How to handle a tyre failure while driving, and change It afterwards
A tyre puncture or blowout is one of the most frightening things that you can experience while driving, especially at higher speeds.
But with the right techniques and know-how, you can safely overcome a sudden tyre blowout or rapid air loss on the road. Below is a set of actions that will help you to control the car safely, when suddenly finding yourself in this situation:
1. Do not panic; a tyre blowout will cause a very loud and scary noise.
2. Grip your steering wheel tightly with both hands and stay in your lane.
3. Keep your foot on the gas pedal. '
4. Do not hit the brakes; although your natural instinct would have you slam the brakes, this will actually cause you to lose control of the car even faster.
5. Let the car slow down gradually by lifting the foot from the gas.
6. Steer carefully to the shoulder of the road.
7. Switch off the engine, put your gear into Park mode and apply the handbrake.
8. Switch on your warning lights. In a continuous effort to improve motorists’ mobility, Michelin has launched a video that demonstrates how to handle a tyre blowout, using footage shot at a professional course with a professional driver and tyre explosive testing equipment.
Changing the flat tyre
You have managed to bring the car safely to a stop and away from traffic? Congratulations for keeping your head cool. But it is not over yet, so don’t lower your guard and stay vigilant for the traffic around you.
Now, the first thing you’ll probably want to do is call your car insurance service to ask for assistance. But what if you just happen to be stranded in the middle of the desert at 3am in the morning, and your mobile phone’s battery has just gone flat line on you? No stress, you can manage to get out of that uncomfortable situation yourself, if you just follow the next steps.
The first thing to do is to put on your reflective safety vest, and limit the number of passengers getting out of the car. If it is necessary for them to get out as well, then make sure you provide them with a safety vest. Even if you are in the middle of the desert, you want to stay visible from a distance.
Subsequently, place your warning triangle at the required distance behind your car (minimum 15 metres from your car). In addition to the safety vest and warning triangle, you will need to have the following equipment in your car at all times: a car jack, lug wrench, flashlight and spare tyre. First phase completed? Good. Now roll up your sleeves, take a deep breath and get to work.
1. Remove the spare wheel from the vehicle and check that it is not damaged.
2. Wedge both ends of the wheel diagonally opposite to that of the punctured tyre.
3. Loosen the nuts or bolts of the punctured tyre using the wrench supplied (undo counter-clockwise), but do not remove them.
4. Place the jack under the vehicle in the position indicated in the vehicle manual. Raise the vehicle using the jack, until the wheel clears the ground.
5. Remove the nuts or bolts and put them in a clean place.
6. Remove the punctured wheel and slide it under the vehicle, as a precaution in case the vehicle falls off the jack.
7. Place the spare wheel on the hub. Align the mounting holes of the wheel with those of the hub.
8. Tighten the nuts or bolts slightly. With nuts, make sure that the conical part is in contact with the wheel.
9. Remove the punctured wheel from under the vehicle. Subsequently, lower the vehicle and remove the jack.
10. Tighten the nuts as firmly as you can with the wrench, using your hands. Remember to follow the sequence of alternatively tightening opposite nuts or bolts. Note: If the nuts are not sufficiently tightened, there is a risk of them becoming loose while driving and the wheel coming off the hub. Do not over-tighten either as this could result in stripped threads or breaking of the studs.
11. Put the tools and punctured tyre back in the trunk, and don’t forget to remove the wedges.
Getting back on track
Congratulations, you just managed to overcome a very unpleasant situation all by yourself! However, remember to stay alert at all times on the road, even in the middle of the desert at 3am.
Switch off your warning lights, and be careful while getting back on the road. Finally, stop at the first service station you encounter to check the air pressure of the spare tyre.
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