Even with all the advances in tire technology, we’re not going to lie to you: you’re probably still going to have to change a flat tire (or call for help to get it changed) during your lifetime—sometimes more than one (here’s how to deal with a recurring flat). An occasional flat tire on your car is not fun to change (and incredibly inconvenient!), so use these tips to avoid your next flat on your car or truck.
Know the proper air pressure—and maintain it.
Unfortunately, you can’t eyeball correct tire pressure or rely on your TPMS sensor (it may not activate until your tires are 20% underweight)—and the effects of low tire pressure can leave you stranded. Low tire pressure can cause premature flats, compromise your ride, and decrease your gas mileage. Instead, use a tire pressure gauge to check your truck and trailer tires. Fill all low tires up to the correct air pressure.
To check your tire pressure, first find out what is the right tire pressure for your car. You can find it on the sticker at the bottom of your driver’s side door frame. Unscrew the cap on your tire stem, and push the top of the tire pressure gauge into the stem. Depending on the type of pressure gauge you have, the amount of tire pressure should show up digitally or via looking at the numbers on the white bar that pops up. If you don’t have time, ask your mechanic to check your tire pressure at your next scheduled oil change. They can check and correct the problem so you don’t end up with a flat.
Check your tire tread.
Uneven tire tread wear is another cause of a flat tire. Not sure if you have enough tread? Use the old coin trick. Put a penny into the tread of your tire. If you can completely see Abraham Lincoln’s head, you need to shop for new tires. Make sure you try this trick in a few different places on the tire. Tires can wear differently, leaving some tires with uneven tread depth.
Rotate your tires.
A regular rotation of your tires, usually at every oil change, can go a long way to prevent a pain-in-the-butt flat. Tires wear differently depending on the position on your car (think front vs back, left vs right) so a regular rotation ensures that your tires wear evenly, and, as a bonus, can also clue you in to any problems with your suspension before it becomes an issue.
Be careful around road construction and debris.
It only takes one nail, a piece of metal, shard of glass, or debris from another blown out tire to make you have to pull over, call a tow, or have to get your jack out. Be aware when you are in a road construction zone. Try to avoid pulling over on the side of the road (where a lot of debris sits) and watch for anything that could send you to the shop for a tire repair or cause your next flat tire.