Tire flat fixing for beginners

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quantAndHold
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by quantAndHold »

I’m 57, and wife is 74, and neither of us has ever changed a flat. I mean, I know how to do it, but the two times in my life that a tire went completely flat, it made more sense to call someone.

When the kids started driving, we just taught them how to check and fill the tires, and how to call for help. The biggest risk around here is nails causing slow leaks, so there’s almost always time to discover the leak and drive to the tire shop before it goes completely.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
bacon4retirement
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by bacon4retirement »

The first step of changing a tire is to pull out the owners manual and read the instructions. I have been amazed at how many folks I have stopped to help that claimed they did not have a spare tire, lug wrench and/or jack, but they had actually just failed to check the owners manual for where these tools were hidden. Usually the owners manual has instructions for chocking the wheels and a diagram showing the correct jacking locations.

Changing a tire myself is much faster than waiting for roadside assistance. Although cell coverage continues to improve, my most recent flat tire occurred outside of cell phone coverage.
vfinx
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by vfinx »

tibbitts wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:51 pm Blocking the opposite wheel might not be equally intuitive but honestly the car is pretty unlikely to go anywhere even if you don't block anything, assuming you do the jacking properly (and as I mentioned that might be something you have to read the manual for, because it's vehicle-specific.)
I have learned the hard way that a scissor jack is very prone to tipping over. I've accidentally gotten away with forgetting to block the wheels with my trolley jack, but the scissor jack seems to be another matter.
hudson
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by hudson »

Yooper wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:45 pm For those people whose rims stick to the wheel (or whatever it's called) I learned a little trick from the local tire shop. Some of you may already know this, but I didn't. After removing (or loosening the lug nuts) simply take your spare and bang/slam it against the side of the stuck tire and it'll break free. My F150 is awful this way, even though I used anti-seize when I rotate the tires I usually have one that refuses to come off without a little "encouragement".
Is it the wheel stuck to the hub?
My 2013 Tundra does it. I couldn't get it off. The AAA guy couldn't get it loose. I didn't think about rolling the spare into it. I'll try that next time.
When the AAA guy said that he was going to call for a rollback to haul me away, I decided to tighten the lug nuts just a little, snug but not tight, then drive the truck around in a circle. I was ready to sacrifice the tire if needed. That did it. I later talked to my tire shop friend about this trick. He said that I could have broken the lugs off; he warned me not to do it again. I'll try rolling the spare into it next time....but the spare is HEAVY! (maybe 77 lbs?)


I found this solution on Tundra Talk Net: "I had some really bad one on my old ram, loosen the lugnuts 1 full turn..put the truck back on the ground barely (not full weight, leave on jack), then rock the truck back and forth."
Last edited by hudson on Sun Jun 13, 2021 3:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
JBTX
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by JBTX »

psteinx wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:24 am One of my kids recently turned 16. The other 2 are slightly older. A few years back, I tried to teach the older kids how to replace a flat tire, and I plan to teach the youngest/reteach the oldest.

All of the vehicles we drive are relatively new. All have spares. For the most part, we're not driving through THAT bad of roads (i.e. likely to cause flats), though at least one of the kids will encounter some rough roads. To my recollection, in my life, I've done one roadside tire change far from home, and 2 others at home(s), for slower leaks/non-emergencies. So, my guess is that these days knowing how to change a tire is useful, but probably not critical. We have emergency roadside service on all vehicles.

So, the problem(s) is:

1) The general process of changing a tire requires some brute mucking about, is dirty, and, if done at roadside on a busy road, arguably dangerous. 2 of my 3 kids are girls, neither especially strong.

2) The one time I tried to teach the older kids to change a tire, after endlessly rotating the cheap jack (and scraping knuckles) to get the tire lifted, the lug nuts were overtightened (probably from the last shop that had serviced them), and I could only get them all off with the help of some extender or something I found laying around the house (i.e. would not have been in the car, for an emergency). *Maybe* with more effort I could have made it work with just the basic change kit, but it woulda been that much harder for the girls.

