How To Deal With Flat Tyres & Blowouts When Driving

Last Updated: 10/05/2022

One of the most common faults that people experience with their vehicle will be a flat tyre.

Whether you wake in the morning to find your tyre has deflated overnight or you’re in mid-journey and you get a puncture, the chances are that at some point this is going to happen to you.

A puncture in itself is a pretty simple and cheap issue to resolve when compared with most other complications you can have with a car, however, it can be pretty stressful if you’re not experienced in how to deal with the situation.

You can also pretty much guarantee that these things happen when you simply have no time to spare!

You could be on your way to an important meeting, dropping the kids at school or heading on holiday.

There is never a good time to get a puncture.

In an ideal world, your puncture will be a slow one which you notice and have time to put right.

In the worst-case scenarios, punctures can happen suddenly and result in what’s known as a blowout.

These can be dangerous, especially if you’re driving at speed on a busy road, such as a motorway.

What You Will Learn

Knowing what to do when you get a puncture in a tyre is pretty important.

Everybody will be different in terms of what they are prepared to take on as well.

You may be confident to get your jack out of the boot and change your wheel to a spare one at the roadside, or you may be a little more inclined to call for back-up.

Either way, you’re going to need to know how to deal with each scenario.

Our guide is designed to walk you through what your next steps should be.

We will give you two step-by-step guides; one for what you should do if your tyre blows while you’re driving and the second is a simple plan of how to change your tyre should you need to.

We’ve set the guide out in the usual way, making it nice and easy to follow:

  • Step-By-Step Guide
  • Video Demonstration
  • Hints & Tips
  • Useful Information
  • Final Thoughts
  • Further Resources

Step-By-Step Guide

Dealing With A Blowout:

If your vehicle suffers a blown-out tyre while you’re driving, it’s going to be particularly scary for a few seconds.

It can also be dangerous if you’re driving at high speed or on a road which has heavy traffic.

Here’s is what you should do in such a scenario:

  • As soon as you feel the tyre blowout, remove your foot from the accelerator.
  • Do not slam your brakes on or make any sudden moves. Your car may be unstable, and the steering can be tough to handle and unpredictable.
  • When it is safe to do, indicate to the offside of the road and begin to gradually pull over.
  • Once in a safe position, bring the car to a gradual stop, put the handbrake on and turn on your hazard lights.
  • It is important that you do not attempt to drive on any further with a flat or blown out tyre. This can severely damage the rim of your wheel and end up costing you much more money if you have to replace the entire wheel.

Changing A Tyre:

If you’re confident enough to change the flat tyre yourself, use the following step-by-step guide.

You will need a jack, a wrench, locking wheel nut if your car requires them and of course your spare wheel.

  • Lay your equipment out so that you know you have everything you need. Put them all close together so you’re not having to stretch or go too far every time you need to change tools.
  • Ensure your car has the handbrake applied and is in first gear to prevent it rolling when jacked up.
  • Find the jacking point under the car and position your jack in the correct position.
  • Before you begin to lift the car, loosen the nuts on your wheel with the wrench.
  • Next, lift the car using the jack so that the wheel is only just clear of the ground.
  • Use your knee or foot to keep the wheel in position and remove the already loosened wheel nuts.
  • Using both hands, lift the wheel away from the car.
  • Lift the spare wheel onto the car and secure the nuts loosely, initially by hand. You should do this in a diagonal sequence.
  • Carefully and slowly lower the jack until the tyre is touching the ground again. Do not lower all the way.
  • Now, tighten all of the nuts so the wheel is completely secure.
  • Lower the jack all the way down so that the car is back on the floor.

Video Demonstration

Hints & Tips

Changing a tyre is thankfully pretty straight forward and something that most people will be able to manage.

The first time you do it will be a little stressful but it’s a common task that most people will have to do at some point.

To ensure you are making it the easiest it can be for yourself, plus making it safe, you can follow these hints and tips.

  • Never change your wheel at the side of a motorway. It’s far too dangerous. Instead, pull safely onto the hard shoulder, put your hazard lights on, and get out of the car and stand well away from the road side. Call a breakdown service.
  • Don’t change your wheel with passengers inside the vehicle. Move everyone to a safe place away from the roadside.
  • Don’t change your wheel unless the road surface is hard and flat. Using a jack on soft, uneven or loose ground can be very dangerous.
  • Never get under the car to work on it when it’s jacked up. It’s not safe to do so and can cause serious injury if the jack slips or gives way.
  • Only ever use the jack on proper jacking positions. Consult your car’s handbook if you’re unsure where these are located.

Useful Information

Many cars are no longer supplied with spare wheels.

Instead, there will probably be a temporary use ‘skinny spare’ which is limited by speed and is strictly for short-term use.

Some cars now do not even carry those but instead have a temporary inflation kit that can offer a short-term repair to the wheel in order to get you off the road and to a garage.

Familiarise yourself with what option your car has and know where to find it and how to access it.

Also, spare wheels can become rusted in position within the boot so it’s useful to try and free these up and move them frequently so that they are easy to access when required.

Final Thoughts

There are many car faults and breakdowns that can be worrying and expensive to fix and also render your car useless until they are done.

A puncture or tyre blowout doesn’t always have to be one of them.

Familiarise yourself with this guide, including the video demonstration, so that you’re prepared for action should you ever need to change a wheel.

It happens much more commonly than you may think, so even if it doesn’t happen to your own car, the chances are that it will to a friend or family member.

Further Resources