Changing a flat tire is relatively easy until the wheel gets stuck to the hub and won’t come out. In this article, we share some of the tips and tricks that one can use to remove a flat stuck tire.
Though complex procedures should preferably be handled by a professional, there are some tasks that don’t require a lot of expertise and this can include changing a flat tire. Should the wheel become stuck, however, you may need to improvise to solve the problem.
There are a couple of methods you can use to approach this particular problem. They include using blunt force such as a hammer, technical means such as applied heat, and mechanistic solutions such as driving back and forth on loosened lug nuts. The particular solution you choose depends on the severity of the situation and the resources at your disposal.
Why do tires get stuck?
Most tires get stuck because of the accumulation of rust, and the reason why it becomes hard to remove the tire is because of the corrosion that is formed between the wheel and the hub. Also, people who live in areas exposed to snow, and road salt will have these components get into their aluminum alloy rings and consequently worm their way into the hub where they become corrosive and tightly hold the wheel to the hub.
Driving on Loose Lug Nuts
This method is one of the more straightforward alternatives available when addressing a stuck wheel. In most cases, it can be applied when the wheel is not aggressively clinging to the frame. In such cases, you simply need to apply a little pressure to the area in order to loosen it from captivity.
It should be noted that this strategy is mostly applicable when you’re in a relatively safe environment away from moving traffic. Simply loosen the lug nuts on the wheel in question, taking care not to remove them fully. Four or five turns should do the trick – as you don’t want the nuts too loose lest they come off entirely when some additional strain is applied.
Once this is done, get in your car and drive back and forth for a few yards. This motion will serve to apply pressure to the wheel – forcing it to come unstuck as a result. The back and forth motion can be seen as a sort of grinding movement that breaks any adhesive element causing the problem.
Take care not to drive more than a few yards in either direction. This could result in the application of too much pressure which could damage the wheel or lead to the lug nuts popping off. Individuals should also stand on the opposite side of the tire involved to enhance their safety. This is because should the nuts pop off, the force of its trajectory could be dangerous to anyone in its flight path.
If this doesn’t work the first time, don’t panic. Simply get back in your car and repeat the process a couple of more times. Sometimes it takes more than one go, to fully dislodge the wheel from its entrapment.
Using Brute Force
Another direct method that’s available when considering how to remove a stuck wheel on your car is through the use of a hammer. As with the first alternative, this option is applicable for wheels that are not zealously glued to the frame. Though a traditional hammer can prove useful in this endeavor, using larger sized alternatives may offer quick results.
A club or short sledgehammer, for example, will provide a wider surface area for impact due to their size. Firstly, raise your car to an appropriate level that will allow you access to the back of the tire. Once this is done, loosen the lug nuts by four or five turns to create space for the wheel once it comes unstuck.
After the wheel is in position, start hitting the bottom of the tire so as to loosen the area that is stuck. You might need to apply some relatively adequate force to have any impact on the wheel. You can hit it from the front, though applying pressure to the backside of the tire can bring about better results. By hitting the backside, the strain applied goes directly against the force holding the wheel in place.
It’s crucial to ensure that you only make contact with the wheel, as hitting the rim can bring about damaging results. The potential for such mistakes is the main reason that most mechanics would not advocate for this approach. You can lessen the potential risks involved, however, by using a rubber or other soft-faced hammers.
These materials would not produce a devastating effect, even when you make direct contact with the rim by mistake. Though an adequate amount of force is required, be careful not to use all of your might – just in case you miss your target.
Using a Blowtorch
Applying heat to the area in question is a more aggressive stance if the wheel won’t come off after removing lug nuts. Should the use of force and pressure fail to bring about the desired results – then expanding the frame might be the best option for success.
For this, you will need to apply an open flame to the affected wheel using a blow torch. It should be noted that this isn’t a recommendable strategy if you have no previous experience using such a device. Manipulating an open flame can be a dangerous task if not addressed in an appropriate manner.
Using a PB blaster to penetrate any oil is the first step when using heat to address the situation. Once this is done make a point of wiping any excess fluid left on the area. The penetrant is not absolutely flammable, but there is still a risk of it lighting up should a lot of the unevaporated fluid remain present.
You can soak up the excess liquid using an absorbent rag. Once the area is suitably dry, apply the blow torch. Adjust the torch to produce a small, blue flame as you don’t need a lot of heat. Apply this flame to the affected area and if it fails to work you can repeat the process a couple more times.
One of the primary reasons behind a stuck wheel is the development of rust around the area. Using a rust removal lubricant is an excellent means of solving this problem. Simply spray the solution onto the affected area and allow it to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. Once it dissolves into the affected region, you should be able to break the rustic seal with ease. Additional applications are recommended should it fail to work the first time.
Tire changing tools
Having a flat tire in the middle of nowhere is nerve-wracking but what’s worse is not having all the relevant equipment to help you with the process of changing the flat stuck tire. Most cars do come with equipment to carry out the necessary procedure; also your car’s owner manual should have instructions where the tire changing equipment is located.
So what do you need for your tire changing kit, the below list does not, however, come in any specific order and does not include the equipment for handling a stuck tire. First, you will need extension bars which you will use to lower the spare tire then you must have a spare tire, and a wheel lock that is usually designed to protect the rims of your car from being stolen, the wheel locks usually have four lug nuts and a key.
You will also need alignment studs, a jack for lowering the vehicle so that the spare tire rests on the ground without the weight of the vehicle burdening it. Remember the lug nuts, well you will need a tool that will help you tighten or loosen them, which is a lug wrench and one that has a pry bar on one end a socket on the other.
Other extra compulsory tire changing tools
The above are the ones that you will be provided for along with your new car but there are other tools that you will need to carry along with you such as gloves and hand wipes to maintain your hand’s cleanliness. You will also need a flashlight of course with extra batteries in case you get stuck at night, a tire pressure gauge will help you know the air pressure in the spare tire.
Tire blocks will also be necessary for your second kit to prevent your car from rolling. Reflective triangles are a necessity to alert other motorists of your predicaments, and you could also carry a plastic poncho in case it rains. Lastly, you will need a 30×30 centimeter sheet of plywood to offer stability at the roadside.
Frequently Asked Questions
How far can I drive with a flat tire?
Remember that an inflated tire is your rims cushion but once it is deflated and you keep on driving your car then it might be completely destroyed. But you can drive with a flat tire for a couple of hundreds of yards but at low speeds.
Is it possible to use another person’s spare tire?
Yes, it is possible to use another person’s spare tire but if the car model is similar to yours, but if it isn’t then don’t bother using their spare tire.
Why did my new car come without a spare tire?
Most new vehicles rarely come with spare tires, as before because automakers are determined to reduce the weight in cars and in the process improve fuel economy.
Tire changing is an easy DIY, and it only gets complicated when you lack the necessary tools or a spare tire. A stuck tire is another nightmare but with the above guide, you will be able to change it, also as a precaution ensure that you carry all the necessary tools both the ones provided with the car and the ones that have to come from your own initiative.