The principle is the same on all vehicles, but knowing where your spare tire, jack set, and wheel lock key may vary. Just a quick reminder… before you are in an emergency situation on the side of the road, take stock of where these items are in your vehicle.
In the event of a flat tire, pull over and STOP as soon as you safely can. Turn on your emergency flashers, and either change the tire or call for assistance. Stopping quickly can save you time and money – a new tire can run into a few hundred dollars (or you may have to replace all 4 tires, if you drive a 4-wheel drive car). If the wheel rim becomes bent or damaged (which will happen quickly if there is no air in the tire), add another couple hundred for a replacement rim.
My suggestion is that right now – before you are in an emergency situation- take stock of what and where everything is:
- Do you know where your wheel lock tool is and how to use it?
- Where is your spare tire? Is it properly inflated? It will not be much help if it is flat too.
- Can you access your tire jack? Sometimes they are “hidden” under the spare or in another compartment. Do you know how to use it?
- Do you know how to place the jack on the car frame without damaging the car?
Pull out your Owner’s Manual – this is the best place to start. The directions are generally very clear for how to change your tire, and where to find the needed tools. First, place the jack under the car and put a partial load on the jack. Second, you will need to loosen the lug nuts on the tire, before you lift the weight off of the tire.
Then use the jack to raise the vehicle and wheel off of the ground. Remove the tire from the car, and replace it with your spare tire. Lastly, retighten the lug nuts and then remove and replace the jack. Note: let the car down so the weight of the car does not allow the wheel to turn while you are tightening the lug nuts.
Please understand that is not safe to drive above 50mph on your spare (check your Owner’s Manual for your specific spare tire) since it is not designed to be driven at higher speeds or for extended periods of time.
Take your flat tire to your auto repair shop soon, and have the tire repaired, if possible. Tires with a hole near or on the sidewall may not be able to be replaced safely – your honest accurate auto technician will be able to advise you.
Flat tires do happen, at the most inconvenient times. Be prepared and it will go much more smoothly with less stress!