When driving anywhere, one has to be aware and cautious of flat tires and blowouts. Tire maintenance is very important. In most cases, you need to give your tires more attention than any other part of your car because they are the parts that are the most open to damage. They are always in contact with the ground, and it is littered with jagged rocks, metals, and an assortment of other equally damaging objects. Driving on the streets in any city can wear out your tires, causing them to go bald and giving them less friction. This is very important because if you are driving and try to brake too quickly your car can slide a little longer, hitting another car or even a pedestrian, or even causing a blowout.
Flat tires or blowouts are easy to spot, because in most cases, you feel the difference in the way your car handles almost immediately after getting a flat. Your car may begin to shake, it might even feel like you are driving over jagged rocks or on an unpaved road. When you feel this sensation it is important to remain calm! Don’t jam on the brake, instead ease off of the gas pedal and try and get to the side of the road. Your car will naturally slow down. Trying to brake too hard after a blowout, or trying to drive on a flat tire can be very dangerous for both you and the other people sharing the road with you.
Knowing how to fix a flat tire, or check tire pressure and inflate your tire again when needed can be crucial to your safety. Aside from preventing flat tires and tire blowouts, making sure your tire has good pressure is also beneficial to your wallet. Better tire pressure means better gas mileage in the long run, which can save you money. Especially during a recession, every penny saved can be used for something else. But sometimes people do not check their tires before they get on the road, and this leads to car breakdowns and car troubles.
This article attempts to illustrate the necessity of tire safety and will explain some things that you, the driver, can do to help prevent a blowout and flat tires, and even teach you how to fix a flat tire if you find yourself in that unfortunate situation.
Changing A Flat Tire: Jacking up the Car
Once you are safely on the side of the road and out of danger, you can get to the business of changing your tire. The first step is to jack up your car, here’s how:
- Always make sure you carry the necessary tools to change your tire. These tools are primarily the spare tire, the jack, and the tire-iron. In most cars, like compact cars, the spare tire is located in the trunk under the mat, and in other larger vehicles it’s attached to the back of the vehicle, or under it.
- After you have all the necessary tools it is time to begin. Before changing your flat tire or blowout, always make sure that the car is in park and that it is on a leveled surface. Make sure it is not parked on an angle so your car won’t fall off the jack, and injure you. Also be sure the emergency brakes are on to ensure your safety.
- After the car is securely parked and safe, place the jack under the frame of the car. The jack is usually diamond-shaped and there is a lever that connects to it so you can push the car up. Make sure the car is spaced off the ground, giving you ample room to take off the tire.
- Once the tire that needs the change is in the air, you will use the tire-iron (a t-shaped bar) to remove the lug nuts. Once the tire-iron is in place, you will apply pressure and push it to the left side to loosen the lug nuts. It is always to the left. Remember the saying: “Righty tighty, lefty loosy.”
- After you have loosened all of the lug nuts, you will take them off one by one and set them to the side so you don’t lose them. When you place the spare, it’s important to have all the lugs available so that the wheel is held tightly.
- Your flat tire is ready to be taken off.
Changing Your Tire: Installing Your Spare
Now that your tire is ready to be taken off and changed, you are almost done.
- This is probably the hardest part. Take your spare, and place it right over the wheel studs. The tire can be somewhat heavy so this should be done with caution.
- Once the spare tire is on the wheel stud, you will take the lug nuts that you previously took off the tire and place them on the wheel studs protruding from the middle of the tire. It’s not necessary to start using the tire-iron again. You might want to spin them on carefully by hand and once it does not turn by hand anymore, you will take the tire-iron and tighten them as much as possible.
- Once is it tightened, lowered the jack and remove it from under the car. Once the car is on the ground, tighten the lug nuts even more to make sure that the tire is not loose. Make sure that they are not moving around because a tire placed improperly can result in it flying off while driving.
- Make sure the tire is on well, and that the tire pressure is at the right amount. Some cars have an electronic system that lets you know when there is low tire pressure but it is always good to check it either way. If the tire is low on air, find a pump where you can fill it up.
After installing your spare tire, you are able to drive again. Always make sure there is always enough air in your tire. You don’t want your spare becoming another flat tire or have it blow out on you. After reading this article, we hope you have become a bit more familiar with fixing flat tires, and changing a blowout. This information is always handy while driving. You can even become a Good Samaritan and help someone else in trouble.
It is important to remember that changing a tire on the side of the road can be a dangerous proposition. If you are dealing with poor weather conditions or your car is in an unsafe location, you may be better off contacting a local Los Angeles Towing Company or contacting the California Highway Patrol.
You should only undertake changing a flat tire or a blowout if you feel you know how to and have no physical limitations. If not, you should call roadside assistance personnel or any of Los Angeles’s many towing services. They are flat tire specialists and experts on blowouts. They encounter these things everyday and are properly trained. In either case, after having your flat tire fixed, always take it for a checkup to make sure you are as safe as can be. Safety first.