How to Safely Drive Through a Tire Blowout

You’re driving down a freeway, paying attention to the road ahead. Then – BANG! A sound like a gunshot pierces the air and your car starts to veer. You’ve just experienced a tire blowout. What you do in the following seconds will make a world of difference. Depending on what you do, you may end up with just a simple flat tire, or with your car in a ditch. Read on to learn not only how to safely handle a blowout, but also what you can do to prevent it, and what you should do afterwards.

Prevention

A tire blowout is a special kind of flat tire. The side wall has ruptured, leaving a huge tear in your tire that cannot be repaired. While many believe that a blown-out tire is caused in part by over inflation, the true culprit is actually the opposite: tires that are underinflated. It’s not the rubber and steel that makes a tire able to carry the weight of a car and its passengers. It is the air. Without enough air, the components inside the tires flex and heat until it all snaps and a blowout occurs. If the car is carrying a heavy load, then the likelihood of a blowout is compounded. This is why it’s important to regularly check tire pressure. The proper pressure for a car’s tires is listed in the driver’s side door jamb.

Another common way to get a flat tire is by driving on very worn, very old tires. After a while the rubber starts to thin, and a blowout becomes more likely. To see if your tires are too worn, use the penny test. Stick the edge of a penny into your tire’s tread so that Abe Lincoln’s head is hidden by the tread. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, then your tires are too worn to drive on. However, if you cannot afford to replace the tire, then try rubbing it with vegetable oil. The oil will moisturize the rubber, allowing it to be more flexible and decrease the chances of a blowout.

What to Do During a Blowout

When your tire blows out, what you absolutely must not do is apply the brake. Because one of your tires is now effectively useless, the brake will be applied unevenly, causing your vehicle to veer. If you’re driving a van or SUV, then it’s quite possible to flip your car by braking during a blowout.

Instead, you need to press on the accelerator after a blowout. This may seem counterintuitive, but when a tire blows out, your car’s speed may suddenly drop due to the drag caused by the flat tire. You must step on the gas for only a moment, so that any cars behind you won’t be surprised by your sudden drop in speed and ram into you.

After you have quickly pressed on the gas, you’ll notice that your car will want to veer in the direction of the blowout. Keep your car steady, let it lose speed gradually, and only when you are going slower than 30 miles per hour should you steer the vehicle to the side of the road.

What to Do After a Blowout

Once you have successfully steered your car to the side of the road, you can start thinking about what steps you need to take next. You should always have a spare tire on hand. Now is the time to change out the flat and continue to the nearest service station. However, you need to make sure there is enough room around your car to freely work in.

Don’t try changing the tire if doing so will put you on the road, and in a dangerous situation from oncoming traffic. If you don’t have enough room to change the tire, or if you don’t have a spare, you need to call a tow truck. Depending on where you are, you may decide to have the truck drop off your car at home or at the nearest mechanic.

A blowout is likely to happen at least once in a person’s life. The important thing to do, above all else, is to remain calm. A blowout is usually accompanied by a loud bang. Don’t let this unnerve you. Follow the correct safety procedures and you’ll be on the road again in no time.

How to Change a Flat Tire by Yourself

How to Change a Flat Tire by Yourself

A flat tire always spoils your day. Changing the flat is something that one doesn’t want to do on the road, as it is unpleasant and also a dangerous task. Research has found that tire blowouts result in tens of thousands of accidents, including many fatalities. Thankfully, most of flat tires do not result in accidents. The best way to prevent a flat is getting your tires inspected by a qualified tire specialist regularly.

Tools needed: A spare tire, a jack in good condition, and a lug wrench.

Steps to Change a Flat Tire

1. Put your vehicle on a flat surface- Make sure your vehicle is on a flat surface, or lifting the car may result in damage. Turn on the hazard lights.

2. Remove the hubcap and loosen the lug nuts- First remove the hubcaps, if any, and loosen all the lug nuts on the tire, but do not remove them. It is best to use an anti-slip lug wrench, as it will give a firm grip to loosen the nuts.

3. Place the jack underneath your car- Using the owner’s manual, place the jack in the proper location so that it won’t end up in damaging you or the vehicle.

4. Jack up- Lift the vehicle by cranking the handle of the jack. Lift the vehicle until you can easily remove the tire.

5. Remove the nuts- Now remove the loosened nuts and store them safely. Do not lose them, as you need them to attach the spare tire.

6. Remove the flat tire- Hold the tire and pull it towards you by lifting it slightly. Tires may weigh from 20 to 30 pounds or more depending on the vehicle, so be careful while lifting it.

