It’s as inevitable as death and taxes – well almost. One day, when you least expect it, you’ll get a flat tire.
Depending on where that occurs and whether or not you have some kind of roadside assistance available, it may come down to you to change that flat and install your vehicle’s spare tire.
When that day comes, will you know what to do?
For a quick how to guide, check out our tire change infographic. And below are a few things to avoid when changing a tire.
Know where to find your spare tire and jack
In the old days, most car designs were pretty predicable – from one vehicle to the next, the type and location of most of the features were pretty standard. The spare tire, for example could almost always be found under a cover in the trunk, along with the jack, wrench and any other tools required to do the job.
Today’s vehicle designers, by contrast are remarkably more creative, tucking things away in creative places to maximize comfort, add more features and increase interior passenger and cargo space.
So there you are, on a dark, desolate stretch of road late at night with a flat tire. You open up your trunk or rear hatch and low and behold, there’s no spare tire, no jack and no tools anywhere to be found.
This is not the time to be playing hide and seek with your spare.
Find out where the spare, the jack and the tire wrench are located before you set out on your next drive.
Don’t assume everyone else knows you’re changing your tire
It’s always wise to give other motorists a heads up that something’s going on when you set about swapping over your spare for a flat tire.
First off, make sure you’re pulled over in a safe location.
Then, before you get out of your vehicle, be sure to put on your hazard lights. If you have reflective pylons or battery operated safety lights, it helps to place them behind your vehicle too, before you begin changing your tire.
Take out your spare before you jack up your vehicle
Spare tires are heavy and awkward to remove.
Rather than reaching over the back of your vehicle or underneath it to remove the spare tire while the vehicle’s raised on the jack, take out the spare first and set it aside close to the flat tire.
Jacks can fail
A vehicle jack is called on to lift an enormous amount of weight. And while they’re designed to do the job safely, like all equipment, jacks can fail.
Hydraulics can give out. A jack can slip. Any number of things can happen that can result in injury or even death if a driver is changing a tire responsibly. So, never take a jack for granted and always avoid venturing beneath your vehicle when it’s raised on the jack.
Always block the wheels!
While you may be removing one of the wheels on your vehicle, don’t forget, the other three wheels are still on the ground. Wheels roll and even the smallest amount of vehicle movement can cause a jack to topple and a vehicle to come plunging to the ground.
Stay safe and always block the wheels before raising your vehicle on the jack!
These are some simple, common-sense things to remember when changing a tire. Remember them and follow our infographic steps and next time you wind up with a flat tire, you’ll be back on the road safely in no time.