How to Fix a Flat in Under 15 Minutes
Fall is the perfect time to take a trip to see the foliage change color, go to a fall festival, or visit family during the holidays. In fact, one in four Americans will take a vacation this fall. No matter your destination, we want you to arrive safely.
When spending time on the road, we want you to feel prepared for anything that comes your way. Flat tires account for over 20% of roadside emergencies. Every year, 220 million flat tires occur and, if you are not properly prepared, can ruin your fall travel plans. The average driver will experience approximately 5 flat tires in their lifetime. Chances of you encountering a flat tire are high, so take a moment to prepare yourself on how to change a tire in 15 minutes. You’ll thank yourself later.
It is important to prepare for the event of a roadside tire change before it’s too late. Make sure you are equipped with a spare tire, a lug wrench, wheel wedges, and your owner’s manual.
TURN ON YOUR HAZARDS
As soon as you realize you are driving with a flat tire, turn on your hazards to alert other drivers. Slow down to a safe speed and locate a wide, flat stretch of road or a parking lot to safely stop your vehicle.
PULL OVER TO A SAFE LOCATION
Make your way safely to the side of the road, come to a complete stop, put your car in park and apply the parking brake.
While you should not continue driving with a flat tire, do not attempt to change your tire in an area where you are too close to the road. This will put you and your vehicle at risk of being struck by a passing car. If there is no space to pull safely off the road, continue driving slowly until you locate a safe pull-off. Once stopped, locate all of the tools previously mentioned that you will use in the tire change process.
STABILIZE YOUR VEHICLE
Before beginning working on your tire, you must ensure it will not roll with tire chocks, also known as wheel wedges. If you are not equipped with wheel wedges, large stones or bricks can be substituted. Ensure they are large enough to stop your car from rolling.
Place these in front of your front tires if you are changing a rear flat tire. If you are changing a front flat tire, place wheel wedges behind the rear tires.
REMOVE THE HUBCAP
If your lug nuts are covered by a hubcap then you will need to remove it before proceeding with the following steps. Refer to your owner’s manual to find out how to remove your hubcap or lug nut covers. You may need to use the flat end of your lug wrench to detach them.
LOOSEN THE LUG NUTS
Use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts half a turn counterclockwise, but ensure you do not remove them completely. The lug nuts may be difficult to loosen and require more force than expected to turn.
RAISE YOUR VEHICLE
Refer to your owner’s manual to find instruction on jack placement. Make sure you place the jack on the same side of the car as the flat tire and it makes contact with the frame of your car rather than the running boards. Once placed correctly, use the jack to raise your car 7 inches off of the ground.
REMOVE THE LUG NUTS
Using your hand or the lug wrench, continue turning the lug nuts counterclockwise to fully remove them. Be careful not to misplace the lug nuts, put them somewhere safe to ensure they are not kicked aside or fall out of reach.
REMOVE THE FLAT TIRE
Grip your tire firmly by the treads and pull it towards you to remove. Place it carefully on the ground sideways so it cannot roll away.
INSTALL SPARE TIRE
Line your spare tire up with the studs and carefully push it into place. Make sure the correct side is facing out before moving on to the next step.
REPLACE THE LUG NUTS
Gather the lug nuts you had safely stowed away and screw them clockwise back into place with your hand. Do not tighten them all the way at this point.
LOWER YOUR VEHICLE
Slowly and carefully use the jack to lower your car back onto the ground.
TIGHTEN THE LUG NUTS
Once your vehicle is lowered onto the ground, use the lug wrench to tighten them as much as possible. Revisit each lug nut and turn clockwise using the weight of your body to apply the needed force to safely tighten them.
If your hubcap will fit your spare tire, replace it on your wheel the same way you removed it. If it is not compatible with your spare tire, store it in your trunk with your flat tire.
VISIT A REPAIR SHOP
Gather all of your tools and store them inside your vehicle. Carefully re-enter traffic and proceed to a repair shop. Drive slowly and carefully, your spare tire is not designed for long drives or high speed. Your repair shop may be able to fix your flat tire or determine a new tire is needed to get you safely back on the road.
No matter the obstacles you encounter on the road, we want you to arrive at your destination safely. Always be sure to employ safe driving tactics and look out for your fellow drivers on the road. Want to learn more about Impulse and how it can protect your family on your next road trip? Visit https://frontlane.com/Impulse/ to learn more!