What should you do if you have a flat tire?

It usually happens in one of two scenarios: You walk out to your car in the morning, open the door and spot it—your tire sagging on the ground. Or, you’re driving and you notice the flap, flap sound of an airless tire. When you discover you have a flat tire, what you do next is critical to ensuring your safety.

If you notice a flat tire when your car is parked

While getting a flat tire is never convenient, you can be glad you won’t have to deal with the extra stress of what to do if you have a flat tire when you’re driving.

Inspect it

Gently run your hands along the back and front of the tire to see if you can spot any foreign objects such as a nail or an industrial staple in the tread or sidewall. If you can’t see anything, your tire might just be low on air.

Put on your spare tire

Either way, it’s best not to patch it yourself. Just get your spare on and drive to a service centre for repair because you can do more damage to the tire’s casing and integrity.

Once you have your spare tire on, bring the flat tire to a Kal Tire location near you. As a retail customer, if you bought your tire with us and your tire is fixable, our Customer Care Plan will let us fix it for free.

Check out our post How to Change a Tire for help with getting that spare on.

If you notice a flat tire when you’re driving

If you don’t hear your tire going flat, you’re going to feel it. When you have a flat tire and you’re driving, it’ll feel like your vehicle is being pulled to the side of the flat tire, and it’ll feel like you can’t accelerate.

Safely pull over

Get as far to the edge of the road as you can, hopefully in a shoulder area with a bit of extra space. It’s important to give yourself as much room as possible so you’re not at risk of being hit by passing vehicles. If you have safety cones, set them down behind your vehicle to give other drivers an extra warning.

Put on your spare tire

No matter what, don’t drive on that tire. Get your spare on using our handy guide to changing a tire.

If the cause of your flat tire was a puncture, we can probably repair it by patching and plugging it. If the flat was caused by something else, that tire will likely need to be replaced. At Kal Tire, we’ll help you find the right tire and get you back on the road as soon as we can.

What stories do you have about flat tires? We’d love to hear.

Photo Credit: Stockbyte/Photos.com

Tire rotations and your all-wheel drive vehicle

At Kal Tire, we come across a lot of customers who think tire rotation isn’t as important on their all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicle. The common misconception with AWD is that power is always being directed to all four tires, and your tires, therefore, are wearing at the same rate. No need for tire rotations, right? Wrong.

Next to checking your tire’s pressure, rotating your tires is the second-most important maintenance item, even on an AWD vehicle.

Why rotating tires on an all-wheel drive vehicle is crucial

Even though all-wheel drive vehicles turn the front and back wheels in tandem, each wheel position will see a different degree of steering, weight dispersion and traction. When each tire has a chance to run on every wheel position, it allows the tires to wear out more uniformly, decreasing the chance of irregular wear.

Keeping the condition of all four tires as uniform as possible puts less stress on the components of your all-wheel drive (or 4×4 systems). If one tire is spinning at a substantially different rate than its partner this can cause the all-wheel drive system extra stress, possibly resulting in failure.

Best practice is to rotate your tires every 8,000-10,000 kilometers or every other oil change.

If you have a full-size spare tire, it should be added to your regular rotations. Keeping the spare tire’s tread equal with the others in an all-wheel drive or 4×4 will prevent damage to the driveline (the mechanism that sends power from the engine to your wheels).

The benefits of rotating your AWD vehicle’s tires

Regular tire rotations mean you’ll maximize the life of your tire by preventing uneven tire wear. Tires in good shape give you optimum traction and handling as well as less road noise. You’ll enjoy smooth, safe driving a well as savings with long-lasting tires.

Why you’ll want to purchase and service your AWD tires at Kal Tire

When you buy a set of tires at Kal Tire, we’ll rotate your tires at the recommended intervals for free as part of our Customer Care Plan. Having your tires inspected by a trained tire technician helps you prevent tire-related collisions and costly repairs.

Why rotate your tires?

Regular rotations, or moving a tire from one position on your vehicle to another will help you get maximum life out of your tires. This maintenance practice will equalize tread wear and ensure optimal performance of your ride.

If your car is front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the most common wear is on the shoulders. With rear wheel drive, your back tires will wear faster. By alternating the tires position on the vehicle, every 8,000-10,000 Kms (or every other oil change) the tire’s manufacturer mileage guarantees will apply. If you do not perform regular rotates, those same warranties may be voided.

