If you’ve ever had a flat tire, you can appreciate the significance of this common breakdown scenario. Flats can be caused by road debris, wear and tear, or other part malfunctions—each of which carries their own dangers. However, few people know the proper procedure for changing a flat tire. That’s why we’ve put together a post on changing a flat to help you learn the tips and tricks to the process.
According to the experts on NPR’s Car Talk, one of the most important things to do is prepare. Know where your spare and jack are, and make sure you know how to use them. If you can’t figure out your jack or if it’s difficult to operate, consider getting an easy-to-use jack and wrench. It’s good to have a can of fix-a-flat standing by, but this isn’t always the best solution.
Next, get to safety in the event of a blowout. Before you can even change your tire, you need to get out of traffic. Most highways have an emergency lane, but if you’ve ever changed a tire with a semi zooming by, the breeze alone will convince you to pull off the highway. You can drive hundreds of yards before damaging the rims, so try to find an exit if possible.
Finally, there are some proper techniques for changing a tire. Always start by loosening the nuts with the tire on the ground—it’s hard to loosen them with the wheel spinning in the air. When raising the car, be sure to put the emergency/parking brake on to prevent the car from rolling off the jack. When tightening the lug nuts, use a crossing pattern. Tighten one nut, then move to the nut on the opposite side of the wheel. This will ensure even tightening.
And if you ever have a tire or other service issue, stop by Sarant Cadillac! We’re more than happy to help get you back on the road.