So, possibilities:
1) Don't bother pushing this skill, and encourage them to call roadside services
2) Teach the skill as is
2b - find an extender part/tool for loosening lug nuts and put it with all the changer kits in each vehicle
3) Get a can of FixAFlat or similar for each vehicle.
But, on quick read:
A) FixAFlat itself can damage tires (i.e. a small leak that would be otherwise patchable may not be if FaF used)
B) Doesn't last/hold very long
C) I have some concerns about how long a can of this stuff would be good, if left sitting in a car for 5+ years. In particular, I don't love compressed air cans in an environment that can hit 120 degrees in the summer, and well below freezing in the winter.
D) Are these cans bulky? Is there typically room to stow them in the spare tire wheel well? Glovebox space is at a premium
E) Is FixAFlat easy to use (for a teen/young driver who saw their dad talk about it/demonstrate it once, years before), and reasonably (80%+) reliable?
2b - for years I've put in a longer steel pipe in my car and spouse car to slide over the wrench handle, between 2-3 feet long, making it much longer and providing a lot more leverage. Did the same for daughter.
Doctor Rhythm
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by Doctor Rhythm »

Knowing how to replace or fix a flat tire and how to jump start a car are basic emergency skills that drivers should know. Collectively, the spouse and I have had to change a tire on the road at least 4 times in the last 20 years and several more times at home. We’ve jump started either our own car or someone else’s a similar number of times while away (and over a dozen times at home).

I can understand the weight thing, especially on big vehicle with a full-sized spare. However, knowing the procedure is still helpful, as there may be with someone who can provide additional muscle. It’s like carrying jump cables: You can’t jump start your car by yourself, but you carry the cables learn the skill so that you can take advantage of someone willing to help as well as be able to help others.

In addition to the spare & tools and cables, our cars carry a fix-a-flat kit and a USB jump starter which obviates the need for a friendly battery.
tibbitts
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by tibbitts »

I'm not familiar with this stuck wheel issue. Is this due to a particular wheel material or environmental condition (road salt, etc.)?
Yooper
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by Yooper »

tibbitts wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:07 pm I'm not familiar with this stuck wheel issue. Is this due to a particular wheel material or environmental condition (road salt, etc.)?
It's only on my 2013 F150. I've got the OEM rims for my summer tires and steel rims on my winter tires. Might be a combination of road salt and/or dissimilar metals squeezed against each other? All I know is periodically it's an issue for me - and I religiously put anti-seize on the hubs and clean the inner face of the rims with a wire brush each time I swap tires.
hudson
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by hudson »

tibbitts wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:07 pm I'm not familiar with this stuck wheel issue. Is this due to a particular wheel material or environmental condition (road salt, etc.)?
I'm not an expert...just a victim. :) I speculate that it's an aluminum or alloy wheel against a steel hub. I've only seen it on my 2013 Tundra...never on a car. It's happened twice. The tire shop didn't have any anti-seize; I obtained and delivered a bottle. I need to get another bottle as I'll likely buy a new set of tires by this time next year.
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Watty
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by Watty »

Two things not mentioned yet;

1) Be sure to periodically check the spare tire air pressure.

2) You may need to replace the spare tire when it gets old. My wife has a full size spare in her 15 year old truck. A few years ago I realized that it was more than 10 years old so it should be replaced so I had it replaced. I kicked myself for not just swapping out the spare for the best tire the last time I got a new set of tires for her car. I do not know how long a temporary doughnut spare will last before it needs to be replaced.

Knowing how change a tire will not help much if your spare is flat.
hudson
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How do you get to your spare?

Post by hudson »

Watty,

I agree!
I have 3 vehicles; all have spares underneath the vehicle that are cranked up underneath by a cable.
Cranking the spare down to check the pressure or cranking it down to change a flat is not intuitive.

One vehicle requires the crank be inserted at a 45 degree angle. There's no way to see the female receiver. It takes practice and time. I marked the correct angle with a white sharpie. Failure to practice this could add an hour to one's down time.

The van spare is under the center of the vehicle. The crank receiver is hidden under the carpet. It takes a special tool located in the back with the jack. I have to crank the spare all the way to the ground and then another say 15-20 inches to get the tire out from under the van and unhook the cable. Again, failure to try this out ahead of time could make tire changing an multi-hour operation.
Bottom line: If you want the ability to do it yourself, you may want to practice.

Most of my buddies around my age no longer change their own flats. I'm very close to joining them.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by adamthesmythe »

The last time I changed a tire...

I drove over a sizeable piece of wood. One tire went flat, so I changed it.

I drove a few more miles and the other tire on the same side went flat.

I spent the remainder of the afternoon buying tires.
nordsteve
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by nordsteve »

My car has a mat in the back that can be used during roadside service to avoid dirt/mud. On previous cars that didn't have one, I cut a piece of scrap carpet or a larger doormat from HD to fit in the trunk for that use.
gnujoe2001
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by gnujoe2001 »

I'd say teach it at least to encourage understanding of the car being driven, knowing where the equipment is stowed, where the designated jack points are, and the changing process. Also good to keep a portable air compressor, a tire patch kit, work gloves (among other also nice to have backup things) should need arise in a deserted location without cellular service and breakdown happens at say..2am and there's little other traffic coming along to flag down for assistance.
tibbitts
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by tibbitts »

gnujoe2001 wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 5:52 pm I'd say teach it at least to encourage understanding of the car being driven, knowing where the equipment is stowed, where the designated jack points are, and the changing process. Also good to keep a portable air compressor, a tire patch kit, work gloves (among other also nice to have backup things) should need arise in a deserted location without cellular service and breakdown happens at say..2am and there's little other traffic coming along to flag down for assistance.
If travel in an area without cell service is likely and/or frequent you might consider a satellite-based communication platform, similar to what you'd use when hiking. Flagging someone down at 2am in a deserted area might not be the best approach.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

There's a lot of answers to these questions depending on the circumstances.

