How to Fix a Flat in Under Fifteen Minutes

October 26th, 2021 by

A flat tire in front of your house can be a big inconvenience. A flat tire on the road, however, may add an element of danger, as well. If you are like most drivers today, you probably have never had cause to change a flat. Modern radial tires resist punctures more so than their predecessors. So, if you find yourself in the unenviable predicament of having to fix a flat tire, here’s a short guide that can help you get it done in less than 15 minutes.

Step One

Find a Safe Location – The moment you notice an issue, pull over and find a safe spot to get to work.

Step Two

Get the Spare Tire Ready – For most cars and SUVs, it will be located in the trunk or the rear cargo space along with your vehicle’s jack and lug wrench. On a pickup truck, the spare may be found under the rear end of the vehicle. Check the owner’s manual if you have trouble locating it. Place the spare tire near the tire that needs changing. If the spare is a “donut” type (a smaller temporary tire), it cannot go on a drive wheel. That means if your vehicle has a front-wheel-drive, the donut spare may only be used on the rear wheel and vice-versa for rear-wheel-drive vehicles. Unfortunately, in this situation, when the flat tire is on a drive wheel, you will need to replace it with a tire from one of your vehicle’s non-drive wheels, and place the smaller spare on the now-empty wheel. A full-size spare tire, however, can replace any tire on the vehicle.

Step Three

Place a Chock and Engage the Parking Brake – Chock the wheels at the opposite end of the vehicle from where the flat is located, and engage the parking brake to keep the vehicle from rolling.

Step Four

Place the Floor Jack – Check the owner’s manual for what’s known as “jack points.” Jack Points are areas of the chassis designed to be strong enough to withstand the weight of the vehicle. Also, make sure the jack sits on a relatively level and flat surface.

Step Five

Jack Up the Vehicle – Pump the jack until it begins to make contact with the chassis. Make sure it remains perpendicular to and sits solidly on the ground. Continue to raise the vehicle enough so that its weight is concentrated on the jack and off the flat tire (but not so high that the wheel can spin). Loosen each lug slightly – this may take some effort – so that they will come off easily when you are ready. Now, continue to jack up the vehicle until the flat tire is at least an inch off the ground. If the jack starts to tilt, or its base comes off the ground, lower the vehicle, reposition the jack, and start over.

Step Six

Swap the Tire – Now that the flat tire is off the ground, finish removing the lug nuts and place them somewhere safe – away from any storm drains, and such. Remove the flat tire by lifting it with both hands and sliding it towards you until it is completely clear of the wheel bolts. Let the flat tire drop to the ground and roll it to somewhere out of the way. Roll the replacement tire into position in front of the bare wheel hub. Line up its holes with the wheel bolts which should be slightly higher than the holes – you may need to jack the vehicle up a bit more. Lift the tire into place and slide it onto the wheel hub. Replace the lug nuts and tighten each as far as possible without causing the wheel to spin.

Step Seven

Lower the Vehicle – Let the vehicle down far enough so that a little of its weight rests on the spare. Use the lug wrench and completely tighten each nut. Do this in a pattern by first tightening one, and then tightening the one directly across from it. Continue this process until each nut feels completely tightened. Finally, lower the vehicle to the ground. Once the vehicle completely rests on the spare, lower the floor jack so that it fits back in its original spot in the vehicle. Check the lug nuts again for security and tightness. Place the flat tire in the trunk or cargo area and clean up.

Step Eight

Have the Tire Repaired or Replaced – Now for the easy part. Stop by your nearest repair shop – or Coulter INFINITI of Mesa, Arizona, if you’re in the area. Let our service professionals recommend the best course of action for your damaged tire. Have fun and browse our large selection of new and pre-owned INFINITI vehicles while you wait. Congratulations on a job well done.

Posted in Service