A Flat Tire: What Are The Steps to Fix It?

By Bruno Puebla, Staff Writer

They come like a thief in the night,
you can never predict when and where it
might happen. I’m talking about the dreaded
flat tire, it’s every driver’s worst nightmare.
They can really be a hassle if one
doesn’t know how to fix them properly and
safely. Luckily we have your back, and we’re
going to teach you change a flat safely and
properly in no time!
First things first, to fix a flat you’ll
have to be ready for it. Here’s a great tip
for those new drivers here at Falls Church:
Load up your car with a spare tire, be it a
“donut” tire or an extra regular size tire. I
suggest a regular size tire and not a “donut.”
Why? Because if your car has a front-wheel
drive, and gets a puncture in the front tires,
you would have to switch the flat tire with
a wheel from the back, and then place the
“donut” tire in the back tire’s old place. That’s
why I suggest the regular size tire, so even if
your front wheel pops, you can replace it in
a shorter amount of time.
Now that we talked about which tire
you would be using, you would have to prepare
some tools for the job. Tools include: a
screwdriver, a lug wrench, and the jack. You
can place all of these tools a roadside tool
kit. And the extra tire and the roadside tool
kit go together under the trunk floor.                                                                                                                                           Since you are prepared with your tools,
you would have to know what to do in an “on the
road” situation. While driving you will feel a pop,
and the car will begin to shift its weight to one
side of the car. If this happens try to pull over to
the side of the road, make sure it’s a safe location
where other drivers can see you. Once pulled over
press the hazard lights on; it’s the button with the
red triangle on your dashboard. Now get out of
the car carefully and open both the trunk and the
hood of the car, this makes you more visible to oncoming
drivers. Make sure to put the car in park
and put the handbrake on.
Now put a block, rock, or a flat heavy object
behind one of the back tires. This prevents the
car from rolling backwards when you lift it with
the jack. Open the trunk floor and take out your
roadside kit tool that you prepared before-hand
and the spare tire. Place them neatly on the floor
so no equipment gets lost. Gently place the jack
under the side of the car that has the flat tire, and
the flat top piece of the jack under the metal frame
of the car—not a piece of the car’s outer body that
is painted. Before the you start to push the jack’s
lever, take off the flat tire’s plate cover. Once done,
unscrew the lugs slightly to make them loose, using
the lug wrench.
Now that you have the lugs loosened up a
bit, start lifting the car by pushing down the jack’s
lever. Be extremely careful in using the lever, gent-                                                                                                                 ly push the lever down and raise it up gently.
Stop lifting the car up as soon as the flat tire is
in the air and not touching the ground. This is
when you finishing unscrewing the lugs with the
lug wrench. Place the lugs in your pocket so they
don’t get lost. Remove the tire by pulling the tire
towards you. Place the flat tire under the car, in
case if the jack slips you won’t have your car hit
the ground without a tire, this could break your
wheel hub. Now take your spare tire and insert
it on the wheel hub. Lower the car with the jack
slightly so the tire carries just a small part of the
car’s weight. Tighten the lugs slightly, remember
that to screw the lugs back in place you will need
to do it in a star motion, or a criss-cross motion.
For example if you start from the far bottom lug,
then you would go to the far up right lug next,
then the far up left lug, and then screwing the
bottom right lug and so on until you complete
the circle. This makes sure that the wheel tightens
Finally take out the flat tire from under
the car, and lower the car using the jack all the
way. Here is when you tighten the lugs all the
way, after you’re done place the wheel cover back
on. Now that you’re done pick up the flat tire
and place it under the trunk floor along with the
roadside tool kit. Close the trunk and hood, and
turn off the hazard lights. You are finally done
with the very-feared flat tire!