Fix a flat can be the answer, especially if there's no cell service, light, or it's dangerous or difficult to change the tire. It can be the best way to get the vehicle to someplace safe to do a tire change (like your own garage) or get it to a repair shop.

There are a bunch of reasons why you might not be able to get the lug nuts (or lug bolts with German cars or Lotus) off the car. Not all, I'm sure, but:

- Some clown over-tightened them. This is bad for studs because they can stretch the bolts, actually changing the thread spacing. This can lead to cross threading or stripping parts of the stud. The damage has been done, so using a breaker bar or jumping on the lug wrench or putting a pipe on it are all fair game. The nut has to come off. If you break the stud, you break the stud. Not the end of the world. About $2.50 each at most auto parts stores.

- Rust in the stud/nut interface. This typically only happens when the wheel has not been off in a long, long time. I suppose you can try penetrating oil or heating the nut to break the rust bond. You can't do this at the side of the road, but if you have time and a garage, you can certainly do this. An impact gun can also help as it gives the nut a series of shocks. It can reduce the chances of breaking the stud if it's rusted to the nut.

- Huge amount of rust between the hub and wheel. This is most common with steel wheels, but alloys can do it. If the wheel won't come off with all the lug nuts removed and kicking the tire a few times, here's a trick I use that will work: Put on a couple lug nuts finger tight. Drop the car off the jack and move all your tools out of the way. Back up and nail the brakes. Bring it back forward and nail the brakes. Jack it up and check it. Most likely, this will have loosened the wheel enough to easily remove it. If not, try it again. Maybe a little faster and nail the brake harder.

To properly put the lug nuts on, if you don't have a torque wrench, don't use some breaker bar or an X wrench. Use the wrench supplied by the car manufacturer. You're going to find that the handle is only about 10 inches long. Why? Because when you push down on it with about 100 pounds of force, it'll translate into 75-90 pound feet, which is what most wheel studs are rated for. Ideally, have a torque wrench set to what the manufacturer specifies. After 50 miles or so, go around again and torque the nuts again. Do NOT loosen them and torque....just put the torque wrench on, properly set and tighten till it clicks (or if you have a fancy pants snap on, till it beeps at you). Putting a breaker bar on can easily torque to 200 pound feet which will indeed stretch and damage the studs. Only a matter of time till you break off a stud, likely when attempting to take the nut off.

When putting wheels back on, you can use some kind of anti-seize on the studs and wheel face. It'll make it easier next time. It could be as simple as a smear of grease or motor oil. You're simply looking to get something in there to prevent a rust bond to start.

When jacking the car, if you can, get a small floor jack that you can leave in the car and some wheel chocks. The jacks in cars are not good, especially if the car could roll forward/backwards when you jack up a drive wheel. If in doubt, use fix a flat or call for AAA. You don't need a car to roll and the car to fall on someone's leg or just the ground. If you have to do the change, a cheater way to avoid crushing anyone is to first put the spare under the car, next to the jack. When the flat comes off, put that under the car in place of the spare. This limits how far the car falls when it rolls off the jack.
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tibbitts
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by tibbitts »

The more I think about it I'd get the satellite communication and call it a day.
Thesaints
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by Thesaints »

If one cannot learn how to change a tire, they should not be driving. Nor making any consequential decision for that matter.
tibbitts
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by tibbitts »

Thesaints wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 6:55 pm If one cannot learn how to change a tire, they should not be driving. Nor making any consequential decision for that matter.
It depends whether you want to include all the nuances being discussed in this thread, and of course have a Snap-On or Cornwell tool truck follow you everywhere you drive. I shouldn't have said that; now we'll be debating whether it's better to have a Snap-On or Cornwell truck follow you around.
Thesaints
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by Thesaints »

Yeah. Don't drive a truck nor a tracked vehicle, unless you need to. :)
whomever
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by whomever »

Lotsa good advice on technique, but to address the question of whether you need to know how, or just how to call AAA: it depends, I think, on where you drive.

