Five Tips to Replace a Flat Tire Safely

Five Tips to Replace a Flat Tire Safely

It’s late. You’re heading home after a long day at work when suddenly your car starts pulling to one side. You know what you’ll find before you even pull over: a flat tire.

The mechanics of changing a tire are simple. Jack up the car, unscrew the lug nuts, swap out the tire, tighten down the nuts, and move on with your day. It’s so familiar that many people forget to take an extra moment to think about safety. Changing a tire on the roadside can be dangerous. Don’t put yourself at risk; follow these tips for a fast, safe tire change.

  1. Be prepared. Make sure there is a jack, spare tire, tire blocks, and the proper lug wrench in your trunk at all times. You may also want a tire gauge, WD-40, a mat to kneel on, a flashlight, and a poncho in case of rain. Gloves are another nice addition to your emergency kit.

As soon as you get a new car, take the jack out and make sure you know how it works. They’re all fairly similar, but you don’t want any surprises when you need to use it. Read through the owner’s manual to find vehicle-specific procedures for changing a tire.

If you bought a Chevy, ask one of their Service technicians to show you the ropes.

  1. Pick your spot. You can drive a few hundred yards without permanently destroying your tire, so don’t just pull over any old place. The draft from a passing semi can knock your car off the jack if you’re too close. Also, you don’t want to risk being clipped by a driver who drifts out of their lane while you’re working.

Find a level spot entirely off the road, including the breakdown lane if at all possible. (It’s legal to drive there in some states.) Be careful not to park on a curve where other drivers might not see you. Check the ground to make sure it’s hard enough to support the jack.

If you can’t get to a safe spot, call for roadside assistance. Don’t try to change your tire yourself unless you can do so safely.

  1. Turn on your hazard lights and put out warning triangles. This is especially important at night and at dusk when there may be fog. Most tire-change related accidents happen because the oncoming driver didn’t see the stopped car.

Hazard triangles are found in most pre-prepared vehicle emergency kits, though they may be folded up. Put them about fifty yards behind your car.

  1. Have everyone get out of the vehicle. Ask everyone to climb out and stand well away from the road. Don’t let anyone wait inside the car while you change the tire, especially children. The car will be off-balance while you have it on the jack, and all it takes is one lean at the wrong moment to tip it off. That’s a recipe for disaster when you might have a hand or leg under the car.
  1. Use tire blocks. It’s tempting to skip tire blocks. After all, changing a tire doesn’t take that long and the blocks can be a hassle. Blocks make a car much more stable, though, and they’re absolutely critical if there is any incline. Place blocks behind and in front of the tire diagonally opposite the flat.

At Heidebreicht, we want to help you drive safely all the time. If you’re near Macomb County, our GM certified technicians can answer any tire changing questions you have. Check out our tires and come for service

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