Getting a flat tire can be one of the most dangerous things to happen during driving. And not handling the situation properly can lead to a costly accident or even injury.
So how do you respond to a flat tire?
The most important thing is to keep calm.
Think of yourself as the first responder to your own emergency.
What are some key traits of a good first responder?
This article is designed to empower anyone with the know-how for dealing with a flat tire. Make a print-out and keep it in your vehicle. This way you’ll have the knowledge and tools to deal successfully with this emergency whenever you need it. You can do this.
If a tire blows out while you are moving, let your inner first responder take command. Stay calm. Do not hit the brakes or abruptly turn the steering wheel. This will cause you to slide uncontrollably.
Instead, take your foot off the accelerator slowly. If traveling downhill, gently tap the brakes to reduce speed. Keep cool.
This is one of the rare occasions where you can, and should, turn on your hazard indicators while your vehicle is moving. Do this as soon as you notice that you have a flat tire. If you have road flares, you could ignite one or more near your vehicle in clear sight of oncoming vehicles. Or use a roadside tool equipped with a bank of high-visibility red LEDs.
Try to stop
Even better, try and pull into a parking lot with empty spaces if possible. Do your best to position your vehicle far from all traffic. Keep your emergency flashers activated.
When your car is stopped in a safe location, place calls to:
If you like being a well-prepared motorist, you should add these emergency-kit items to your vehicle:
Do this before elevating the vehicle using the car jack. The hubcap is easier to remove if the tire is unable to rotate.
Use the wrench to loosen, but not fully remove, the nuts. It may take considerable force to get the nuts to begin turning. Once loosened, leave the nuts attached to their bolts by a few turns.
On most vehicles, look for a small indent along the molding where a small metal section is accessible. That’s where you insert the top portion of the jack. Even in daylight, your light can be handy in locating this area.
Crank the jack until the flat tire can be removed. Make sure the jack raises the vehicle high enough to accept the replacement tire. Do not let hands or other body parts go beneath the vehicle once it has been elevated.
At this point, you should be able to remove the nuts by hand. Once they are removed, pull the tire off the hub and
Estimated time for the task: 25 minutes if you have changed a tire on this vehicle in the past, 45 minutes if this is your first attempt.
Tip: Practice these steps at home, in your garage or an empty parking lot, when you are not under pressure. The process will then seem familiar when you are thrust into an emergency situation.
Having the knowledge of how to fix a flat gives you peace of mind when the unexpected pops up. Now you know you have the knowledge. Go forward and travel in confidence.