7. Move your spare- Mount the spare on the hub, place the nuts, and tighten them just with your hands – not using wrench.

8. Lower the jack- Lower the car until it is in contact with the ground, and remove the jack.

9. Tighten the lug nuts- Now tighten the lug nuts that you previously tightened with your hands. First tighten one nut, then the nut most opposite it. Repeat this pattern, always moving to tighten the next most opposite nut. Once all the nuts are tightened to some extent, tighten them more securely one-by-one.

10. Repair the flat (or replace it) as soon as possible- You may not know when you will need a spare tire again.

Things to Take Care of When Changing the Flat Tire

1. Wait until you have a flat before you check your spare- Check to make sure you have the proper tools (jack, lug wrench and the spare tire) before traveling.

2. Changing a flat in an unsafe location- Try to move the vehicle off the road, away from the dangers of traffic, before attempting to change a tire.

3. Ignoring safety visible measures- Do not forget to turn on your hazard lights. Also try to keep the doors open, to provide a buffer to keep other vehicles away.

4. Forgetting to block the tire- Jacked up vehicles may move if the other tires are not blocked. Block the other tires using a brick or stone, and apply emergency brakes before jacking up the vehicle.

5. Lifting up without loosening nuts- Attempting to loosen the nuts when the car is raised ends up spinning the wheel, as you have to apply a lot of brute force. Loosening them before lifting is better, as the ground prevents the wheel from spinning.

6. Raising the car without removing the spare- Remove the spare tire from the vehicle before lifting it on the jack. Interacting with a vehicle that is on a jack can be dangerous, and you may lean or pull on the vehicle while trying to remove a spare tire from the trunk.

7. Take a jack for granted- Be careful while handling a car jack. They can result in serious injuries or death, as the weight of a car can be very dangerous.

Before Your Next Flat Tire

Before your next flat, get yourself familiarized with the vehicle’s manual on the proper procedure for changing a tire. Practice operating the jack and wrench. If they are rusty, then lubricate them, so that they will be easy to use. Store a couple of barking blocks, tire inflator, flashlight, tire sealant, reflective road markers etc, in your car in order to be prepared for emergencies. Periodically check your tires to make sure they are in good condition, including your spare. Usually spares are the ones neglected, as they will be out of sight.

How to Clean a Yellow Headlight Lens

How to Clean a Yellow Headlight Lens

Quick fix to clean headlights with WD40 or toothpaste

Using WD40 or toothpaste will work to clean your lenses and is very quick and simple. This method only requires you to rub the plastic lens with a cloth to remove the dull or frosted look. This will provide a clear surface, which will improve your vision at night.

However, cleaning headlights with wd40 or toothpaste is a temporary fix and will not last long. But, if you are heading out on a trip or trading your car in, then this may be the quick fix you’re looking for,

Restoration Kits

The second method is to use a restoration kit. For example, 3M has a kit you can buy that comes with the sandpaper and polish to restore your headlamps.

This method will cost more and require more effort. The kit comes with sandpaper to remove the oxidation of the plastic lens. Once removed, then the plastic lens is polished back to a clean and clear lens. This will provide you with a clear light to provide better night vision for a longer time. Although in time, the plastic with dull out again.

Restore Headlights Using 2K Clear Coat

The third method is to use a 2k clear coat. This method also requires sanding, but instead of polishing the plastic, you will apply adhesion promoter and clear coat to the surface. This method may take a little more work, but this is a permanent fix to repairing your headlights. If you don’t have a spray gun, then there is a 2k clear coat available in a spray can.

If you are planning to keep your car for years, then this is the best method to use.

Why Is Headlight Restoration Important?

When you see and drive your car every day, it may become difficult to realize how bad your headlights have become. Night after night they are slowly becoming dimmer due to the plastic becoming yellowed, frosted, or hazed looking.

Just like changing the oil and keeping the tires inflated to the correct pressure, your headlamps lens should me maintained as well.

Not realizing they have started restricting the light to shine through properly at night or procrastinating to restore your them could lead to a preventable accident when driving at night.

In fact, I was talking to a body shop owner yesterday telling me he has an all time high of deer hit accidents. You may not think this is a big deal, but a big percentage of these cars are being totaled. Yes, a deer hit does a lot more damage to newer cars than you may thing. Not that all of these deer hits are due to foggy headlights, but we need to do everything we can to drive safe and prevent these type of accidents. Cleaning headlights with wd40 or toothpaste is a small price to pay to prevent an accident.

