A Scary Incident

How To Change A Flat Tire

Experiencing a flat tire when you're away from home or on the road can be dangerous and frightening. To come out safely, it's important that you know what to do before it happens to you.

First, pull over to a safe spot as soon as you realize the tire is low. If you continue to try to drive home, you could shred a tire that could have been repaired, or even damage the wheel rims. Park your car on a level spot and leave the largest buffer zone you can manage between you and traffic. For example, if you are changing the driver's front tire, park at an angle so that the car's nose is 45 degrees away from the road. Make sure the engine is off, the parking brake engaged, and the vehicle is in park (or in gear if you are driving a manual transmission). To be extra safe, find a large rock or piece of wood to block the downhill side of the wheel diagonally opposite from the one you are removing.

Next, locate your spare, the tire jack, and all the tools you will need, including your tire pressure gauge if you have one. If your wheels have locking lug nuts, you will need your special socket to remove these theft-proof lugs. If it is not in the trunk along with the other tools, look for it in the glove box, console, or door pockets. Before you get started, use your pressure gauge to confirm that the spare has sufficient air. If it doesn't call someone for help, such as a roadside assistance company. 

Use your lug wrench to loosen each nut a half-turn only (almost all vehicles' lug nuts will turn counter-clockwise). You will want to do this before the car is jacked up because it is difficult or impossible once the tire is in the air.

Now it is time to jack up the car. Identify the proper jacking points using your owner's manual. Usually these points are found on the pinch weld just behind the front wheel or in front of the rear wheel. Jack up the car until there is air space under the tire. Fully remove the rest of the lug nuts, and then detach the flat tire and wheel assembly. You are now ready to install the spare onto the wheel studs. At this point you may need to jack up the car a bit more.

To finish, reinstall the wheel nuts, turning them clockwise until just snug. Lower the jack and remove it from your work area. Fully tighten the lugs in a star pattern to prevent potential warping.

Put everything away and remove the rock or wood from rear wheel. Drive home in a cautious manner, and have a tire repair professional, such as those at Action Tire Centre, do a proper repair or tire replacement as soon as possible. 

Flat tires are never convenient, but you can be back on the road in no time if you pull over right away, park safely, and have the tools and knowledge you need to complete the job.