What to Do If You Get a Flat Tire

You're zooming down the road, racing to get home, when your car starts acting strangely. It feels like your car is pulling to the side, and you struggle to accelerate or even to steer.

If this happens, you probably have a flat tire. You have to think fast to avoid a car accident. You should be okay as long as you slow down and pull over to the side of the road. Look for a flat stretch of road where you're not close to oncoming traffic.

Your next steps depend on whether or not you have a spare tire with you.

If You Have a Spare Tire

If you have a spare tire and tools in your trunk, it's time to exchange your flat tire for a spare one. Along with a spare tire, you'll also need a car jack, wheel wedges, and a lug wrench. You'll also benefit from a 2x6" piece of wood, some gloves, and a flashlight if it's dark.

To change your tire:

  1. Put your car in park and set the parking brake. Turn on your hazard lights.

  2. If you're changing a back tire, set wheel wedges in front of the front tires. If you're changing a front tire, put wheel wedges in front of your back tires.

  3. Use your lug wrench to remove your hubcap. Then loosen the lug nuts by turning them counterclockwise with the lug wrench.

  4. Place the car jack under your car's frame, next to the flat tire. You can help keep the jack balanced by placing a 2x6" piece of wood under the jack. Use the jack to raise the car about six inches off the ground.

  5. Unscrew the lug nuts the rest of the way.

  6. Pull the flat tire toward you to remove it.

  7. Place the spare tire in line with the lug bolts. You should be able to see the lug nuts through the tire rim. Now, tighten the lug nuts by hand.

  8. Lower the vehicle with until the tire is lightly touching the ground. Tighten the lug nuts even further with the lug wrench.

  9. Lower the vehicle the rest of the way and make sure the lug nuts are as tight as possible. Now you can remove the jack.

  10. Replace the hubcap.

  11. Check the spare tire's pressure and add air if needed. A compact spare tire needs about 60 psi.

As soon as your spare tire is safely on your car, you should drive slowly to the nearest auto repair shop. Find a shop that's close to where you are. After all, spare tires can drive only for about 50 miles.

If You Don't Have a Spare Tire

What if you don't have a spare tire or don't feel comfortable changing the tire yourself? Some towing services, auto shops, and emergency services offer tire changes. Give them a call, and a repair technician will travel to where you are to change your tire with a spare. You'll then need to drive your car to the repair shop to get a permanent tire.

While you wait for the technician, put your car in park and turn on your hazard lights. Stay in your car with the doors locked until the technician arrives.

What if your car has problems beyond the flat tire? A flat tire makes drivers more likely to lose control of the car and get in an accident. If your car has other mechanical problems, call a towing service. The towing service can tow your car to a repair shop.

Follow these tips to quickly address flat tire problems. For tire changes, towing, and accident recovery, contact the specialists at Valley Express Auto Repair .