Flat Tire Advice From Sparky Express
So you have a flat tire! Are you ready to deal with it?
If you are a handy driver, a flat tire should not be a big deal. If your vehicle is equipped with a donut (spare tire) and a compressor, if you have the right tools in your car to do the job, changing your flat tire shouldn't take more than a few minutes.
There are a few things you should keep in mind if you ever have a flat tire:
You have a flat tire while driving.
If you're driving and the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) warning light comes on in your dashboard, slow down gradually and pull over somewhere safe, on a flat hard surface, turn on your hazard lights and inspect the tires. Some cars will even tell you which tire is deflated. If you can change the flat tire with the spare wheel, do so, but make sure that the spare tire is inflated (most models require inflation of 60PSI), and that you work in safe conditions, away from the traffic, to avoid personal injury. Use any safety equipment you have in your vehicle for your safety (reflective vest, reflective triangle, etc) to let the other drivers know you are working on your vehicle, to be visible so they can change lane and give you space to work.
If the tire has exploded, slow down gradually and pull over immediately! You will know it, the wheel will make noise, the steering wheel will be shaky. Do not slam the brakes, and do not drive on the rim! You will damage the rim, ABS, brake lines, and other parts that are around the wheel. Pull over immediately and change your flat tire, or call a flat tire roadside assistance service for help.
Getting your vehicle ready for a flat tire.
Most vehicles are equipped with a flat tire emergency kit which includes:
- Spare tire
- Wheel lock socket
- 12V Compressor
You'll have to inspect the flat tire emergency kit every now and then to ensure that you have all the tools that you need in the kit, your jack is in good working order, and especially that your spare tire is always inflated to 55-60PSI, otherwise it's useless if you don't have a compressor.
Know your vehicle's jacking points! When providing roadside assistance for flat tires, we have often encountered drivers who have damaged the vehicle, or the vehicle fell off the jack because it wasn't jacked properly. Don't guess, if you're not 100% sure what you're doing, call a local flat tire service, your roadside assistance provider, or an on-demand roadside assistance service for help.
Some vehicles are not equipped with a spare wheel or emergency flat tire kit, in which case, you will have to tow your vehicle, or, if the tire can be repaired (only tires punctured by a nail or screw can be repaired temporarily), you should call a mobile flat tire repair service that can plug your punctured tire. In some cases the fix will be temporary, but sometimes the fix could be permanent, the technician will advise you.
The image above shows a tire punctured by a screw. Most of the time, we can fix this flat tire on the road, but it might be a temporary fix only for some vehicles (large SUVs, pick-up trucks, vans with large wheels and high tire pressure).
For your information, here is a list of cars not equipped with a spare tire.