You’re low on air but you’ve got places to go and carpools to run. This is a guide for those who can’t change a tire but need some unprofessional advice.
I’ve had 6 flat tires in the last few months. Or was it more? I’ve become so paranoid, I hear the thump and vibrations of imaginary flat tires in my head on a random drive.
Now that I became an expert on something I knew nothing about, I figured it was time to share my limited knowledge.
Let’s be honest, I cannot physically change a tire myself or even pump it with air. I don’t have the arm strength to actually move off the lug nuts. Fancy word, no? I had to Google it. Basically it’s those little hexagon or round circles you see holding the tire.
K, so what did I actually learn? I learned how to avoid waiting for hours for someone to help me change a tire.
- Notice the first moment you feel tire pressure drop. You may get an alert on your dashboard or you may feel a thump and vibration. You may feel your steering wheel pulling to the right or left. PAY ATTENTION. This is a sign to move to a safe stop and check your tire. If you don’t, you may blow out the tire completely. In layman’s terms a blowout is when you basically shred the tire. This can happen while quickly driving over a pothole (you know it may or may not have happened to a friend…) and your tire falls completely flat.
- Move to a safe stop and check all four tires. If you blew out your tire, stop reading. You cannot drive further and will need roadside assistance. (Chaverim members operate in many areas so you may want to try them first. Otherwise, many car manufacturers offer free roadside assistance).
- If the tire appears low, Google the closest tire center. If it’s within one mile, drive there slowly. If you are driving way slower than anyone else on the road, turn on your hazard lights.
- If there is no tire center within a mile but there is a gas station within a mile, I drive directly to the gas station and fill the tire with air so I can buy some time and get to a tire center that’s still close by.
- If your tire has been punctured with a nail (or something similar) and you didn’t notice it until after a lot of air slowly leaked out, or if your tire is extremely flat from another cause, you cannot drive the car. This is dangerous and you also risk having the wheel frame ruined. At that point, you need air in your tire before you can attempt to drive anywhere. (I once knocked on a random door and the guy had an air compressor in his garage. Another time I discovered a flat tire when the car was in my driveway. Chaverim filled my tire with air and then I drove directly to the tire center).
When I refer to driving the one mile, I’m referring to suburban roads or places without traffic. You may need to reconsider if you’re in the city and driving that one mile takes 15 minutes.
Why head to a tire center? I’ve had my tire changed or hole filled within 15 minutes at a tire center. On the other hand, waiting for roadside assistance to come put a donut on your tire can take a couple of hours, and then you’ll still need to get the original tire repaired and put back on.
Have your own flat tire tips?