Proper rotation position depends on your vehicle’s drive train (front-wheel, all-wheel or rear-wheel). A qualified technician will ensure the rotation service is done correctly and adheres to your tire manufacturer’s warranty. If you purchased your set from Kal Tire, our Customer Care Plan includes free tire rotations. Ask for one next time you bring your vehicle in for an oil service or regularly scheduled maintenance.

Tire balancing 101

Balance in life is a beautiful thing. And from our perspective, balanced tires are a beautiful thing – oh yes, they are. Don’t laugh, you know how much we love talking about this stuff. Besides, we’re about to save you time and money. Read on.

No dancing!

A little hop and shimmy is a good thing…unless you’re a tire. You don’t want them dancing. Any up/down, back and forth motion in a tire can create additional wear reducing the life of your tire. If you’re feeling vibration when driving you might want to pop in to your nearest Kal Tire for a balancing.

Tires aren’t perfect

No tire is perfect…there will always be one side measuring a little lighter. That’s why tire balancing is an integral part of vehicle maintenance. It’s one of those behind- the-scenes things our Kal Tire technicians do ensuring your ultimate comfort and ride performance.

Wheel Balancing

Wheel Balancers accurately measure and target imbalance on a tire and wheel assembly. The automated machine helps our technicians know where to affix the required amount of weight to the rim to offset any weight differences (side to side and top to bottom) bringing it into balance.

We use three types of wheel weights at Kal Tire. Hammer weights are the most common, and by looking closely you’ll spot them clamped on your rim. Tape weights are adhesive and don’t compromise the look of custom wheels. Lastly, balancing sand can be injected and will offset bouncing on a set of heavy duty mud tires.

Lead-free

In 2009, Kal Tire began to phase out lead weights and make the environmentally-friendly switch to steel. Steel weights are not associated with the release of contaminants in the recycling process, nor are they a contributing source of environmental toxicity.

Free you say?

Kal Tire offers free rebalancing on the original tire and wheel assembly after your initial purchase for the life of the tire at any of our over 240 locations. A little something we’ve included in our exclusive Customer Care Plan. However, if the tire is changed-over (ie. the tire is dismounted and put on another set of wheels) a new balancing charge would be required.

What your tires can tell you about your driving patterns

We apologize to all the teen drivers out there who would prefer we don’t equip Mom and Dad with any more information about your driving habits. Sorry gang. But tires do tell stories. Sometimes it’s about maintenance issues like alignment or tire pressure. But did you know tire wear is also an indicator of speed, hard cornering and braking?

Aggressive handling

If you’re looking at your tire straight on, you might notice rounding on the shoulders. Pssst…Mom, this might be something you notice about Dad too, TV remotes aren’t exactly known for working the deltoid muscle. Anyway, rounded shoulders are one of the most common forms of wear and could be attributed to mechanical or suspension issues, but can also be a sign of hard cornering. Such aggressive handling may also lead to warping, high and low spots or oblong shaping – an indicator of excessive speed. Also, flat spots on your tires could show up from skidding, heavy braking or hard acceleration. We told you tires tell stories!

Watch out!

Careful of that curb! Scraping or bumping your tires can lead to cracking or bulging. But damage can also be invisible to the eye and internal to the tire. If you’ve had a bad bump or spot noticeable damage, pop by and have our trained Kal Tire technicians check it out.

Follow the rules

Amongst the ruins in your teen’s glove compartment, or inside the driver’s side door, there should be a placard that reads “Tire information”. These manufacturer’s specifications convey tire size, tire pressure and load capacity for optimal performance of the vehicle. With this information in-hand a Kal Tire Sales and Service technician will help you find the right tire for your driving habits.

Alignment and the life of your tires

Like most things in life, regular alignment is important. It will help your tires last longer, which means more bang for your buck on every set you purchase. Non-aligned wheels can cause your vehicle to pull right or left, undermining your control and handling. Pulling to one side, an offset steering wheel and even wear on front tires are all indicators you’re due for an alignment.

The good news

Here’s the good news Mom and Dad. Speeding tickets, bumps and bruises aside regular tire rotations will help you get maximum life out of your tires. Kal Tire’s Customer Care Plan offers free tire rotations every 8000-10000 Kms. Ask for one next time you bring your vehicle in for an oil service or regularly scheduled maintenance.

What story are your tires telling? Send us a few good ones, we’d love to hear from you.