If you only drive in suburbia, AAA is usually available. OTOH, my fa-in-law and I once got back to the trailhead from a several day wilderness trip. There were two cars there: ours and a young lady who needed help with a flat. If we hadn't happened along she might have been there a while. Some of those trailheads go a long time between visitors. I've had similar encounters where a jump was needed (which is why I got one of the new lithium battery jump starters ... I might be the only one at the trailhead). If you go places where AAA might not be available (because, for instance, cell service isn't available), you need to plan for a little more self sufficiency. The big city after an earthquake or some such might present similar problems.
hudson
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by hudson »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 6:22 pm - Huge amount of rust between the hub and wheel. This is most common with steel wheels, but alloys can do it. If the wheel won't come off with all the lug nuts removed and kicking the tire a few times, here's a trick I use that will work: Put on a couple lug nuts finger tight. Drop the car off the jack and move all your tools out of the way. Back up and nail the brakes. Bring it back forward and nail the brakes. Jack it up and check it. Most likely, this will have loosened the wheel enough to easily remove it. If not, try it again. Maybe a little faster and nail the brake harder.
Thanks! I'm going to adopt your frozen hub-wheel trick.
When I had the problem, I tightened the lug nuts a little more than finger tight and drove the truck in a quick circle. That did it.
Your way might be easier on the flat tire.

So a light coat of oil might work just as good as anti-seize?
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telemark
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by telemark »

It's worth going through the exercise even if that only means a better understanding of why you would never want to have to do it in the field. But the more options you have, the more options you have: the last time I had a tire go it was a two-inch hole in the sidewall, not in a safe place, with no phone reception, and it turned out that I wasn't able to break the lug nuts loose even with a four-way wrench. Fortunately for me, someone larger and stronger stopped and was able to help, but it was better for both of us that I had the necessary tools and the car already on the jack.

If your car doesn't come with a spare tire, you may still be able to get an aftermarket one.
tibbitts
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by tibbitts »

telemark wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 8:21 pm If your car doesn't come with a spare tire, you may still be able to get an aftermarket one.
Good point about the spare, although many vehicles that can accommodate one can only fit a donut, not an actual spare. I purchased an OEM spare kit for one car that included a donut, jack, tool, etc.
mhalley
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by mhalley »

No personal experience, but another option for those unable to loosen lug nuts would be an impact wrench. I think there is less likelihood of breaking the bolt that way, as the person using the breaker bar would have less experience and be more likely to use it incorrectly.
During my google searches I found another option I had never heard of, a torque multiplier. Prices range from $45 to $200, with the cheap ones getting fairly bad reviews. Example of an $80 one from amzn:


https://www.amazon.com/Tenive-Tool-Torq ... 99&sr=8-32
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by Doom&Gloom »

Maybe consider trading the car in when it gets a flat.
neilpilot
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by neilpilot »

tibbitts wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 9:05 pm
telemark wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 8:21 pm If your car doesn't come with a spare tire, you may still be able to get an aftermarket one.
Good point about the spare, although many vehicles that can accommodate one can only fit a donut, not an actual spare. I purchased an OEM spare kit for one car that included a donut, jack, tool, etc.
Neither of our 2 cars came with a spare or a jack. One can store a donut under the trunk floor.
Rdytoretire
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by Rdytoretire »

Cars and vehicle maintenace always get the Boglehead comunity responding.

I aways keep my vehicles display monitor to where it shows all the vehicles tire pressures. That way I know I am not driving on tires that may be underinflated or have a slow leak. I also make sure that tires are not worn and in need of replacement. Keeping an eye on those two things will probably eliminate 95% of tire failures and you probably won"t actually have to deal with fixing a flat.

And yes, alweays make sure the lug nuts are properly torqued. Seems like most repair shops don't understand this concept.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by Sandtrap »

hudson wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 3:04 pm
Yooper wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:45 pm For those people whose rims stick to the wheel (or whatever it's called) I learned a little trick from the local tire shop. Some of you may already know this, but I didn't. After removing (or loosening the lug nuts) simply take your spare and bang/slam it against the side of the stuck tire and it'll break free. My F150 is awful this way, even though I used anti-seize when I rotate the tires I usually have one that refuses to come off without a little "encouragement".
Is it the wheel stuck to the hub?
My 2013 Tundra does it. I couldn't get it off. The AAA guy couldn't get it loose. I didn't think about rolling the spare into it. I'll try that next time.
When the AAA guy said that he was going to call for a rollback to haul me away, I decided to tighten the lug nuts just a little, snug but not tight, then drive the truck around in a circle. I was ready to sacrifice the tire if needed. That did it. I later talked to my tire shop friend about this trick. He said that I could have broken the lugs off; he warned me not to do it again. I'll try rolling the spare into it next time....but the spare is HEAVY! (maybe 77 lbs?)


