What To Do If You Get A Flat Tire On The Road?

A flat tire can derail your travel plans, causing stress and potentially leaving you stranded on the side of the road. However, being prepared and knowing what steps to take can significantly reduce the inconvenience and help ensure your safety. This guide will cover what to do if you have a flat tire, including instructions for both scenarios: when you have a spare tire and the necessary tools and when you don't.

If You Have A Spare Tire & Jack

Pull Over Safely

When you realize you have a flat tire, Do not brake suddenly or turn the steering wheel abruptly. Slowly reduce your speed and scan your surroundings for a flat, straight stretch of road with a wide shoulder. Avoid stopping on curves where approaching traffic cannot see you.

Turn On The Hazard Lights

Activate your vehicle's hazard lights to alert other drivers that you are experiencing a problem and to proceed cautiously around you.

Apply The Parking Brake

Once stopped, always apply the parking brake to prevent your vehicle from rolling while changing the tire.

Place Wheel Wedges

Place wheel wedges against the tires opposite the flat to further secure the vehicle if available. For example, if the flat tire is at the rear, place the wedges in front of the front tires.

Remove The Hubcap Or Wheel Cover

If your vehicle has a hubcap covering the lug nuts, it's easier to remove the hubcap before lifting the car with the jack. Use the flat end of your lug wrench to pry it off.

Loosen The Lug Nuts

Using the lug wrench, turn the lug nuts counterclockwise until you break their resistance. You may need to use force, and using your foot or all of your body weight can help. Do not remove the lug nuts entirely yet.

Lift The Vehicle Using The Jack

Place the jack under the vehicle frame alongside the flat tire. Most vehicles have a small notch or mark along the frame near the tire to indicate where the jack should be placed. Lift the car until the flat tire is about six inches above the ground.

Remove The Lug Nuts & Tire

Now, remove the lug nuts altogether. Next, remove the flat tire by pulling it straight toward yourself off the studs.

Mount The Spare Tire

Place the spare on the hub by lining the rim with the lug bolts. Push gently until the lug bolts show through the rim.

Tighten The Lug Nuts By Hand

Put the lug nuts back on the bolts and tighten them by hand. Once they are on, recheck each one, tightening as much as possible.

Lower The Vehicle & Tighten Again

Use the jack to lower the vehicle so that the spare tire rests on the ground, but the car's full weight isn't fully on the tire. Now, use the wrench to tighten the lug nuts as much as possible.

Lower The Vehicle Completely

Bring the vehicle to the ground and remove the jack. Give the lug nuts another pull with the wrench to ensure they are as tight as possible.

Replace The Hubcap

If the hubcap you removed earlier fits your spare, put it back on the same way you removed it. If it doesn't, stow it away with the tire you removed.

Check The Pressure In The Spare Tire

Ensure that the spare tire is inflated to the vehicle manufacturer's recommended PSI, which can be found in your owner's manual or on a sticker inside the door.

Take The Flat Tire To A Technician

Temporary spare tires aren't made to drive long distances or at high speeds, so drive cautiously to your nearest tire technician to get your tire replaced.

If You Don't Have A Spare Tire Or Tools

Pull Over & Turn On The Hazard Lights

Follow the same steps to safely pull over and turn on your hazard lights.

Contact Roadside Assistance

If you do not have a spare tire, you need to call for professional help. Contact roadside assistance or a tow truck company to come and either fix the tire or tow your vehicle to a nearby garage.

Wait In A Safe Location

If it's safe, remain in your vehicle with the doors locked. If you are in a risky or uncomfortably close position to traffic, consider waiting in a safer spot near your car.

Conclusion

Experiencing a flat tire can be frustrating, but by following these steps, you can confidently handle the situation, whether you have a spare tire or not. Always prepare for such incidents by equipping your car with the necessary tools and knowing how to handle them. Remember, safety is your top priority, so if you ever feel unsure about changing a tire, don't hesitate to call for professional help.