Getting a flat tyre at any time can be an inconvenience, so breaking down on a steep hill or slope can understandably be daunting. In case you ever find yourself in this predicament, read through these tips in order to help you safely change a flat tyre on an incline.
Tip #1. Move (if possible) to level ground
First and foremost, you should always try to drive very slowly and carefully to the nearest spot of flat ground. Do not worry about causing further damage by driving your flat tyre to a safe spot. Even if the tyre has come off the rim, it can still be safe to drive the car to level ground. A damaged rim is far less risky than the possibility of your car shifting from the car jack and lurching down the hill. If the slope's gradient is too steep and you simply don't feel comfortable about moving your car, hang tight and call for roadside assistance to get you towed to a safe location.
Tip #2. Make a right angle turn
A way to immediately put your car in a much safer position for tyre changing is to make a right angle turn. Your flat tyre will then be facing sideways instead of uphill. This is assuming that you have sufficient space on the road to make this turn and that your car is facing either downhill or uphill.
If, in a very rare case, your car should breakdown on a banked turn, do not attempt to move the car at all. Depending on the type of surface and the gradient of the bank, the friction holding your tyres in place may not be very secure. For this reason, attempting to jack a flat tyre at any angle on a bank could be incredibly dangerous. In this situation, the safest course of action is to contact roadside assistance to help you move to a safe spot.
Changing the tyre
Before you start, you may want to measure the slope with a spirit level. If the majority of the bubble gathers in the left or right section of the vial, this is probably a sign that the incline is too steep and unsafe. Assuming your car is on a moderate incline, you can take the first steps towards prepping your car for changing a flat tyre -- beginning with blocking one of your tyres.
- If you have broken down facing uphill, you should place a sturdy wheel chock (a 4x4 block cut with a 45-degree angle on one side) on the back side of the car, opposite to where your flat tyre is. If your car is facing downhill, you'll need to block the front tyre on the opposite side of the flat tyre.
- Next, use your jack to carefully lift the side of the car that is closest to the tyre in need of replacing. Triple check that both the jack and car are secure before you start to remove the tyre. Jack your car a little higher to compensate for the space difference between the flat and the fully-inflated spare tyre.
- Now, remove the wheel cover. If the wheel cover is particularly stubborn, you can use the straight end of a lug wrench to prize it off the wheel. Once loosened, it won't take much force to remove it safely.
- Using your wrench, carefully loosen each lug nut, turning them each to the left using one half-turn motion. Being careful to make no sudden jerking movements, gently work the wheel off the lugs, setting the tyre aside.
- Lastly, put your spare tyre in place and slowly lower the jack again so the tyre is resting firmly on the ground. Replace the lug nuts and turn them clockwise for a few turns using your lug wrench to tighten them in place. Carefully, remove the jack from the front of your car and remove the wheel chock.
Hopefully, reading through these hints and tips have made you feel more prepared to deal with a slope breakdown. For extra peace of mind, make sure you have the number of a car service company in your contacts. As well as having your back in an emergency, regular car servicing will keep your tyres in great shape and prevent the likelihood of future breakdowns.