It’s a driver’s nightmare: you’re driving and your vehicle starts bumping as if you’re on a collision course that’s full of potholes. Potholes don’t seem to be the problem here. You rightfully suspect a flat tire…
In the event of a flat tire, your own well-being is the first issue. Slow down gradually and pull over at the closest safe spot – a wide shoulder off of an even straight pavement. Turn on your hazards and press on your parking brake.
Then, get out your owner’s manual to familiarize yourself with the recommended process for your make and model.
Most cars come with the basic equipment for a tire change. If you do not have the standard provisions of a spare tire, wrench and a jack, use your cell phone to summon the roadside auto insurance assistance if it’s included it in your policy or any other source of help. Then sit tight and wait until that help arrives.
If you do have the necessary basics, the procedure is not too complicated.
12 Steps to an Emergency Tire Change
- As an added reinforcement to the parking brake function, use wheel wedges. If there’s a rear flat tire, carefully place the wedges in front of the fore-wheels. If the problem is with the front, place the wedges in back of the rear tires.
- Take off the hubcap with the flat tip of your lug wrench. If this doesn’t work well, see what your owner’s manual suggests.
- Use your lug wrench to rotate the lug nuts in a counter-clockwise ¼ or half turn motion to loosen their hold.
- Put the jack on the underside of your vehicle alongside of the flat tire and reinforce it with a small piece of wood, if possible.
- Without putting any part of your body under the car, begin raising your vehicle until the flat tire is approximately 6” from the ground.
- Next, unscrew and remove the lug nuts with your hand.
- Seize the tire at the threads and tug lightly towards you. Once the tire is removed, place it on its side to ensure it will not add to your troubles by rolling off.
- Mount the spare tire on the hub by aligning it with the lug bolts and pushing lightly so that the bolts appear through the rim.
- Place the lug nuts back and screw them tightly with your hand.
- Lower your car to street-level and tighten the nuts completely with the lug wrench.
- Replace hubcap if it fits the spare. If it’s not the right fit, place it in your trunk until the tire has been replaced with a standard size tire.
- Drive slowly and cautiously to a tire facility or mechanic for an assessment of the damage, repair work or replacement.
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Summary: Ever experienced a flat tire while driving? Prime Insurance gives you the essential tips to change a tire in an emergency situation.