Avon If Your Tire Is Disabled

Tires today are highly reliable & durable — but they’re not invulnerable. Like anything else in your car, they can be damaged by lack of maintenance or accidents, such as running over nails or into holes. And that means that tire failures—flat tires—sometime happen.

Like many other unexpected events drivers might encounter, blowouts & tread separations should be handled with calm & common sense—because when the driver knows what to do, they should be controllable. Remember, as the driver, you must always act responsibly—not only for your own safety, but for the safety of your passengers & others sharing the road with you.

If you get a flat tire or tread separation when you’re driving, the National Safety Council recommends that you:

  • Keep both hands firmly on the wheel.
  • Keep your eyes on the road.
  • Do not move the steering wheel except for small adjustments that may be necessary to continue in your same lane of travel.
  • Remove your foot from the accelerator.
  • Do not apply the brakes.
  • Allow your vehicle to coast & slow without braking.
  • Identify where you can safely stop the vehicle outside the flow of traffic.
  • When your speed is low enough & conditions permit, drive carefully out of the travel lanes.
  • Park the vehicle. Turn on your emergency flashers. Have your passengers get out & st& a safe distance away.
  • Summon help.
  • Tackle changing a tire only if you can do so without placing yourself or others in danger.
The point is to ensure the safety of you & your passengers before worrying about the tire. If you are driving on a flat tire, there’s a good chance that it’s already ruined—so take the time you need, even if you have to drive slowly (with your hazard lights flashing) for some distance to find a safe stopping place.

Once you are safely parked, follow the instructions in your owners manual for jacking up the car & changing the tire. It’s a good idea to read through those instructions & familiarize yourself with the process when you get the vehicle. It’s a lot easier to do that in your own driveway than at an unfamiliar highway rest stop or parking lot. Also, remember to check the inflation of your spare tire whenever you check your other tires—a flat spare won’t do you much good in an emergency.

Many cars have small “temporary use only” spare tires. These are designed for limited use, & you shouldn’t exceed 45 to 50 mph when you’re using one. You can drive on a temporary spare for some time, but not indefinitely—restrictions for the spare will usually be printed on the tire, or you can find them in the owner’s manual. Also, some cars now have “run flat” tires that can be driven on for a short distance even if they are flat. Once such tires have been run at low pressure, a professional should inspect them to see if they can continue to be used on your car.

If you use an aerosol sealant on a flat tire, remember that it is not meant to be a permanent fix—it’s just supposed to get you to a nearby service station or tire dealer so you can get the tire changed. Also, some of those sealants contain flammable gas, such as butane or propane, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association. The association warns drivers to never introduce a flammable substance into a tire. If you do use such a substance, be sure to tell anyone who will work on the tire that you have done so. If a flat is due to a small puncture in the tread area (not more than 1.4” or 6mm in diameter), a tire can probably be repaired. This should be done using a “combination plug & patch” method, in which the hole is plugged & the interior of the tire is repaired & sealed.

Always have a trained tire professional perform repairs and, especially, mount your tires. If mounting is done improperly, the tire or rim can explode during the process, & cause serious injury or death. Consumers should not attempt to mount tires themselves, because safe tire mounting requires proper training & specialized equipment.

The National Safety Council also recommends that you have a mechanic check your vehicle after you have a flat tire to be sure there is no other damage to your vehicle from the event.

Of course, the best way to avoid the inconvenience of a flat tire is to not have one in the first place. You can’t always avoid potholes, nails & other road hazards. But you can do something about the maintenance & inspection of your tires—& if you take good care of your tires, they should serve you well for a long time.