You jump in your car and head out for the day. You get halfway to your destination, and all of a sudden, your car is not handling like it should. You pull off to the side of the road and get out. That’s when you’re confronted with a problem: you have a flat tire.
A flat tire doesn’t have to keep you stranded for hours while you wait for a tow truck. With just a few simple tools, you can easily change your own tire. Most vehicles already have those tools in the trunk, along with a spare tire. Changing a flat tire is something every driver should know how to do in case they get stranded.
Consult Your Vehicle’s Owner’s Manual If You Get a Flat Tire
Most cars come with a small, temporary spare tire (or “doughnut”) that’s stored in the trunk. Trucks and SUVs often come with a fifth tire and wheel that’s the same size as the four you normally drive on. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual for specific information, including what tools are supplied and the proper jack location. If you have your car’s manual, it should explain how to change a flat tire specifically for your car. Follow the instructions in the manual, and keep the following tips in mind.
Never attempt to change a tire on the road. Always pull off the road to a safe location, away from the traffic. If there’s nowhere to turn off, make sure all four of your wheels are on the gravel shoulder to give you enough room to work. Try to stop in a level, straight stretch of road, so passing traffic can see you from a distance. It’s dangerous to jack up a car on a hill or incline. Turn on your hazard lights before you get out of your car or truck. If there isn’t a solid footing for a jack, do not try to change your tire. Call for help and wait.
If you have a temporary spare, remember, they are designed for low-speed travel so that you may get to the next service station. Don’t keep your temporary spare on the vehicle for extended periods of time. The doughnut is not large enough to support the weight of your car for a long time. It’s meant to be an emergency measure only. The rule of thumb is to never drive over 50 MPH, and no further than 70 miles on a doughnut.
Shift your vehicle into park (automatic transmission) or first gear (manual transmission). It is extremely important that you have the emergency brake applied throughout the entire time you are changing your tire. This prevents the wheels from rolling as you are unfastening the lug nuts.
It’s always a good idea to keep some work gloves in your car in case of any emergency. Thick gloves come in especially handy with tires. They can be very dirty and may have sharp wires sticking out of them.
Get Your Flat Tire Repaired as Soon as Possible
Blain’s Farm & Fleet offers tire repair and replacement services. Find a a store near you and bring your car or truck in to get your tire repaired or replaced, and your peace of mind restored. Our friendly and knowledgeable associates and mechanics will get you back on the road in no time.
Stay tuned to our automotive blog for great how-to tips, maintenance advice, buyer’s guides, and car facts.