What To Do If I Have a Flat Tire and No Spare
Most vehicles come equipped with a spare tire or donut tire in the trunk. A donut tire is a smaller version of your standard tire. It is meant to be a temporary tire so that you can drive your vehicle to an auto shop without requiring a tow.
Unfortunately, there are some cases where you might not have a spare tire or donut tire available in your trunk. Perhaps you bought your vehicle used, and it didn’t come with these additional accessories in the trunk. Maybe you installed the spare tire in the past and never bothered adding a new spare tire to your trunk afterward. Sometimes a spare tire loses air pressure and is inadequate for use when you need it the most.
When you get a flat tire without a sufficient spare available, it could leave you stranded and panicked on the side of the road. But don’t worry because you can still get out of this situation if you take the appropriate actions. The first step is to pull your vehicle to the side of the road as soon as possible.
If you keep driving with a flat tire, you’ll damage the rim and potentially the suspension. That could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs or replacement expenses. So, you must turn on your emergency lights and pull over to a safe location on the side of the road. You can worry about what to do next after this crucial step is followed.
Here are the top 3 ways to handle a flat tire when a spare is unavailable:
1. Patch the Tire
It only takes a small puncture through the tread for a tire to go flat. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need to replace an entire tire because of a small hole or puncture. Instead, you can use a tire repair kit to patch up the hole.
A typical tire repair kit includes a sealant and a small air compressor. Apply the sealant to the punctured tread to prevent further air leakage. The sealant is meant to cover small holes only. After that, use the air compressor to add more air to the tire until the pressure meets the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Patching a tire is only a temporary solution. The next thing you should do is drive your vehicle to the nearest auto shop and have them inspect the tire. They can either add a better quality patch or replace the tire for you.
Tire repair kits may use a foam spray or plug for the sealant. The foam spray is the easiest to apply. Just follow the directions on the label.
2. Call a Friend
Do you have any friends or family in the area? If so, you can simply remove the flat tire from your vehicle and have your friend give you a ride to the nearest auto shop.
An auto technician can remove the flat tire from the rim and install a new one. Your entire vehicle doesn’t need to be there for that. Once you have the new tire, your friend can give you a ride back to your vehicle’s location. From there, you can proceed to install the new tire onto your car.
Use this option if patching the tire does not work. For example, if the size of the hole is too big, you won’t be able to patch it up or reinflate it. The only option will be to replace the tire altogether.
3. Call Emergency Roadside Assistance
Emergency roadside assistance can be a last resort if patching doesn’t work and you don’t have a friend to give you a ride. It is also helpful if you don’t have a jack or lug wrench in the trunk.
If you have no other way to move your vehicle safely, you can contact a professional emergency roadside assistance provider. Your auto insurance policy may cover emergency roadside assistance services, so contact them first. Your insurance company will then contact the nearest available emergency roadside technician and have them come out to your location.
The technician can attempt to patch and reinflate your flat tire as needed. But if that doesn’t work, they can tow your vehicle to an auto shop or safe location.
Of course, it always helps to keep a spare tire in your trunk with the proper amount of air pressure in it. However, it is understandable why most people don’t do this because it is easy to forget and get sidetracked from this responsibility. But you need to check on your spare tire as often as you check on your regular tires. Otherwise, your spare tire might be useless when needed the most.
In any event, you now know three ways to deal with a flat tire situation without a spare. Choose the way which is most convenient to your budget and circumstances. The critical thing to remember is to remain safe and get your vehicle away from traffic. The rest is easy.