I found this solution on Tundra Talk Net: "I had some really bad one on my old ram, loosen the lugnuts 1 full turn..put the truck back on the ground barely (not full weight, leave on jack), then rock the truck back and forth."
+10000

Just did the brakes on my 2012 Toyota Tundra Truck. Four wheel disc brakes. No rust. Aluminum Rims.
Floor Jack, Jack stands, Air Impact Wrench, comfy rolling stool.

The Rims did not want to come off. Totally stuck. All of them.
Fortunately, My friend is twice my size and far healthier.
He kicked the tire left then right and again and they came off the studs.

I have never seen rims stuck on a hub that firmly before and I've been sitting in trucks for over 4 decades.

Not sure what I'd do by myself as I can longer lift tires this size, let alone bang against one with a full size spare.
Reinstalled with antiseize.

*Tip: check the tire valve tightness (schrader valve) with a proper tool.

Also, installed a new set of rims/tires on a Honda. Slow leak on 2 of them, fast leak on 1 that put the rim to the cement overnight. Turned out the air fill "schrader" valves were not tighted by the installer.
Bought one of those clicky/air valve torque screwdrivers for about $5 and tightened all of them and all was fine.
Also checked and tighted the tire valves on the rest of our cars/trucks/equipment. Found about 25% of them were too loose.

*Tip: Also realize that all air gauges from cheap to pricey are not accurate. In fact, you can buy three $30 air gauges and they might be different in readings. So, keep an air gauge, whether stick or dial or digital, in the car and make sure that its readings are correct. Also, the readings on the dashboard air fill numbers might not be correct either. I have one car that deviates by minus 2 on the installed set of OEM tires/rims.

j :D
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tibbitts
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by tibbitts »

Due to the small and decreasing number of vehicles that have a spare tire or even dedicated storage space for a donut, it really seems like everybody should be more focused on enabling communication regardless of cell service, instead of equipping the family Corolla as if it's a race car hauler.
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by Fat Tails »

adamthesmythe wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:29 am Rough roads have nothing to do with it. I have had the occasional flat, always on ordinary roads.

A portable air compressor can sometimes fill a tire enough to drive for a bit if the puncture has caused a slow leak.

The ability to judge the degree of hazard when trying to repair a tire is important.

I drive with a breaker bar in the car, as I know lug nuts can be overtightened. Also I know where the anti-theft socket is stored.
+1, This. Most flat tires are caused by nails or screws, in my experience. A 12vdc portable compressor will likely get you where you need to go. For the rest call roadside assistance or practice changing the tire and making sure your spare is inflated properly ahead of time.

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Kagord
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by Kagord »

tibbitts wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:36 pm Due to the small and decreasing number of vehicles that have a spare tire or even dedicated storage space for a donut, it really seems like everybody should be more focused on enabling communication regardless of cell service, instead of equipping the family Corolla as if it's a race car hauler.
I remember when I bought my 90's Camry new, a full size spare tire was a selling point and shown by the dealer. I guess over the last 25 years, we've evolved to where people just have to call someone else to fix anything, and the car manufacturers have adjusted.
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by RickBoglehead »

tibbitts wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:36 pm Due to the small and decreasing number of vehicles that have a spare tire or even dedicated storage space for a donut, it really seems like everybody should be more focused on enabling communication regardless of cell service, instead of equipping the family Corolla as if it's a race car hauler.
Yes.

My new Fords include 5 years of roadside assistance.

Visit Discount Tire every 7,500 miles, get tires inspected, rebalanced, rotated, and record tread depth.
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by mpnret »

RickBoglehead wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 5:56 am
tibbitts wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:36 pm Due to the small and decreasing number of vehicles that have a spare tire or even dedicated storage space for a donut, it really seems like everybody should be more focused on enabling communication regardless of cell service, instead of equipping the family Corolla as if it's a race car hauler.
Yes.

My new Fords include 5 years of roadside assistance.
My new Tesla has no spare, no repair kit, nothing. It’s roadside assistance all the way.
Dagwood
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by Dagwood »

All drivers should know how to change a tire. We have AAA, but sometimes they could be hours of waiting. So I agree with your instincts. Fwiw I won’t buy a car that doesn’t have a spare. I maintain our cars and check the tires, but there are nails and other things on the roads that you cannot control.

First, next time your car comes home from the shop and wheels were removed, check how tight the lugs are. If you or one of your daughters cannot loosen the lugs, it is very likely they were torqued too tight. Most lugs should be no more than 100ft-lbs max so if you cannot loosen them, even by you or your daughter putting all your force down on the breaker, they are too tight. Find a new shop that uses torque sticks on the air guns or a torque wrench for final tightening. If they can’t get this right, the rest of the stuff they do is also suspect.

