If you drive a car or you own one, you will at one time have a flat. There are many reasons why you will have a flat. They include sharp objects, tire bead leaks, vandalism among others. The most common being sharp objects. The fact is that you could get a flat anywhere at any time of the day. Therefore, it’s important that as a precautionary measure, you familiarize yourself with the process of fixing a flat. This will prepare you psychologically in case it happens and you will be well equipped to deal with the situation.
It is also equally important to know your car. This is because while some cars are simply designed such that you can easily remove and fix the tire; there are some cars that have locking wheel bolts that secure the wheels. In the cases where there are locks, you need a special key to unlock the wheels so as to remove them. The absence of the key simply means that it is impossible to remove the wheel.
There are many ways of fixing a flat. These are using aerosol tire sealers, the second one is changing the tire and using a mini-compressor to increase the tire pressure. While the use of aerosol is quick and easy, it does not offer a permanent solution. Rather it offers just a temporary reprieve until you reach a safe place where you can then have the hole repaired.
A mini-compressor on the other hand allows you to add pressure to the tire. This helps you buy time until you get to the nearest garage. This method is only applicable in cases where you are near a garage.
Changing the tire is the other way of fixing a flat. It is a permanent solution since once you change the tire you can continue with your journey without any further worries. However, it is advisable to also make sure that the removed tire is repaired so that you always have a spare tire.
Below are steps that will guide you when fixing a flat
Look for a safe place
Once you suspect that you have a flat, think of your safety first. Notify other drivers that you have to make a stop by putting on the hazard lights and pulling off the road. It is advisable that you park your car on a level ground that should also be well visible to other motorists to avoid accidents. Once you are done doing this ensure that you can safely open your car door to be able to make an assessment of the situation.
Note that it is important for you to be aware of your surroundings. This will help you know whether it is safe for you to get out of your vehicle or not. Should you feel unsafe or unable to get out of the vehicle for one reason or another, contact someone else to assist you as soon as possible. Also, should you be uncomfortable or unable to change the tire, get in touch with someone to come and help you.
Prepare to fix the tire
Once you establish that you are safe, leave your hazard lights on and open your cars’ hood. An open hood is often an indicator that the motorist is in distress and it also makes your car more visible to the other road users. Therefore, do not get surprised you if get some people offering to help. Also place reflective triangles about five meters from your car to increase your visibility.
If you are using the aerosol tire sealers, it is much easier as you just have to ensure that the car is on stable ground and you can carry out your repair.
After accessing the situation, get your items ready. These include the spare tire, screw driver and a lug wrench. If it’s dark a flash light will definitely come in handy. Gloves will also be great to have so as to keep your hands clean.
Changing the tire
You will begin this process by securing your car. This is to ensure that the car is stable and the other wheels do not roll when you are working on the faulty one. Once you are done doing this, you then remove the wheel caps that could be there. You will then use the lug wrench to loosen the wheel bolts. Do not remove them at this point.
Place the jack on an even ground below your vehicle and raise it. Remember to place the jack on the proper lifting point to avoid any damage as well as provide stability. If you are comfortable with the jack placement, begin to raise your vehicle to a point where you have a little space under the wheel.
When the car is properly lifted, you can now remove the loosened lugs. Remember to keep them safe so that you do not lose any one of them. At this point you can safely remove the tire and place it under the car. This is because it can help hold the car from crushing you in case the jack fails.
Place the spare wheel on the hug and screw all the bolts until it is tight. Avoid using the lug wrench at this stage. Once you are done doing this, remove the spare wheel from under the vehicle and lower it slowly leaving some space and use the lug wrench to tighten the screws. Once tight lower your car completely. Once this has been done tighten the screws as much as possible using the lug wrench.
Fixing using aerosols
In this case once you are in a safe place, remove the cap from the vehicles’ valve system. Replace it with the aerosol can and wait till it fills the tire with air. When done unscrew the can and return the valve cap. Drive to the nearest garage.
Finnish and clean up
You are now done fixing your tire. Make sure that you return all your tools safely including the flat tire. It is important to ensure that the flat tire is repaired so that you have a spare one ready for use.
While most flats are unavoidable, remember to constantly check the condition of your tires. The spare wheel should always have the right amount of pressure especially during long trips.