Your tires and wheels are the essential parts of your vehicle. They give your car stability and keep you attached to the road beneath you. Tires seem simple, but significant research over the decades has led to driving becoming safer at higher speeds and in case the tire is damaged. They can also be the most annoying thing about a car, especially when you have a flat tire. Flat tires can happen at any time, and quite often are beyond your control. These are some tips that will help you take care of your tires and get your car back on the road swiftly.
Inspect and Protect Your Vehicle
Preventative maintenance is the key to avoiding flat tires. Best practice is to check the air pressure in your tires at least once a week. If the air pressure is too low, use an air compressor to fill your tires to the proper PSI (or pounds per square inch). The PSI for your tires can usually be found on a decal inside of the driver’s door, and usually is 32 to 35 PSI. Don’t forget the spare tire too!
Secondly, inspect your tires for any damage. This should be done weekly, before a long-distance drive (over 90 minutes), or if the car hasn’t been driven in over a month. Look for uneven tread wear, bubbles in the tires, nail heads, emerging wires and other tell-tale signs of tire issues. Don't ever leave your tires with too much or too little air as it can cause them to wear in certain spots.
Preventive maintenance includes wheel alignments, wheel rebalancing and tire rotations. You should have a reputable shop perform those three services for you every 10,000 kilometres. It will ensure that you always have a smooth and safe ride no matter where you go.
Keep Your Tools Stocked
In case you do get a flat tire while driving, you need to have some tools in your car. A pressure gauge is a must-have item to keep in your toolbox. This tiny gadget can tell you exactly how much air pressure you have in each of your tires if your vehicle isn't equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system.
Next, you’ll need a jack to lift your car up off the ground and a lugnut wrench, as these are critical to being able to change the tire on the side of the road. If your car has a locking lugnut on your tires, keep the key inside your car as well. If you want to be extra careful, you can keep a canister of an “instant tire repair” that can fill your tire so that you can drive to the repair shop and have someone fix the problem.
Other items that would be handy to have in your car, but are not critical, are triangle cones for to inform other drivers to go around you, a rain poncho, a flashlight, and gloves. And, of course, don’t forget the spare tire.
Have the Number to a Reliable Shop
It's important to keep the number to a reliable auto repair shop in your phone or on a card in the glove box. You may be on your way to work or an important event when your tire flattens, and you'll want to ensure that you can contact someone ASAP to get you out of the situation. Haus of Cars is a highly reliable auto repair shop that can help you with a vast assortment of automotive needs, including tire repair and maintenance work. We have been providing people with superior customer service since we opened our doors. You can find our contact information here.
What to Do If You Get a Flat Tire
Stay Calm & Pull Over
The first thing you need to do if you get a flat tire is relax. Find a safe place to pull over, like a shoulder if you're on a highway, a side road, or a parking lot. However, do not keep driving if your tire is completely flat. You could ruin your rim that way, and then you will have a large expense in addition to any small expenses you may already have. Once stopped, turn on your hazard lights and apply the parking brake.
What’s the Damage?
Once it is safe, get out of your car and have a look at your car in its entirety. Is it just a tire that’s flat, or is there greater damage to your car? Anything greater than one flat tire, and you’ll need to call for a tow truck to get your car to the nearest auto shop. A single flat tire can be changed easily on the side of the road, but if you don’t feel comfortable with changing the tire, it’s still best to call a tow truck for assistance.
Change the Tire
Place the jack under the vehicle frame where the tire is flat. The owner’s manual of your car would have the specifications on where to place the jack. Using the lugnet wrench, loosen all the lugnuts with the lugnut wrench by a ¼ turn. Doing this now will make changing the tire easier. Raise your vehicle about 6 inches off the ground using the jack, and then finish removing the lugnuts to swap the tire. With the spare tire in place, tighten the lugnuts by hand and slowly lower the car using the jack. With the car back on the ground, tighten the lugnuts with the wrench and check the air pressure of the spare tire.
Call Someone Trustworthy
Once the spare in on the car, or if all else fails, it's time to call someone trustworthy. Call a shop that you know has experience and positive reviews in the area of tire and auto repair. Ask them if they can assist you where you are, or you can schedule an appointment to bring your vehicle in for repairs. Might we recommend Haus of Cars? Contact us here.