Second, go to the Home Depot, tractor supply, auto zone, etc and get a pair of work gloves. Not too thick, you want to have good use of your hands. If the car will be used by your daughter, they should fit her. Keep them in the trunk (with a flashlight and jumper cables). Almost never work on anything heavy without a work glove. Even a relatively thin work glove will provide substantial protection against painful bruises and pinched fingers.

Have her read the owners manual on how to change the wheel until she basically knows it by memory. For an SUV with the tire under the car, become familiar with how to lower it and lift it. Also be able to identify all the appropriate jack points.

Now find level ground on the driveway or your garage. Car is in park. Wheel diagonal to the flat should be chocked. Find a piece of wood if the car doesn’t have a chock. A cut 2x4 end a few inches long will generally be fine. Better yet buy a proper chock at the auto store and keep that in the trunk. Break the lugs loose on the ground but not so loose that the wheel isn’t secure on the hub.

Find the proper jack point. If will be a unibody frame reinforcement rail, a special notch on the fame, or something similar. The owners manual will tell you. On my 4Runner, you jack on the rear axle to lift it a bit if you have a rear flat. Not always intuitive so read the manual. Now use the jack to start to lift the car. Once the car starts to lift, check everything - the position of the jack on the jack point and the chock. If it looks good, lift the car enough to get the flat wheel a couple inches off the ground. Let the car sit a moment there. Make sure nothing shifts.

This post is getting long, so get the old wheel off (if it is bonded to the hub, the first time you do this should be in your driveway or garage, get a mallet and firmly whack the back side of the tire. It should break loose. If not, try it again - it should break loose. If it is really bonded then candidly you should probably be having your tires rotated more frequently and the shop you use isn’t putting anti seize on the hubs.

Installation is the reverse of removal. ;-). On the road you likely won’t have a torque wrench so tighten the lugs about as tight as you can and have them torqued when you are in a safe place.

Finally, I am experienced with cars and would never change a wheel on the interstate unless the shoulder were abnormally large. Destroy the wheel if you need to but get to a safe place first. I hope this helps. I would practice it with them a few times because if it happens out on the road there will be an element of fear and stress that will make errors more likely. You are a good dad for thinking about this kind of thing. Good luck!
Dagwood
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by Dagwood »

tibbitts wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:36 pm Due to the small and decreasing number of vehicles that have a spare tire or even dedicated storage space for a donut, it really seems like everybody should be more focused on enabling communication regardless of cell service, instead of equipping the family Corolla as if it's a race car hauler.
I think it is shameful that spare wheels are being eliminated. It is a basic safety issue. If you use a car for local commuting, the risk of inconvenience is relatively low. If you use the vehicle for road trips, a spare is essential. Carrying gloves, a small piece of wood to use as a chock, and being familiar with how to use the factory jack and tools does not require anything like a race car hauler. It’s the equivalent of traveling with a dop kit for an overnight trip.
andypanda
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Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by andypanda »

I've always carried a 4-ended wrench, but if storage is a problem they make one with 2 sides that fold.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M1JQVB0/re ... NrPXRydWU=

Even at 70 I'm still big enough to pull with one arm and push with the other to get it started. I don't have anything against using one of my breaker bars, but the 4-sided wrench makes spinning the lug nuts off and back on so much easier.

I suppose I could carry my cordless impact wrench and 3.5-ton floor jack, but I make do with a tire plugging kit and 12v compressor if I'm going off road or towing the boat very far. The steel handle off the floor jack works as an extension handle over breaker bars and long wrenches. The jack that came with my 4Runner is the same one that comes in the Land Cruiser and has a pretty high lift.
sureshoe
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by sureshoe »

In 30 years of driving, I've had to change a tire maybe 3 times. The last time was 8 years ago when a guy I was with hit a curb in a rental car. Literally nobody else in the car knew how to change a tire. It took me 15-20 minutes to figure out how to use the jack, which always seems to be the problem - every car seems to have a custom jack.

I don't know how critical a skill it is. Show the basics and assume they'll never use it except in an extreme pinch, and even then it will be a bit of a clownshow.
virgingorda
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by virgingorda »

psteinx wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:24 am ...
2) The one time I tried to teach the older kids to change a tire, after endlessly rotating the cheap jack (and scraping knuckles) to get the tire lifted, the lug nuts were overtightened (probably from the last shop that had serviced them), and I could only get them all off with the help of some extender or something I found laying around the house (i.e. would not have been in the car, for an emergency). *Maybe* with more effort I could have made it work with just the basic change kit, but it woulda been that much harder for the girls.
...
Girl here. OK, to be fair, I have some car experience -- my husband and I used to mess around with an old MGB. I see a flaw in your process above. Now maybe it is just how you described it, but the first thing to know about removing a wheel is to loosen the lug nuts before lifting with the jack. That way the wheel doesn't move when you apply torque with the wrench.
andypanda
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by andypanda »

"I don't know how critical a skill it is."

