Whether it happens on the road, or while parked, odds are most North Carolina motorists have likely experienced the unwanted hassle of getting a flat tire. There are a variety of factors that can cause a flat tire, such as running over a nail or other sharp object, as well as damage from the elements, which causes a tire to prematurely age and crack. Poor alignment, hard impact due to an accident or pothole, as well as a tire simply reaching the end of its tread life are other common reasons why tires go flat. While there are a myriad of ways to get a flat tire, the solution is always the same. This month’s blog focuses on what to do if you get a flat tire in Winston-Salem.
Step 1: Remain Calm
Getting a flat tire is never fun. It can be an unsettling experience especially if it happens at night, in adverse weather conditions or in a hostile environment. The first thing to do if you get a flat tire is to remain calm. Panicking or getting upset will only make a bad situation worse and will negatively affect one’s judgement and decision-making ability.
Step 2: Pullover
If you get a flat tire while driving, safely pull over. If possible, try to pick a well-lit, flat area, safe from on-coming traffic. Remember that you will need to find a space that at a minimum provides enough room to change a tire, as well as possibly accommodating another vehicle. Don’t forget to set your parking brake and turn on your hazard lights as well.
Step 3: Call Roadside Assistance (if applicable)
In the event of a flat tire, calling roadside assistance is the easiest and most convenient way of resolving the problem. Most car insurance providers include a number of free roadside assistance calls with their coverage plans free of charge. If you get a flat tire in the Winston Salem NC area and need help, don’t hesitate to contact us at Carolina Auto Service.
Step 4: Do-it-Yourself
Not everybody has access to roadside assistance. Some may have already used their complimentary calls provided by their auto insurance companies or prefer to save them for a more perilous situation. Some of us simply prefer to change our own tires. If you are willing to get your hands dirty and have all the necessary equipment, you can save yourself the time and hassle of waiting for help to arrive. This is especially true if you get a flat tire late at night as well as an isolated or unsafe location.
How to Replace Your Flat Tire
- You will need: road flares or reflective triangle mobile hazard signs, flathead screwdriver, lug wrench
- If necessary set road flares or reflective triangles to alert other motorists.
- Remove the hubcap or wheel center cap with a flathead screwdriver, if applicable.
- Before jacking the vehicle, loosen the wheel’s lug nuts with the lug wrench. It is much easier to loosen the lugs when the vehicle is on the ground. Do not remove the lugs, simply loosen them.
- Locate your vehicle’s hard point closest to the flat. Find a flat, solid metal point under the edge your car or truck’s frame closest to the flat. Many automobiles have marked designated jack points. If you really aren’t sure where to set the jack, you can use the end of the vehicle’s axel closet to the flat.
- Position the jack correctly and slowly raise the car or truck. Stay alert for any movements or sounds that may indicate the jacked vehicle is unstable and might collapse.
- Remove lug nuts from the flat tire’s wheel and remove the flat tire and replace it with the spare.
- Tighten the lugs with the lug wrench then lower the car or truck back to the ground. Once the vehicle is stable, tighten the lugs with the lug wrench.
Step 5: Follow-up
Don’t be that person riding around on a spare tire donut for way too long. Spare tires were designed to be used “sparingly”. Even if your spare tire is a full size additional tire, driving for an extended period of time on your full-size backup leaves you vulnerable in the event of another flat tire. If you get a flat tire, make sure to make any necessary repairs or replacements as soon as possible.
To maximize performance and longevity from your tires, make sure to maintain them at the proper, manufacturers specified, air pressure level. Regularly scheduled tire rotations, along with routine balances and alignments are also essential when it comes to getting the most out of your automobile’s tires. If you have further questions regarding changing a flat, or tire care in general, feel free to contact us. If you would like to have one of our friendly, ASE-certified automotive technicians take a closer look at your vehicle’s tires or need service, drop by for a visit or set up your appointment today. We’re conveniently located in Winston-Salem, NC on South Stratford Road near Interstate 40. For other useful tips and repairs such as Timing Belt Replacement, and Water Pump Replacement contact us today!