Changing a flat tire can be difficult, especially in bad weather, heavy traffic, or if you’ve simply never done it before. That’s why we’ve put together some tips and tricks for what to do if you get a flat. From preparation to tightening the lug nuts, there are some important things to keep in mind.
To begin with, according to Car Talk, you should test out your equipment. Know where the spare tire is located, which can be under the car or in a compartment in the trunk, and be sure to test out the jack. If it’s difficult to use, consider buying a new one. Also, see if you have trouble lifting the tire. If you can’t manage, consider getting fix-a-flat, run-flat tires, or roadside assistance.
Next, if you get a flat tire, you need to get to safety. Many highways have emergency lanes for this exact situation, but those can still be dangerous in heavy traffic. You can drive roughly 300 yards on a flat tire before you begin to damage the rim (depending on the blowout and other factors), so try to find an exit or empty parking lot. It’s not a good idea to accept help from strangers, as this can be dangerous as well. Be sure to use your hazards and flares, too.
Finally, there are some tips for actually changing the tire. Loosen the nuts when it’s on the ground, as it can be difficult with the tire spinning in the air. Then, use the emergency brake when lifting the car. When tightening lug nuts, move in a crossing pattern, tightening the lug nut on the opposite side of the wheel. Once you tighten the lug nuts in a star-like pattern, the wheel will be more secure.
What’s next? Bring your flat into our service center. Our staff can help you find new tires, fix flats, or repair other damage.