on the frame and tighten them by hand.
- Lower the jack
Slowly turn the jack to lower the car to just where it touches the ground and use the wrench to tighten the nuts firmly.
- Put the flat tire in the boot
Almost done, collapse the vehicle jack, put the tools back, and stow the damaged tire in the boot. Once back home, you can get the tire repaired by a mechanic or get a new one from the shop.
Knowing how to change a tire can keep you ahead of the game. It is an important skill for drivers since flat tires are a common occurrence. However, there are situations when changing a tire is best left to the professionals.
At Tow Service USA, our team is skilled in handling all kinds of uncertainties. Our 24-hour service providers will assist you with professional tools to change the flat tire or fix the puncture in minutes.