This weekend was a pretty busy one for me; I traveled from Stevens Point to Green Bay to Milwaukee and back to Stevens Point due to friends visiting and needing rides to the airport in Milwaukee. It was a long weekend in the car to say the least, and by Sunday afternoon I was ready to get home and crash as I drove back from Milwaukee.
Right as I got on to Highway 10, my tire pressure light came on. Not thinking it was a big deal, I pulled off to a gas station and filled the tire to the recommended pressure, which for my Chevrolet Malibu is between 25 and 40 psi. (You should always check your owner’s manual for the recommended settings for your vehicle.) I got back on the highway, only to notice my tire pressure steadily dropping and eventually hitting 0. I had a flat.
This was the first time I had ever had this experience, so I was a little unsure of what to do, but common sense, my vehicle’s owner’s manual, and a little help from my dad saved the day. Everything worked out in the end, but it would’ve been a lot smoother had I known these tips beforehand:
- Pull over to a nearby gas station or parking lot, or pull as far off the road as possible. Put on your hazard lights and your parking break. Turn your vehicle off and use extreme caution when exiting and walking around your vehicle.
- Locate your spare tire and jack. Loosen the bolts a little bit on the flat. Following the directions in your owner’s manual, use the jack to raise your car and replace your tire. Believe me, if I could do this, you can too.
- Make sure the bolts on your spare tire are secure and lower your car. Store your flat tire and consult your owner’s manual on how far you can safely drive on your spare. I was surprised to find out that I can use my spare tire up to 3,000 miles! Always remember to get a new tire on as soon as possible.
- Use caution when driving on your spare tire as it is often different from your other tires. Make sure it isn’t wobbling when you drive and check its air pressure soon after you put it on your vehicle.
There are other options than changing your tire, such as using a temporary sealer like Fix-A-Flat or calling a tow truck if you don’t have a spare tire. Your Wisconsin auto insurance policy may even cover towing expenses, so consult with your insurance agent.
No one embarks on a road trip expecting to get a flat tire, but it’s always smart to know what to do in such a situation. I thought I would be clueless when trying to change my flat tire, but it turned out to be easier than I thought. If this girl can handle a flat tire, so can you!