It's only critical if you need to change a flat. Otherwise you get to sit on the side of the road for an hour or two or more until the tow truck comes to do it for you.

Changing a flat is not difficult and can be learned in a matter of minutes, before moving outside to do a hands on trial run. On the 4Runner forum the first part of this referred to as RTFM. Read The Manual.

Good point about loosening the lug nuts before lifting the tire off the pavement. I was taught that and do it out of habit, but I've been changing tires for 60 years or so. Even now I have a car, a truck, a boat trailer, and an 8x10 utility trailer to look after. And two bikes my likes to drag around with us. :happy

This week we're on beautiful Ocracoke Island NC where you're allowed to drive on most of the beaches if you buy a permit from the National Seashore. Tires are important and work best with 18 psi or so in the deep powdery sand fwiw. So is a board for the jack, a snatch strap, air gauge, shovel, etc. All of that is of course for helping out other folks who are temporarily detained - stuck. ;)
tibbitts
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by tibbitts »

Dagwood wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:54 am
tibbitts wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:36 pm Due to the small and decreasing number of vehicles that have a spare tire or even dedicated storage space for a donut, it really seems like everybody should be more focused on enabling communication regardless of cell service, instead of equipping the family Corolla as if it's a race car hauler.
I think it is shameful that spare wheels are being eliminated. It is a basic safety issue. If you use a car for local commuting, the risk of inconvenience is relatively low. If you use the vehicle for road trips, a spare is essential. Carrying gloves, a small piece of wood to use as a chock, and being familiar with how to use the factory jack and tools does not require anything like a race car hauler. It’s the equivalent of traveling with a dop kit for an overnight trip.
As I mentioned, I agree enough that when I bought a model without a spare, I bought the OEM donut to safely carry the tools and donut in the designated compartment under the floor. But I imagine some cars no longer have designated spare (or even donut spare) storage, leaving people to figure out how to safely store the array of weaponry being discussed. An impact wrench... really? Actually my half-inch-drive electric impact wrench can't loosen a stuck lug nut unless I break it loose with a wrench, so we have to make that a very good electric impact wrench. And some cars with no spares probably have run-flat tires so there is that possibility as well, which should in theory preclude the necessity for storing a spare and tire-changing.

I've experienced about a half dozen flats (fewer recently) that have disabled my car (vs. being recognized early enough as slow leaks for example), and been able to change them all, except one due to the location where I chose not to. But I've also experienced as many other failures that have disabled my cars over the years: fuel pump failure, electronic ignition module failure, drive belt failure, alternator failure (almost made it home!), radiator failure, etc. And I hit a deer once. There are a lot of things including accidents that can stop a car. My point is that even the roughly one-hundred-pounds of tools and spare parts that I carried everywhere in my car back in the day couldn't rescue me from all these possibilities. So what I'm suggesting is that communication that works everywhere a person drives should be a higher priority than being prepared for every mechanical eventuality. I think we're just picking on tires because they were historically one frequent point of failure that we may have learned to deal with when we were younger so we figure newer drivers should too, even if it wouldn't necessarily be the most practical solution for them.
sureshoe
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by sureshoe »

andypanda wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:01 am "I don't know how critical a skill it is."

It's only critical if you need to change a flat. Otherwise you get to sit on the side of the road for an hour or two or more until the tow truck comes to do it for you.

Changing a flat is not difficult and can be learned in a matter of minutes, before moving outside to do a hands on trial run. On the 4Runner forum the first part of this referred to as RTFM. Read The Manual.

Good point about loosening the lug nuts before lifting the tire off the pavement. I was taught that and do it out of habit, but I've been changing tires for 60 years or so. Even now I have a car, a truck, a boat trailer, and an 8x10 utility trailer to look after. And two bikes my likes to drag around with us. :happy

This week we're on beautiful Ocracoke Island NC where you're allowed to drive on most of the beaches if you buy a permit from the National Seashore. Tires are important and work best with 18 psi or so in the deep powdery sand fwiw. So is a board for the jack, a snatch strap, air gauge, shovel, etc. All of that is of course for helping out other folks who are temporarily detained - stuck. ;)
I have to LOL. A point I made earlier in the thread was that "all these cars have funky jacks, so I was curious - what is the funky jack on the 4Runner.
There is literally a video on "how to find the hidden 4Runner tire". I think this is really the point I was getting at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmfMKZGxQ4U

There is a 5 minute video on just finding the dang tire, which is a bit hilarious.

