A flat tire is one of the biggest annoyances while you’re driving. And it usually happens at the worst times — on your way to work, with a car full of kids, or during a road trip. Nothing ruins a good time like a flat tire, no spare, and no cell service. And it can be more than just irritating; it can also jeopardize your safety.
So before embarking on your next road trip, here’s what you need to know.
Learn to change a tire
Knowing how to change a flat tire is an important skill because it’s a common car repair. Unfortunately, it’s also a skill not many drivers learn. With roadside assistance services and apps like Openbay, which provide pay-as-needed services instead of subscriptions, you might think you don’t need to know how to change a tire.
However, knowing can save money and maybe even your life. Sure, that might sound dramatic. But imagine getting a flat tire while driving through the mountains with no cell service. You could be stranded in the snow or bear country or the middle of the night, miles from a phone or gas station.
Make sure you have a spare tire kit
Automakers have begun eliminating spare tires, jacks, and tire irons from newer models to improve fuel efficiency. You can purchase an aftermarket spare tire, but it can be expensive or, worse, unsafe, Travel + Leisure warns.
Another option is an emergency tire kit. This allows you to temporarily fix the tire so that you can drive it to a repair shop. It won’t work if your tire is shredded to pieces, but it’s an easy way to get a flat tire driving again. Whether you have a spare or an emergency tire kit, make sure you know how to use the tools before you get in the car.
Watch a YouTube video before you get stuck in the middle of nowhere
YouTube abounds with useful how-to videos and can be a lifesaver for anything from plumbing predicaments to car repairs. If you need to learn how to fix a flat, watch a video before you head out on your road trip.
Trying to figure out how to fix your flat tire after the fact will take more time away from the fun. In addition to being stressed out, which can make learning something new difficult, you also might not have Wi-Fi or cell service. And that makes watching a YouTube video impossible.
If you’re planning a road trip and don’t know how to change or fix a flat tire, now is a great time to learn. Check out YouTube videos, wikiHow, or other how-to pages. You can save time, money, stress, and your road trip by mastering this relatively simple skill. Then you won’t have to worry about running into an angry bear in the middle of the night.