A flat tire is a minor misfortune that almost every driver will experience at least once in their life. Especially for new drivers, knowing how to respond to a flat tire is an important part of responsible driving. Not only can it protect you from danger, it can provide you the confidence of managing your own unexpected car problems when the situation calls for it. If you are unfamiliar with the process of changing a tire and using a spare, continue reading to learn how with our simple guide.
Spare TiresA spare tire is generally customary in all modern vehicles. It is possible for used cars to be sold without their spare, so always be sure to check your vehicle before hitting the road. You always want to have a spare tire on-board in case of an emergency. You can purchase spare tires at a reasonable price in any auto parts store or tire store. Be sure to ask an associate for help with matching the right spare for your vehicle’s make and model.
Often times, spares are found in the trunk, underneath the surface. Other times, they are in the den of the trunk or in a compartment on the side. Refer to your owners’ manual for instructions on locating your cars spare tire. Along with the spare, there is usually a car jack as well. If your car is not equipped with a car jack, be sure to purchase one, as well as a tire iron, for your vehicle and keep it in there at all times.
What to Do
If you get a flat or blow a tire while driving, it is important to not panic. Simply flip on your hazard lights and direct the vehicle slowly and calmly to the right side of the road. Be sure you are far enough on the shoulder to be safe from oncoming traffic.
Once you are parked, turn off your ignition and keep your keys on your person. Always check your mirrors for oncoming traffic before exiting your vehicle. If you are on the freeway, it is strongly recommended to exit your vehicle from the passenger side if it’s
possible to climb over.
Next, locate your spare and your car jack. Place these items next to the flat tire so they are in arm’s reach when needed.
You will first need to lift your car off the ground to have the ability to remove the flat and replace it with a spare. Refer to your owners’ manual for instructions on using a car jack. They are fairly easy to use so do not get overwhelmed with the process. Simply find a solid area to place the jack underneath, and then use the lever to crank it up.
Continue cranking until the tire is lifted 1 to 2 inches off the ground. This will give you just enough space to freely remove the tire. Do not lift the car too high, this can cause accidents and damage to your vehicle.
Now that your car is jacked up, you can use the tire iron, or your hands, to unscrew the bolts on your wheel cap. There are usually four to five of them. They may be stuck or difficult to release if your car is old, so if the tire iron doesn’t work, your best bet is a roadside assistance service. They have the proper tools and muscle-power to remove your tire bolts and attach your spare in no time at all.
When you have the bolts removed, put them in a safe place nearby, and gently pull your flat tire off. Put it to the side as well. Be careful pulling your tire off so you do not tip your vehicle over while it’s on the jack.
Slide your spare tire on, and then replace all the bolts. Be sure they are fastened securely.
You are now ready to release the jack and lower your car back to the ground. Place the old tire and the jack back into your trunk. And carefully get back into the driver’s seat and pull out onto the road.
Be sure to drive immediately to a tire supply retailer for professional tire service and replacement. A spare is only a temporary means and should be driven on as little as possible.