Then, another 15 minute video on "not murdering yourself when jacking up the 4runner.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z488zRaEALA

Anyway, I don't think they actually used the included jack and I was too lazy to watch the whole thing since I don't own a 4runner. Enough googling today.
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burgrat
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by burgrat »

sport wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 11:21 am Costco tire service uses a torque wrench to make sure lug nuts are tightened properly. I have never seen that done anywhere else.
Just got 4 new Michelins for my 4 Runner at Sam's Club and they used a torque wrench. Nice to know both places are doing it right.
Atilla
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by Atilla »

Buy the biggest 4-way lug wrench you can find and a cheapo 12-volt portable air pump and throw them both in the trunk along with a cheap tire plug repair kit and a pliers (to pull out a nail/screw).

Even if your daughters can't do the job themselves, anyone handy will have what they need to assist. With all this, options will be:

1. Replace bad tire with the spare.
2. Air up the bad tire enough to get to a service station - if it's a slower leak.
3. Plug repair the tire, air it up and be on your merry way immediately. It takes some brute strength to jam the repair plug into the hole.

:sharebeer
Last edited by Atilla on Mon Jun 14, 2021 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
squirm
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by squirm »

Atilla wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 10:42 am Buy the biggest 4-way lug wrench you can find and a cheapo 12-volt portable air pump and throw them both in the trunk along with a cheap tire plug repair kit and a pliers (to pull out a nail/screw).

Even if your daughters can't do the job themselves, anyone handy will have what they need to assist. With all this, options will be:

Replace bad tire with the spare.
Air up the bad tire enough to get to a service station - if it's a slower leak.
Plug repair the tire, air it up and be on your merry way immediately. It takes some brute strength to jam the repair plug into the hole.

:sharebeer
This is what I do.
sport
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by sport »

burgrat wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 10:39 am
sport wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 11:21 am Costco tire service uses a torque wrench to make sure lug nuts are tightened properly. I have never seen that done anywhere else.
Just got 4 new Michelins for my 4 Runner at Sam's Club and they used a torque wrench. Nice to know both places are doing it right.
Costco also asks you to return after 25 miles to have the lug nuts retorqued.
davemanjam
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by davemanjam »

I think you need to know how to fix a tire.
Whether or not you can execute it is another story and is not simple. And frankly 90% of the people on the road may not be capable of it.
So, its not unreasonable to rely on AAA, etc. Its kind of up to you and your family - but you should at least know how and do it once perhaps.
These days tires are manufactured better and you have air pressure monitors that will give you an indication of slow leak...so the situation is better than it was 20 years ago. If you are incapable of changing a tire you absolutely should heed the warnings of a the tire pressure monitoring system and you should check tire pressure every so often if not displayed on the vehicle dash.

First of a breaker bar has been mentioned. This is what you want. I have 2, 1 for my car, 1 for my truck/trailer. It gets the job done 100% of the time for me (a male with experience), someone else might struggle a little still - but this will break it and isn't ridiculous to tote.
https://www.harborfreight.com/hand-tool ... 64820.html

You absolutely need to loosen lugs while the car is on the ground. Its either much more difficult if it is lifted or unsafe.
Also, only loosely tighten the new tire on before lowering for final tightening.
seawolf21
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by seawolf21 »

So this thread is not really about fixing a flat. It’s about changing a tire. My first thought was flat is $10-30. Just leaving it to professionals as puncturing a tire should not happen that often.
tibbitts
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by tibbitts »

seawolf21 wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:18 am So this thread is not really about fixing a flat. It’s about changing a tire. My first thought was flat is $10-30. Just leaving it to professionals as puncturing a tire should not happen that often.
I've "repaired" some tires using external plugs and destroyed one of them (not immediately - the problem wasn't obvious until later) in the process. Today I wouldn't insert a plug without unmounting the tire and installing the plug properly from the inside, unless I was willing to dispose of the tire shortly after plugging it.
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telemark
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Re: Tire flat fixing for beginners

Post by telemark »

Dagwood wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:44 am I would practice it with them a few times because if it happens out on the road there will be an element of fear and stress that will make errors more likely.
This, a dozen times this. There have been times when I was sitting comfortably at my desk at work when a coworker told me one of my tires was flat, and then it was easy enough to pull my AAA card out of my wallet and call them (though they still had trouble finding the building). Then there were the times when I had been driving all day, it was getting dark, and the nearest town was fifty miles away. Not at all comparable. But this is where practice comes in, so that your body remembers what to do even while your mind is racing. Just knowing where to find everything, rather than fumbling through the manual, is a great head start.

Just finding a place to pull off the road is enough to get my hands shaking. :(
Last edited by telemark on Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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