“Psssssss” Followed by the sound of rubber pounding the pavement as you begin to bounce out of you seat. You know that sound! The dreaded sound of realizing that you have to spend money and time fixing that flat tire.
The positive news is, it can cost a lot less, if you know some simple tricks to fix it yourself, or to manage your tires before a flat even happens.
Tip 1: In the event of a flat tire, find a safe place to pull over. Getting out of traffic is critical, so that no one can harm you or your passengers. If you are traveling on a fast moving road, such as a freeway or interstate, it is best to get fully off the road if possible. As soon as you realize there is a problem, turn on your hazard lights, so that those around you are aware of your circumstances as well.
Tip 2: Before even leaving your vehicle, apply your emergency brake so that your vehicle doesn’t roll. This also helps to steady the tires as you begin to remove them.
Tip 3: Use the lug wrench, typically found in your tire changing kit (you should have one of these!) to loosen the lugs. Sometimes it is helpful to have a long bar to put on the end of the lug wrench, to give you more leverage.
Tip 4: Always position the jack so that it lifts from the vehicles frame. Hint hint- the frame is NOT made of plastic! Once you have raised the vehicle, about 6 inches off the ground, ensure that you do not put any part of your body under the vehicle. Your safety is of the utmost importance.
Tip 5: Finish unscrewing the lug nuts and remove the tire from the hub. It is important to make sure the tire is out of the way of traffic, and also will not roll away.
Tip 6: Place the spare tire on the lug bolts and push the tire firmly against the hub. Then, hand tighten the lug nuts until they are seated in the divots on the rim. After this, use the lug wrench to tighten each nut individually in a star pattern, completing the rotation twice.
Tip 7: Lower the vehicle and tighten the lug nuts one final time using the lever mentioned earlier to provide more leverage.
Tip 8: Two times a year, you should check your spare tire to make sure that it is properly inflated to the correct pressure. You can find it’s correct pressure on the sidewall of the tire.
If you lack any of the tools or knowledge needed to get the job done, make sure that you have a reliable local towing company on speed dial, that can take your call 24/7.