Eventually every driver will probably have to deal with a flat tire — it’s just part of life. Having to change it yourself by the side of the road can seem like a daunting task, but if you’re prepared with both the proper equipment and know-how, it’s much easier than you think. Our Crestview Chrysler Service Department technicians suggest that you practice the following steps before the inevitable happens.
- Making sure your tires are inflated properly is an essential part of vehicle maintenance. When you check the air pressure in your tires, you also need to check your spare tire, or donut tire. Inflate it to the correct air pressure (as stated in your owner’s manual), and if it’s in bad condition, take it to a service center to be fixed or replaced. If your donut fails when you need it, you’ll need to get a tow instead.
- There’s some safety equipment that can help with changing a flat tire, too. If you have some work gloves with you, they can keep your hands clean, and warm if it’s colder outside. Keeping a flashlight or a lantern-style flashlight will be helpful if you are changing a flat tire when it’s dark out. Also, if you can put a clean tarp in your trunk with your other supplies, you’ll have a clean place to work on the ground.
Changing the Tire
- First, make sure you pull over to a safe area. Minimize how much driving you do on a flat, because you don’t want to damage the rim. Pull it over on a straight section of the road, and put the car in park and pull the emergency break. Keep your keys with you instead of letting them stay in the ignition. Turn on the car’s hazard lights, and place your flares or hazard triangles to move traffic away from you. Now you’re ready to get to work.
- Get your tools out, and set them out on the tarp next to your tools. You’ll need to get the spare tire, the jack, and the lug wrench out.
- Before you jack the car up, remove the hubcap with the flat end on the lug wrench. Then use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts in even steps, about two turns for each nut at one time. If a lug nut is too tight, then hold the wrench on the nut with one hand, and step on the other end. Persistence will be your ally.
- The jack will usually have a notch in the top where you’ll find a matching notch on the underside of your vehicle (called the jack point), so raise the jack to fit the notches together. Then jack the car up to lift the tire off the ground a few inches. Take the nuts off and pull the flat tire off. Put the new tire on, and use your hands to tighten the nuts back on.
- Lower the car, and tighten the nuts all the way. Tighten them diagonally to keep the pressure applied evenly. Replace the hubcap. Make sure the jack is lowered all the way before you put it back, and put the flat tire in the wheel well.
- You’re done! Now get back on the road, but drive slowly — don’t go faster than about 65 km/hour.
Crestview Chrysler has one of the largest inventories in Saskatchewan, so our service technicians are expertly trained in a ton of different makes and models. For more information about the services and parts we offer, or for more tips on what to do in the event of a flat, contact Crestview Chrysler today!