Experiencing a flat tyre when you’re driving is no fun, particularly when they tend to strike at the most inconvenient time. But follow some simple steps and you’ll be back on the road in no time.
A tyre that has lost – or is losing – its air pressure while driving can make a vehicle feel strange; if it’s a front tyre, you might have trouble steering, or the car might feel ‘heavy’. If it’s a rear tyre, you’ll feel an odd sensation from the back of the car. A sudden loss of pressure will be felt for sure, no matter the speed at which you are driving.
How to safely change a tyre
Here’s what to do:
• Safety first: switch on your hazard warning lights, slow and pull over to the side of the road and gently brake. Make sure you stop in an area that’s safe and away from other moving vehicles.
• If your car has a reflective warning triangle (or similar), place it on the road behind your car to warn other road users to slow down and avoid you.
• Ensure the ground is level so it’s safe to raise your car with its jack to remove and replace the wheel with the flat tyre.
• Remove from the car the items you’ll need: the jack (to raise and lower your car), the wheel brace (large wrench to remove and tighten the wheel nuts), and the spare wheel. Your car’s owner’s manual will show you where they’re kept.
• Ensure the parking brake is on. Then place the jack at the car’s jacking point where the flat tyre is located (your owner’s manual will show you where).
• Jack the car high enough to remove the wheel (and fit the spare wheel). Once raised, remove the wheel nuts (there’s usually four, five or six) holding the wheel on. Remove the wheel, fit the spare wheel in its place, and refit the nuts. Ensure you tighten them using the wheel brace before lowering the car.
• Lower the car gently using the jack.
• With the car on the ground, check the wheel nuts are tight using the wheel brace.
• Put your jack, wheel (with the flat tyre) and wheel brace in the car. Don’t forget your warning triangle. You’re ready to go.
If your car doesn’t have a spare wheel and comes with a ‘tyre repair’ inflation kit, follow its instructions to reinflate your flat tyre.
And make sure you get your flat tyre inspected for repair or replacement at your nearest Bob Jane T-Marts store.
“Flat tyres might seem like a rarity these days,” says Bob Jane T-Marts National Training and Development Manager Tony Harrison, “but it still pays to be prepared.” “Don’t rely on chance when you’re driving. If your car comes with a spare wheel and tyre, make sure they’re in good condition and always properly inflated. And make sure you’re familiar with how to change a spare wheel – your car’s owner’s manual is a good reference to learn how.”
Always remember: never attempt to change a flat tyre if it’s unsafe to do so.
How to ‘solve’ a flat tyre using an extended mobility solution (when your car isn’t fitted with a spare wheel and tyre)
Modern cars have evolved rapidly in recent decades, and not just in terms of cleaner engines and advanced onboard technologies. Spare tyres have also changed into a concept called extended mobility solutions.
For a long time, almost every car on the road was fitted with a full-size spare wheel and tyre. A full-size spare refers to a spare wheel and its tyre being the same size as those fitted to the car. Modern car development has seen the space usually devoted to carrying a full-size spare wheel and tyre shrink, giving rise to what’s often referred to as a space-saving spare wheel, this offered a weight saving advantage on a component that is very rarely used in most cars These are usually narrower versions of the wheels and tyres fitted to your car. They take up less space in the vehicle’s boot and, despite their maximum speed and loading capacity, they’re designed to get you from the side of the road to a suitable location for your punctured tyre to be repaired or replaced.
This space-saving idea has taken a further step in recent years. Today, it’s not uncommon for some modern cars, such as sports cars, to not carry a spare wheel and tyre of any kind. So, to manage the risk of a flat tyre when driving, these cars offer a few options.
One of these is the run-flat tyre. Run-flat tyres are designed to let a car be driven should they suffer a puncture in their tread surface. They can even operate when all the air has escaped, which is why a tyre pressure monitoring system in the car is mandatory when run-flat technology is used. Run-flat tyres have special design and construction that mean you can keep driving your car up to a certain speed for a short time, preventing the need to stop on the side of the road. Run-flat tyres let you and your car continue driving so you can get a puncture safely repaired or replaced, however not all tyre brands who offer run-flat solutions allow you to repair their tyres.
It’s important to note that if your car was fitted with run-flat tyres when it was built, it’s likely your car’s manufacturer will suggest you always use them. Most importantly It’s because you won’t have a spare wheel in your car but more technically your car’s braking, suspension and steering will probably have been designed and engineered to use this type of tyre. Check your car’s owner’s manual to see if this applies to your car. Bob Jane T-Marts offers a variety of run-flat tyres in a range of sizes from different tyre brands.
Another common extended mobility solution that helps solve a punctured tyre when you’re on the road is tyre sealant. Tyre sealants are generally simple to use and usually come with easy instructions. If a tyre gets a puncture hole below a certain size, and the puncture is in the tyre’s tread (not its sidewall), then the driver simply connects the can of tyre sealant to the tyre’s valve and fills the can’s contents into the flat tyre. The can’s contents fill the tyre cavity and seals the tyre’s inner lining, including the puncture, allowing the tyre to still operate up to a certain speed.
“Tyre sealants and run-flats are temporary solutions for a flat tyre,” says Bob Jane T-Marts National Training and Development Manager Tony Harrison.
“They play an important role when you drive: they help keep you on the road so you can get your flat tyre correctly sorted by a trained professional.
“Any punctured tyre – whether it’s a full-size spare, a space-saver spare, a run-flat tyre, or a tyre repaired with tyre sealant – needs to be checked, and then either repaired or replaced, by a trained specialist as soon as possible. This is to ensure the safety of your vehicle.
“If your car uses an extended mobility solution such as run-flat tyres or an onboard can of tyre sealant, always remember they’re not permanent solutions for a punctured tyre. If you need to use a tyre sealant, or if you’ve driven on a punctured and deflated run-flat tyre, take it to your nearest Bob Jane T-Marts store as soon as you can.”