Buying a car gives the new owner free lifetime membership to a very special group: The Flat Tyre Club.
Getting a flat tyre for the first time is an unnerving experience, changing it is a character-building one, especially if the tyre goes 'bang!' when you are dressed in your Sunday best.
So how should a flat tyre be tackled?
Swearing at it and perhaps a small degree of violence (a kick, for example) will relieve some of the frustration but fixing it requires some work. Klosters has compiled a list of tips, tricks and handy hints to help make the job of changing a flat tyre a little bit easier.
Activate the hazard flashers and move the car as far away from the road as possible while ensuring it is still on a hard surface.
Open the boot and remove the spare wheel, jack and wheel brace. Also, open the glovebox and remove the owner's manual in case you need to reference it.
Put the transmission in Park if it is automatic or First or Reverse gear if it is manual. Apply the parking brake and using a large stone or similar, chock the wheel diagonally-opposite the flat tyre.
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Tip: a pair of heavy-duty gardening gloves should also be part of your toolkit.
Locate the jacking point on the underside of the car nearest the flat tyre (the manual will give its exact location) and position the jack beneath it, raising the jack far enough to ensure the plate on the jack is contacting the jack point without actually lifting it. (Tip: putting the jack on another part of the car could cause damage to the bodywork or give an unstable lift.)
Unscrew the wheel nuts using the wheel brace. The nuts will be tight so it may require some physical effort, such as jumping on the brace handle, to loosen the nuts. (Tip: carrying a metre-length of steel pipe with an internal diameter large enough to fit over the brace handle adds extra leverage.) When all the wheel nuts are loose and turning freely, apply pressure to the jack handle to lift the car.
Raise the car far enough to put an inflated tyre on the wheel hub then remove the flat tyre. (Tip: under no circumstances get under the car while it is supported by the jack.) Lift the spare tyre onto the threaded wheel studs and loosely tighten the wheel nuts working in a diagonal pattern, first with your fingers then with the wheel brace, making sure the bevel on each nut fits flush with its flanged mounting point. (Tip: a car wheel/tyre combination weighs several kilos. Be careful.)
Lower the jack and remove it then fully tighten the wheel nuts, applying as much pressure as you can. When you think they are tight enough, fit the wheel brace to each nut and give it a final tighten using leg pressure.
Put the jack, wheel brace and any other tools back in the boot and throw in the damaged wheel with a combined look of disgust and triumph on your face. Return the owner's manual to the glovebox.
Drive to the nearest service station and check the air pressure in the just-mounted spare is the same as that used for the other three tyres. Have the damaged tyre fixed or replaced as quickly as possible.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Most manufacturers are choosing to fit thin ‘space saver' spare tyres. These do not replace the damaged tyre permanently and should be on the car for as short a time as possible. The maximum permissible speed when driving on a space saver spare is 80km/h.
Several Mini and BMW models have no spare tyre, instead using run-flat tyres. As with space saver spares, run-flats should not be driven over 80km/h once they have been damaged and should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible after being damaged.
Because of boot capacity restrictions, some sports-style cars carry an aerosol can of repair mousse and a portable electric tyre pump in place of a spare tyre. As with the run-flat tyre and the space saver spare, we recommend having the damaged tyre attended to as soon as possible.
Do speak with your Klosters service staff before changing the type of tyre you use on your vehicle to ensure the tyres are correct for your car and will keep you safe.
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