DO OR CALL?

What to do in a flat tire situation

By: Jeanette Ipapo-Tuason, March 14th, 2012 12:22 AM

One of the most common pickup scenes in movies is that of a foxy, scantily clad chick trying to fix a car by the roadside. Whether or not the chick ends up to be an “eat after mating” kind of alien or a real damsel in distress, this fantasy has filled the male psyche since time immemorial. Whether or not this works to our favor, it’s for you chic drivers to decide. But if we do fall into the same situation, what will a chic driver do? Do you hike up your skirts and overcome the possibility of breaking a nail and do it yourself? Or just put your manicured finger on your phone and call for help?

What are the causes of a flat tire?

A flat tire is caused by either a puncture; tire failure, damage to the valve system, excessive wear and tear, separation of tire and rim (due to collision), or a blowout due to the tires over or under inflation.

Just to be grammatically correct, Is it Tire or Tyre?

Both are correct, “Tyre” is typically used for British English or outside North America. “Tire,” however, is used widely in North America and Canada.

How would you know you have a flat tire while driving?

Besides the more obvious “kaboom” sound while driving, there are some telltale signs that your tire is flat, such as a feel of sluggishness on acceleration, a feeling that the brakes have been applied while driving and vehicle loses momentum easily. If one of your front tires is flat, the car will pull toward the side of the flat tire.

What are the tools needed?

Most newer model cars are now equipped with tools needed to change a flat tire. These are the:

• Early warning device

• Car jack (to lift the car)

• Tire wrench

• A tire lug nut key (optional for high end cars)

• To protect your manicured hands …gloves

How do you change a flat tire?

Here are the simple steps:

• Park car on safe and flat surface

• Turn on hazard lights

• Turn off engine and pull hand brake or put in PARK/1st gear (This is to ensure your car doesn’t roll away as you change tires)

• You may also wedge rocks on the other tires to keep the car from moving

• Get your tools and spare tire from trunk

• If you’re on or by roadside, place early warning device to inform people you are working on your car

• Wear safety gloves

• Loosen tire nuts of flat tire using tire wrench. Do not remove nuts, only loosen (turn in counter-clockwise direction)

• Place jack under vehicle and raise car about 2 inches higher than height of spare tire

• Ensure jack is placed in proper jacking point (to carry weight of vehicle)

• Place spare under car (beside jack) so that just in case jack fails, car will not fall on the ground

• Remove tire nuts

• Remove flat tire

• Replace with spare tire and place tire nuts

• Tighten tire nuts one at a time in a cross pattern to ensure equal tightening of nuts (this is important so the wheel doesn’t later fall off the car once you are moving)

• Put the car back on the ground by removing jack

• Tightening of nuts again (turn in clock wise direction)

• Return all tools and flat tire to trunk

• Get your antibacterial wipes, clean up and touch up your make-up…

Proactive Solutions

There are new technologies that try to save us from this hassle such as run flat tires and flat free. The Run flat technology is available for high-end vehicles such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and is produced by major tire companies such as Bridgestone and Goodyear. The only disadvantage of this tire is the price of repair or replacement. The technology is either self-supporting or self-sealing, allowing the drivers to continue on at reduced speeds for a limited distance, in short to the nearest gas station. This tech, however, is more integrated into the vehicle system, including sensors and other driver aids.

Flat free, on the other hand, is a technology where a liquid gel or compound is introduced through the tire valve. The liquid compound then spreads throughout the tire and occupying spaces of leaks. It becomes a barrier maintaining the tire pressure. This will not work on sidewall punctures; it will, however, just give you longer deflation time, allowing you once again to go to the nearest gas station. This is a cheaper alternative, though, with a price range from P1,120 (for scooters) to P2,250 (for SUV/Vans). This technology is present in the country; it is called Tyre Guardian and is available at Autohub Group (Tel. 5610971)

Emergency Assistance

So you weren’t ready and had a tire blowout… what now?

Some Insurance companies offer road side assistance to their policy holders, Standard Insurance has RAP (Tel. 7517999) Malayan Insurance has Camille (Tel. 02-6878525) Prudential has Auto Insurance Program (tel. 8179625). They all basically offer assistance not just on changing of tires, but other minor car repair. Their services extend to even towing the vehicle, providing accommodations and transport for you if you are far from home. It would be advisable to be familiar with this extra service for future references. The downside is the waiting time and the efficiency of their customer service.

Another option is the membership-based services such as AAP (tels. 7230808/7260191/09178480191.) They offer towing and tire change services.  Again the downside is the waiting time. Usually the issue that you face for any car problems is the area you are in. As much as possible try to drive into a well-lit area, or best yet a gas station. Another option is to hail a cab and talk to the driver. They are usually accommodating for a fee. (Anywhere from P100 to P300 would do the trick). Also, you have to make sure that you have a working spare tire. If not, you would have to go through the hassle of either having your tire vulcanized or have to buy a new one, which will require mounting and alignment.

The Verdict

The Pros of knowing to change a tire, of course, is making sure that you are ready for any situation; this also lessens the waiting time for help to arrive. The negative part of course is getting dirty and the possibility of destroying the vehicle if you incorrectly placed the jack under the vehicle (jacking point of the vehicle is found beside the wheels, underneath the vehicles doors. Some jacks that come with newer model cars come with sticker guides that show the jacking point of the vehicle.) Chic drivers should know how to do things themselves but not necessarily have to do it. Sometimes, the best accessory is the vastness of your speed-dial directory.

For comments, suggestions, topics or people you want to see featured in Chicdriven, e-mail jnt@tuasonracing.com. Chosen e-mails will get a gift certificate at Antonio’s Restaurant in Tagaytay plus a tire wrench from Toptul.

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TAGS: Motoring, tires
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