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What should I do if I have a flat tire? TIRE 101

flat tires

Anxiety is a common reaction to finding a flat tire, especially if it occurs in inclement weather or in a remote area. Nevertheless, you can handle this problem in a safe and efficient manner by using a logical approach. This post will guide you through the necessary actions and offer practical tips, such as the use of run flat tires, to effectively handle a flat tire scenario.

Understanding the situation

Recognizing the issue is the first step towards fixing a flat tire. A pounding sound, a discernible shift in handling, or a warning light on your dashboard are frequently signs that a tire is flat. Find a level, safe place to park and gradually slow down if you think you may have a flat tire. Steer clear of abrupt movements or braking since these can cause a loss of control.

Prioritizing safety

To warn other drivers, turn on your hazard lights once you’ve parked. To alert approaching traffic, position any flares or safety triangles you may have behind your car at a safe distance. Make sure there is no traffic before getting out of your car.

Evaluating your equipment

Make sure you have the required equipment before attempting to change the tire: a lug wrench, a jack, and a spare tire (either a full-size spare or a donut). Additionally, having gloves, a wheel wedge or chock, and a flashlight are recommended. Calling for roadside help is a safer option if any of these items are missing or if you are unclear of how to proceed.

Run-flat tires

Run-flat tires are made to withstand the effects of deflation in the event of a puncture. They give you the option to safely reach a service station or tire shop without having to change a tire on the side of the road by enabling you to continue driving at a slower pace (generally under 50 mph) and for a shorter distance (normally up to 50 miles).

  • Benefits: Safety is the main benefit of run-flat tires. They lessen the possibility of a blowout and let you drive the car even when you have a puncture.
  • Considerations: Run-flat tires can provide a harsher ride and are typically more expensive than ordinary tires. Run-flat tires should be replaced with the same type or an equivalent that the vehicle manufacturer recommends because not all vehicles are designed to accommodate them.

Changing the tire

Prepare your car: Engage the parking brake and place the wheel wedges under the opposite tire to prevent the car from rolling.

Remove the wheel cover and loosen the lug nuts: Use the flat end of your lug wrench to remove the hubcap or wheel cover. Then, loosen the lug nuts about a half turn each, but do not remove them completely yet.

Lift the vehicle: Place the jack under the vehicle, near the flat tire, at the designated jack point (consult your vehicle’s manual if unsure). Raise the vehicle until the flat tire is about six inches off the ground.

Remove the lug nuts and tire: Now remove the lug nuts completely. Keep them in a secure place where they won’t roll away. Gently pull the tire towards you until it is free from the hub.

Mount the spare tire: Lift the spare tire and align it with the wheel bolts. Push it all the way in and then hand-tighten the lug nuts onto the bolts.

Lower the vehicle and tighten the lug nuts: Use the jack to lower the vehicle so that the tire touches the ground but the full weight isn’t on it yet. Tighten the lug nuts with the wrench, going in a star pattern to ensure even tightening. Lower the vehicle completely and give the nuts a final tighten.

Replace the wheel cover: If your spare tire allows, replace the wheel cover or hubcap.

Once the tire has been changed successfully, pack the flat tire and your tools. Exercise caution when driving; spare tires, particularly donuts, are not designed for high speeds or long distances. To get your tire fixed or replaced, go to the closest mechanic or tire store.

Tips for peparedness and prevention

  • Frequent Maintenance: To avoid unplanned flats, check the tread depth and tire pressure on a regular basis.
  • Know Your Car: Make sure you are aware of the jack points and spare tire locations on your car.
  • Emergency Kit: Always carry a basic tool kit, a flashlight, and flares or reflective triangles in your car.
  • Practice: To be more prepared, think about practicing changing a tire in a safe setting.


A flat tire can disrupt your plans, but it doesn’t have to be a catastrophe. By preparing in advance and knowing the steps to change a tire, you can handle this common road mishap with confidence. Remember, safety is paramount; if you’re ever unsure or uncomfortable with changing a tire, it’s best to call for professional assistance.