You’ve got the tank filled, the windshield washed, and finally, it’s time to put the pedal to the metal. But without one important skill, there’s one thing that can make any road trip fall flat…literally.

Every year, more than 220 million tires go flat in the United States. For the average driver, this means they could experience up to five flat tires throughout the course of their lifetime. And for the one in five drivers who don’t know how to change a flat, this common roadside issue can spell serious trouble.

If these odds have you feeling deflated, here’s some good news. Changing a flat tire is a simple task that many drivers can accomplish themselves. And to show you, our latest Car Chats with Cenex® video demonstrates the process from start to finish.

That doesn’t look so hard, does it? Here’s a recap of what to do, step-by-step.

  1. Find a safe spot, like the shoulder of the road or a parking area, where you can pull over. Locate your spare tire and the tools you’ll need, including your jack, lug wrench, wheel wedges, flashlight and your flares or reflective triangles.
  2. Turn on your hazard lights, then place your flares or reflective triangles behind your vehicle to make sure passing traffic sees you. Place your wheel wedges behind both tires opposite the flat.
  3. If your wheel has a hubcap, use the flat end of your lug wrench to pry the hubcap free and expose the lug nuts. Use the other end of your lug wrench to loosen, but not remove, the lug nuts.
  4. Use the jack to raise your vehicle. Refer to your owner’s manual for the best place to position the jack beneath your vehicle’s frame. Expand the jack until your flat is six inches off the ground. Once your vehicle is raised, remove the lug nuts – but keep them handy. You’ll need them again soon.
  5. Remove the flat tire. It should come off easily. Then, replace it with your spare. Tighten the lug nuts by hand, but don’t reach for the lug wrench again just yet. Lower the jack until the wheel is back on the ground. Now use your lug wrench to finish tightening the lug nuts, and you’re all set to make it home – or to the repair shop.

A flat tire might seem intimidating, but it's a simple problem to solve once you know the steps to take. With just a little know-how, you can protect yourself on the road and gain confidence as a vehicle owner.

You can be even more confident behind the wheel by doing your part to keep your car running its best. Every time you stop at the pump, you can help maintain your vehicle automatically by choosing CENEX TOP TIER™ DETERGENT GASOLINE. With 2.5 times the cleaning power of regular fuel, Cenex gas restores engine power through improved fuel economy, reduced emissions, better drivability and more. TOP TIER™ benefits come standard in every grade of Cenex gasoline– without an increase in price. To see Cenex stations near you, use our LOCATIONS FINDER.

The next time you’re on the road and a flat tire has you spinning your wheels, just follow these easy steps. Before you know it, you’ll be on the road again in no time…flat.

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