Having a punctured tire at the middle of the road can give you a nightmarish experience especially if you do not know how to fix a flat tire yourself. It is an unpredictable event but you can certainly make yourself prepared by simply keeping the necessary items for the fixing procedure and knowing the procedure. This will also help you minimize potential damage to your tires. In this blog I have shared the steps that you can flow to help yourself in such a situation.
Before directly getting into the procedure let’s have a look at the items that you would need to fix your flat tire.
Items that come with your car
- Lug wrench
- Vehicle owner’s manual
- Fully inflated spare tire
In case you have lost or misplaced any of the above mentioned items or if your vehicle did not come with them, you must buy the new ones immediately. Moreover, your spare tire should be regularly inflated to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended PSI. It is important for you to check the air pressure level of the spare tire every time you check the other tires.
Here is the list of items that you need to arrange and store in your trunk in case you need to change a flat tire.
- Rain poncho
- Flashlight with working batteries
- Small cut of 2x”x6” wood to secure the jack
- Wheel wedges
Here are the steps to follow before changing a flat tire
1. Look for a safe location
Do not panic if you realize that you have a flat tire. Reduce your speed slowly and check your surroundings to find a level, straight sketch of a road with a wide shoulder. Straight stretches of road are better than curves as the ongoing traffic is likely to see you. An empty parking space is an appropriate place for that. Level ground is also recommended as it prevents your vehicle from rolling. It could be dangerous to change your tire on a narrow shoulder near the traffic. You must not anywhere until you find a convenient space.
2. Turn on hazard lights
Do not forget to turn on your hazard lights which will help other drivers to see you standing at the side of the road. This is essential to avoid an accident. You should turn them on as soon as you need to park your vehicle at the side of the road.
3. Apply parking brake and wheel wedges
Applying the parking brake is crucial before replacing the tire as it reduces the chance of your vehicle rolling. Wheel wedges are also important to prevent your vehicle from moving during the time when you change the tire. If you need to change the rear tire, place them in front of the tires and if it is your front tire that needs attention, place it in the rear tires.
4. Remove the wheel cover
If the hubcap of your vehicle covers the lug nuts, you can easily remove the hubcap before lifting the vehicle with the jack. If it is uncovered you can skip the step.
5. Loosen the lug nuts
With the help of the lug wrench, turn the lug nuts counterclockwise until you break their resistance. You may need to apply force to do that and there is no harm in using your feet or your entire body weight for that.
6. lift up your vehicle with a jack
Keeping a small cut of 2×6” wood under your vehicle before lifting it up is a good idea to prevent the jack from settling under the weight of your vehicle and losing balance. This trick works the best on asphalt.
7. Unscrew the lug nuts
In this step you need to unscrew the lug nuts. You can easily do that with your hand as it is already loosened up.
8. Remove the flat tire
The next step is to remove the tire for which you need to carefully pull it towards you until it’s completely free from the hub.
9. Attaching the spare wheels
You must check the spare tire before attaching it to ensure that it is of the same size and also it is in a good condition. When you are done with the checking, it’s time for you to reattach the lug nuts to the bolts. After that, lower the car jack until all the weight of the vehicle is back on the tire. Then remove the car jack and lock down the lug nuts
10. Take the spare tire to a technician
Temporary spare tires are not 100% reliable to make long distance drives or at high speed so you must drive cautiously until you visit a flat tire repair service centre. Only professional eyes can tell you whether it needs a repair or a replacement.
Also Read: What You Need To Know About Tire Repairs
This guide is to help you out in an emergency situation but you can avoid such situations simply by properly and regularly maintaining your vehicle.