My car has a flat tire, what should I do?
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My car has a flat tire, what should I do?

So you come out of your house or place of employment and see that one of your tires is flat, what do you do? If you have AAA you could call them and they will come to put your spare tire on for you so that you can get to an auto repair shop to get it plugged or patched if possible, or get a replacement tire. If you do not have AAA, then you will have to change it yourself. Most cars come with a spare tire, or at least a can of fix-a-flat, which we recommend as a last resort. Your vehicle should have a jack and tools to take your tire off, normally this is found in the back of the car in the trunk. Here is a check lIst from Advance Auto on the procedure to replace your flat tire with your spare.

  • Double check that you’re pulled over in a safe location to reduce your risk of injury from other drivers. Set the transmission in park (or first gear, if a manual transmission) and set the parking brake. Chock at least one wheel on the other end of the vehicle and use the screwdriver-shaped end of the tire tool to pop off the wheel cover (if so equipped).
  • Use the tire tool to loosen the lug nuts to a point where they can be turned easily by hand (remember, “lefty-loosey, righty-tighty”). If you have a stubborn lug nut, your foot can provide extra force and leverage. Before you go full force, though, check to make sure you aren’t trying to loosen a locking lug nut. These lugs are becoming increasingly common as an added security feature, and you can identify them by finding one lug nut per wheel that has a different design than the others. To remove these, you’ll need a special wheel lock key that should be located with your spare tools.
  • Find your jack and position it under the recommended spot for lifting, usually a spot at the edge of the vehicle’s frame. This can vary from one vehicle to another, so check your owner’s manual if in doubt. Safe lift points are often indicated with a mark like a triangle, too. The days of the bumper jack have come and gone, so chances are your vehicle will have a scissors-type jack that raises and lowers using a folding crank-style handle. Turn the crank clockwise to raise the vehicle.
  • When the tire is about an inch off the pavement, go ahead and remove the lug nuts and put them in a secure place; inside your wheel cover is perfect. Pull the wheel and tire straight off and lay it on the ground nearby.
  • Fit the spare wheel and tire over the wheel studs and reinstall the lug nuts, starting with any two that are diagonal from each other. Tighten the lug nuts up to finger-tight.
  • Lower the vehicle back onto the spare again and tighten the lug nuts, starting with the two that are farthest apart and then working your way around to all of them in a star pattern. Get them as tight as possible, then check tightness again in 50-100 miles. Remember that if your vehicle has a donut-type spare, it’s only intended for temporary use and shouldn’t be driven at speeds above 55 mph.
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