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Most people think that having a flat tire is no big deal. Yet, do you know what to do if you actually get a flat? Think about it for a moment, don’t just assume. Do you have all of the tools in your car or truck? Do you have a spare tire? Is the spare tire the right size for your vehicle? If you can’t say yes to all of those questions, without a shadow of a doubt, then obviously you are not as prepared as you thought you were.
Flat tires can occur for a number of reasons. It could be due to the car sitting for an extended period of time and the air within the tire got cold and condensed. You could have driven over an obstruction and punctured the wall of the tire, or you could have had an old fashion blowout which can result from the tires getting far too hot.
Preparing for A Flat Tire
Most people assume that everything they need to change a flat tire is situated nicely in the trunk of the car, thanks to the manufacturer. Unfortunately, all you get is a tire iron and a small car jack. These are the bare bones basics required to change a tire, yet there are more things you could add to your vehicle to make the job a lot easier, such as:
- Coveralls – These can be bought from hardware stores and paint stores around the world. You can even get cheap, disposable paper ones and replace them as needed.
- Wipes – Hand wipes or even baby wipes will go a long way to helping you clean up after you finish changing the tire. Cars are very dirty machines, and there is a reason why every mechanic is always covered in grease.
- Hands-free light source – Doesn’t matter if you have a standing flash light or a cheap, little LED, battery powered lantern, you want some sort of light source to make sure you can see what you are doing, and so people can see you.
- 2 or 3-foot piece of pipe – The nuts on your tire are tightened with a torque wrench. This means that you are going to need as much leverage as you can get to loosen them up.
- Instructions and car manual – Even if you are an expert at changing a tire yourself, other people such as your children or spouse, might not be. This is why having the manual and detailed instructions on what to do, and where everything is, is important.
- Gallon size storage bag – A sealable storage bag should be used to store the bolts once removed from the tire. A lot of people put them into the hubcap, but if it gets bumped or flipped, your nuts are going to go flying and you will have to hunt them down.
Changing A Flat Tire
- Make sure the vehicle is pulled off to the shoulder or side of the road and turn your hazard lights on. Prior to exiting the vehicle, contact someone and inform them about the situation, give them your location and let them know you will contact them once you are finished.
- Refer to your owner’s manual to locate a “hard point” on the underside of your vehicle. Once this part of the frame has been located, position the jack under the car and begin to lift the vehicle. Make sure that the car is up high enough to safely remove the tire, roughly 3 to 4 inches off the ground.
- The next step involves removing the hubcap; you can use the tire iron to help remove this. After the hubcap has been removed, begin removing the nuts from the tire and placing them inside the storage bag.
- Remove the tire and roll it to the opposite side or rear of the car. Grab the spare and place it into position.
- Place the nuts back onto the bolts of the car and hand tighten them all. After they have been hand tightened, use the tire iron to tighten them the rest of the way.
- Reattach the hubcap and return all of the equipment to its proper location inside of the vehicle.
- Contact the person you originally spoke with and let them know that you have finished and will be driving momentarily.
- Check for traffic before moving back into the driving lane and turn off your hazard lights.
- Ensure you get your tire replaced as soon as possible. Spare tires are only meant for short term use, and the longer you drive on a spare, the more damage you may do to your vehicle.
Changing a tire doesn’t have to be a scary or complicated situation. It is a skill that everyone should have and if you do not know how to change a tire, ask someone who does to show you how. You can also use this article as a reference guide to ensure that no matter what happens, you are prepared thanks to Treadhunter!