A flat tire is one of those driving hazards that can happen to anyone, anywhere, even if you take amazing care of your wheels. Run over the wrong thing and you could find yourself needing a visit to Tire Outlet, but what do you do until you can get there?
Here is the process and some tips to keep you safe.
Prepare Before the Flat
As mentioned, anybody’s tire can be flattened. As an operator of your vehicle, you need to have a fully stocked and functioning roadside emergency and tire change kit. You also need to know how to use the tools that are part of the kit.
Use the Shoulder as Needed
Once you know you have a flat or a tire that is losing air, you need to get to the side of the road and then use the shoulder to your greatest advantage. If possible, pulling all the way off the road into a driveway, side street or parking lot is preferable. If not, make sure you position the vehicle where you can work on it but be as safe as possible.
That means you need to:
- Pull over to the shoulder where your vehicle will be on even ground
- Put your vehicle in Park and put the Emergency Parking Brake on
- Turn your vehicle off
- Set up any emergency reflector lights or flares 25 to 50 feet behind your vehicle
- Place rocks underneath the wheel on the opposite side to prevent rolling.
Follow Your Manual and Jack the Vehicle Up
Your vehicle’s operator manual will tell you where to place the jack underneath. Once it is in place, follow this procedure:
- Remove your spare tire from the vehicle’s storage area.
- Loosen the lug nuts before you being jacking up the vehicle.
- Jack up the vehicle until the vehicle is high enough to complete all needed work
- Take the lug nuts off and put them in an easily reached, but safe place
- Remove the flat tire
- Put the spare tire on
- Replace the lug nuts in the same order you took them off and hand tighten them
- Lower the jack until the vehicle is on the ground with the vehicle’s weight on it
- Tighten the lug nuts using the socket wrench until you cannot tighten them further
- Replace all the tools. Stow the flat tire in your trunk or appropriate place.
Once you have the spare on, use standard driving techniques to reenter the roadway and get to the Tire Outlet as soon as possible.