Where’s the Spare: Fixing Flat Tire Frustration

Written by a Guest Blogger

When you get a flat tire, it’s never at a convenient time or location. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. Here’s what you should do when the air is taken out from under you.

Get A Roadside Assistance Program

Roadside assistance programs are offered by almost every major insurance company out there. You don’t have to buy one from your insurer though. Organizations, like AAA, are more than happy to sell you a service plan.

So, what do these plans cover, exactly? Well, that depends on the level of service you purchase. Some companies only offer one level of service. These “entry level” packages are only meant to be used in the case of extreme emergency and usually only provide towing services.

Other plans may cover small services like a gallon of gas (if you happen to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere) or flat-tire service. If you pick up a roadside assistance program, make sure it covers flat tires.

Also make sure your plan provides towing coverage, like 24 hour towing in Union City, just in case you happen to experience a blow out at 1AM or something.

Make Sure You Have A Good Spare Tire

One in seven vehicles today doesn’t come equipped with a spare tire. Why not? In short, fuel economy regulations imposed by the federal government. Car manufacturers are struggling to figure out how to keep vehicles safe and, at the same time, meet government fuel economy regulations.

The result, many times, is elimination of the classic spare tire hidden away in the trunk. Check under your trunk’s floor panel. If there’s no spare tire or no tire well, you’ll have to go out and buy yourself a spare tire. Spare tires can cost upwards of $100, but check the prices for your vehicle, specifically. You may be able to purchase a spare full-size tire for the same price. The only problem will be finding room to store it in the vehicle.

Practice Changing A Flat Tire

What good is a spare tire if you don’t know how to change it? While many roadside assistance programs will do this for you, not all areas of the country have cell service. If you’re way out in some remote location, for example, you may have only yourself to rely on. Take a couple of weekends, and practice changing your tire using the jack that came with your vehicle and the spare tire you’ll keep in the car. Don’t drive around on the spare though. Just change the tire.

Once you’ve gotten good at it, and can change a tire in about 10 minutes, you’re ready for an emergency.

Don’t forget to practice in the dark though too. You never know when you’ll have to change a tire. Try practicing with a flashlight or a portable light that you can attach in the wheel well while you work.

Practice in the rain. Practice in the sun. Practice in the snow, if it snows where you live. You want to be able to change a tire when you really need it.

About the Blogger

Luke Owens has worked on many cars and tires over his illustrious career as a mechanic. Now retired, he enjoys sharing what he has learned with others on the web. You can read his interesting posts on a variety of websites and blogs.


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Auto Upkeep 4th Edition

Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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