How To Fix a Flat Tire

You're driving along when suddenly you hear a loud noise or your car begins to handle erratically. It's clear you have a flat tire, but have no fear —  fixing your own flat has never been easier.

fixing a flat tire

Be Prepared With A  Repair Kit

The first step to fixing a flat tire is to be prepared. Make sure you keep a roadside repair kit in your car at all times in case this happens. At the very  least, it should have a jack, lug wrench, screwdriver, and a spare tire.  Some cars come with a tire mobility kit instead.

Get to a Safe Location

The most important thing when you realize you have a flat tire is to get yourself out of harm's way. Pull off to the side of the road as much as you  can, and make yourself visible to others. This includes turning on your flashers or using flares, especially at night. Open the trunk to make your vehicle more visible and to show that you're making a repair.

Find the Source of the Leak

If you're going to seal the leak rather than install a spare tire, the first  step is to locate where the air is coming from. Make sure your tire is fully pressurized, and add more air from the compressor if it's not. You should  now be able to hear a hissing sound and pinpoint the leak. Pull out the object that pierced the tire.

Sealing the Hole

If you have pressurized sealant, now's the time to apply it by spraying  it into the tire through the valve. Turn the wheel so the tire's valve is pointing up, then open the valve and apply the sealant per the directions.  You'll have to drive the car forward a bit to fully rotate the tire and get the sealant evenly distributed inside. Then you can inflate the tire using the compressor. This is a temporary solution, so as soon as possible, have the tire permanently repaired.

Changing Your Tire

Tire sealants are helpful for short distances, but if you'll be driving far, you should install a spare tire. Put the car in park and secure the tire with two steady objects like blocks. Place the jack under the metal portion of the car's body or as directed in your owner's manual. Raise  the jack until it's firmly supporting the car. Next, remove the hubcab and  loosen the lug nuts by turning them counterclockwise with a lug wrench. Jack the car high enough to lift the tire off the ground. Remove the nuts completely, then remove the wheel.

 

Now it's time to put the spare tire and wheel on the hub. Align the rim with  the wheel bolts, put on the lug nuts, and tighten them until snug but not  completely tight. Lower the car fully and take the jack out. Tighten the nuts  and put the hubcap back on. Most spare tires are only temporary, so make sure  to get the damaged tire repaired and reinstalled as soon as possible.

No one likes having a flat tire, but being prepared will relieve the stress should it happen. Keep a roadside kit in your car, and if it includes a spare tire, check its inflation periodically.

Categories: Service
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