What To Do When You Get a Flat Tire

A flat tire can be a serious hassle for any motorist. However, as this article shows, there are ways to prepare yourself to lessen the inconvenience and potential danger of a flat tire.

Preemptive Moves

You can lessen the pain of a flat tire by taking some preemptive measures. Those measures include:

  • Check to see if your car has a spare tire in good condition. If necessary, obtain a new spare.
  • Obtain a tire repair kit. These may include small tools, patches, and a foam sealant.
  • Also keep a tire jack, lug wrench, and a tire gauge in your car.
  • Become familiar with your car’s tire-change procedure by consulting the owner’s manual.
  • If it fits in your budget, purchase run-flat tires. These can keep your car mobile for a short time at a reduced speed.
  • Sign up for a roadside assistance plan and keep their contact information handy. 

Other useful items to have on hand include rain gear, gloves, a flashlight, and wheel wedges, according to Bridgestone Tire’s guide on flat tires. Additionally, a 2″ by 6″ piece of wood is helpful because you can place it under the jack to secure it before raising your car.

After a Flat

If you realize the car has a flat while you’re driving it, slow down at a gradual pace. Turn on your hazard lights. Keep an eye out for a place with lots of room to safely park, such as a particularly wide shoulder or a parking lot. Also look for level ground to avoid rolling. Try not to park on a curve, as traffic will have a harder time seeing you. 

Once you’ve found an ideal spot, apply your parking brake. From here, you have some options on how to proceed.

Option 1: Repair It Yourself

If the hole is small enough, you may be able to use a tire repair kit to patch and re-inflate the tire. Find and remove the object that caused the flat if you can, and then follow the kit’s instructions. This should be considered a temporary fix: These kits are designed to get you on the road long enough to reach a repair shop for further inspection and repair. Additionally, do-it-yourself repairs are not suitable for fixing the side wall of your tire. 

If you have the tools and the know-how, changing the tire is another option. Again, this should be considered a temporary fix. After the change, proceed to a repair shop for a permanent replacement.

Option 2: Calling for Assistance 

If you are not confident in your ability to change or repair the tire, you should call for a tow truck. The driver will either haul your car to a repair shop or assist you with the repair.

Another reason to call for a tow truck is if you were unable to get the car to a safe area: It may be best to move the car so it can be repaired in a safer place. If you have a roadside assistance plan through your insurance company or a provider like AAA, this is their time to shine. Simply call them up and give them your location and situation, and then help will be on the way. Alternatively, you can use a Google search or Yelp to find a local towing company, or flag down a police car for assistance.

And remember, don’t panic: A flat tire is annoying, but there are plenty of ways to get you back on the road safely and quickly.