Teaching your teen how to drive can be exciting and stressful, but you have a chance to prepare them for the chaos of driving on the road. One thing they will need to be prepared for is getting a flat tire. A flat tire will happen unexpectedly, so make it unexpected.
Many People Do Not Know How To Change A Flat Tire
According to a study by flexed about 50% of drivers don’t know how to change a flat tire. About 50% a large number or under 20 years old. This makes sense because they have not experienced a flat tire. Beyond that they don’t even know how to examine their tire tread. Not knowing how to examine the tire tread leads to more flat tires. Not knowing how to change flat flat tire leads to more students being stranded on the side of the road. Preparing your teen for driving requires more than them being able to use their turn signal and press on the break and gas. Having educated drivers will make road safety increase, and your car insurance premiums decrease.
Prevent A Flat Tire Through Proper Vehicle Maintenance
The first step in teaching your teen how to change a tire, is how to prevent the tire from going flat in the first place. They need to know tire maintenance and things like how to check the tire depth or rotate tires. It is also important for them to understand why tire pressure needs to be maintained. Learn more about tire maintenance here.
Plan To “Get A Flat Tire” With Your Teen
When you have your teenager driving the car with their learner’s permit have them pull over. Say to your son or daughter, “We have a flat! What should we do?” If they say, “call for roadside assistance,” you are in trouble. If you don’t have roadside assistance that means you are the roadside assistance they are calling. Tell them “no” and proceed to teach them how to change the tire. This might seem strange, especially since you do not have a flat, but giving them a hands on learning experience in tire changing will help them to learn it correctly.
Pro Tip: Make sure you let your spouse know your plans. They would be quite unhappy if you did not let them know and return home extremely late.
Let Your Teen Take The Lead
Many high school drivers education courses provide basic reading and education on changing your tire on the side of the road. Letting your teenager change their tire on their own will:
- Gives them a sense of independence.
- Help you to know how knowledgeable they are in changing a flat tire.
- They will probably be alone next time they change an actual flat tire.
It may be difficult to not interject, but wait as long as you can. Even when they start raising the vehicle before removing the lug nuts, let them do it. While they will learn the hard way, this is a great opportunity for them to learn in a controlled environment.
If your teen is successful in changing the tire, great! Now is you turn to teach them tricks and helpful time saving tips as you remove the spare tire and put the original tire back into place. If they are unable to change the tire do not fret. This is why you had them pull over. Show them how it is done and explain everything you are doing and why you are doing it.
Steps To Changing A Flat Tire
Below is a breakdown of the steps to changing a flat tire and important notes to communicate to your teen.
1. Get The Tools Needed To Change A Tire
You will need the following to change your car’s flat tire:
- Tire Iron or tire lug wrench
- Car Jack
- Spare Tire
2. Remove Hubcap
Once you have the needed tools, you can remove the hubcap. Useful Tip: Use the hubcap as a dish to keep the lug nuts you remove from the tire together. You do not want to lose them.
3. Loosen Lug Nuts
Before you start to use the jack to elevate the vehicle you want to loosen the lug nuts. The reason you need to do this first is the tire will be able to move once you elevate it off the ground. This will make turning the tire iron nearly impossible. Do not remove the lug nuts fully. You want them to hold the tire onto the vehicle while you are elevating it with the jack.
4. Raise The Vehicle With The Jack
Using the jack you can raise the vehicle to remove the flat tire. Mention to them that you should raise it a little bit higher since the flat tire will be off the ground well before the full spare tire. This is a simple step they should be able to complete.
5. Fully Remove Lug Nuts & Remove Flat Tire
After the vehicle has been raised to an appropriate height, you can remove the remaining lug nuts. This can usually done by hand. Place the lug nuts in the hub cap to avoid losing them and once they are all removed you can remove the flat tire. Be careful removing the flat tire because if the tire was shredded a little bit, the tire can have thin metal wire that is exposed and can easily leave metal splinters in your hands.
6. Place Spare Tire Onto Vehicle & Add Lug Nuts
Now you can place the spare tire and tighten the lug nuts onto it. Do not tighten them fully, just tighten them until they are snug.
7. Tighten Lug Nuts & Attach Hub Cap
When tightening your lug nuts with the tire iron it is extremely important that they are tightened in a star pattern. If you tighten them counter clockwise or clockwise your spare tire will probably go rolling off your car in a few miles, causing an accident and bringing your car to a grinding halt. Place the hub cap over your spare or in the trunk with your flat tire.
7. Place All Tolls Back Where They Belong
Leaving a tire iron on the side of the road might not affect you today, but when you get your next flat tire you will be quite upset you do not have the tools to do it successfully.
If you have a donut (small spare tire) rather than a full tire, do not drive a lot on the spare. They are not designed for long distances and continuous driving.
Protect Your Teen & Your Vehicle
Get car insurance from Strickler Insurance to protect your teen and vehicle. Teen drivers are one of the likeliest age groups to get in a car accident. Make sure they are safe and protected in the event of an accident. Contact us for a free auto insurance quote.