I Don’t Have Time To Restore My Lights

There are a lot of do it yourself enthusiasts out there who love to do everything they can to maintain their car. They take pride and enjoy doing this type of work. However, there are other people who are too busy or just don’t want to take the time to work on their car.

You are the people who may have your oils changed and car washed for you. That is perfectly alright because there are businesses out there depending on you to keep them in business. If you don’t have the time for light restoration, then look for a business who can provide you with this service. Many dealerships, details shops, and collision repair shops would be glad to help you out with this service. This may cost you more, but it will free up your time to do the things more important to you.

Tyres: When to Change Them

Tyres: When to Change Them

When you drive around town or travel long distances you probably check that your car is in good working order. Driving around town requires a lot of stop and go action while travelling long distances tends to be a continuous driving action. Either way there is an impact on the tyres.

It is important to know when to change the tyres on your car so that they take you to your destination safely. Here are a few tips as to when to change the tyres.

  • The tread is smooth. When the tyre tread is smooth, in other words it is less than 2 millimetres deep. If the tread depth is less than 2 millimetres it affects the braking action of the car. The smooth tyres will not have sufficient grip on the road when you want to come to a complete stop, it will affect grip when going around a corner, and it will certainly affect driving in wet and rainy conditions. In each of these cases a smooth tyre could cause an accident. So make sure that you change the tyre when the tread is less than 2 millimetres.
  • It is damaged or worn. If there is wear anywhere on the tyre such as frayed edges because they are old then you need to change it. Driving with worn tyres can be dangerous because you never know when it might burst. Another occasion when you might need to change it is after hitting a big pothole. Potholes can cause great damage to the wheel so you need to inspect it thoroughly before you attempt to drive with it. A big pothole could not only damage the tyre, it could also damage the mag wheel and the suspension.
  • There is a puncture. If the tyre has a hole in it then this is a definite indication that it needs to be changed. Don’t attempt to drive with the puncture. This will make the wheel flat and it could cause the car to be imbalanced. This imbalance is dangerous as it can cause you to make an accident because the handling of the car is drastically affected.

When you notice that there is any wear, damage or punctures on the tyres, then get the tyre changed. You could do it yourself by replacing it with the spare wheel. But it would be better if you could take it to a specialist who will remove the damaged tyre from the mag wheel and replace it with a new one. You could still keep the mag wheel as it needs to match the other mag wheels on your car.

Minty’s is amongst the leading tyre suppliers in South Africa, and is recognized for our high standard of customer service. We have built a reputation amongst our customers and ensure that they receive tyres and alloy wheels of the highest quality, amongst the largest brands nationwide.

Minty’s is amongst the leading tyre suppliers in South Africa, and is recognized for our high standard of customer service. We have built a reputation amongst our customers and ensure that they receive tyres and alloy wheels of the highest quality, amongst the largest brands nationwide.

Brake Discs: Taking Care of Your Car and Brakes

Brake Discs: Taking Care of Your Car and Brakes

A car can be one of the biggest investments that you make or at least one of the biggest purchases in your life. Depending on the type of car you buy, the price of it could be as high as a house’s price. That being said it is advisable to take really good care of your car.

Overall, you should take care of your car as whole, from the outside to the inside. Keep the body of the car clean and dent free. Wash the car as often as you can, vacuum the inside and polish the dashboard and tyres. Be careful where you drive and park to avoid bumps and dents from occurring on your car’s body.

Look after the engine too. Avoid opening the bonnet unnecessarily so that it doesn’t get exposed to too much dust. Check the oil and water to ensure that it remains topped up for the efficient functioning of the vehicle. If you suspect that there is something wrong with the engine don’t be tempted to repair it yourself. Rather let a qualified mechanic check it and repair it for you.

Take care of the wheels and tyres. Make sure that you have the tyres inflated regularly to prevent it from running flat. This also optimises your driving if the tyres are sufficiently inflated. If you notice that he tread is low, then change the tyres. Don’t drive with them for long as this could lead to the car not being able to come to a stop as quickly as it would with new tyres.

Check the brakes often especially when you notice something unusual. If you hear the brakes squeak or whistle, or feel that the brake pedal is spongy, then get it checked. There could be a problem with the brake elements such as the brake discs. Rather be safe than sorry when it comes to this car part.

In general, you should take your car for a service every year or when the set mileage is reached for your particular vehicle. During a service all the parts of your car will be checked to ensure that it is roadworthy and safe to drive. Keep a record of the car’s service so that you build up a good history. This will serve you well when you want to sell the car. It will increase the value of your car, especially if you take good care of it.