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In 2016, David Kaggwa was driving a Toyota Fielder from Gulu to Kampala. Not even half way the journey, when he reached Kiryandongo, he was driving at 120 kilometers per hour but he realised the car was not as fast as he accelerated.
When he parked by the roadside to check the four tyres, he found out that the left rear tyre had been pricked by a screw. The solution was simple. He had to get into the car boot to get the spare tyre and the car jack to change the deflated tyre.
Unfortunately, after raising the car with the jack, he unscrewed all the tyre nuts but failed on one because the size of the car spanner was big yet the nut that had remained was smaller.
“It was coming to 7:00pm. I tried to stop other motorists for approximately 30 minutes to ask for help but they could not stop. When I realised that I wasn’t about to get any help, I had to get back into the car with the other occupants. We drove slowly for about 15 kilometers where we found a fuel station. The tubeless tyre was repaired and I proceeded with the journey,” Kaggwa recalls.
Experiences like Kaggwa’s usually happen unexpectedly. There is no specific location where car tyre punctures happen. They happen just anywhere. However, what is most important to every motorist is that it (puncture) finds you ready or equipped with all you need in your car to succeed in changing the deflated or damaged tyre. In some cases, some tyres are damaged beyond repair, for example with long cuts, and need newer tyres.
What mechanics say
Sula Kilimani, a mechanic at Kisekka in downtown Kampala says if your car gets a puncture in the middle of the road, the first thing to do is to turn on your hazard lights to alert other road users that your car has broken down. Thereafter, drive the car with the punctured or deflated tyre to the roadside or the nearest safe place as you prepare to change the tyre, with the hazard lights on.
Just like fuel, Kilimani emphasises that you always make it a point not only to check that you have a spare tyre but that you also have the other tools such as the car jack for carrying the car to the required level, the right spanner size and a torch for lighting in case you experience the puncture in the night.
“You also need to have and carry atleast two tyre stoppers in your boot to place just behind the rear and front tyres so that the car does not move when it has been raised by the jack even if the hand-brake is applied before you can remove the punctured tyre,” Kilimani advises.
How to change a tyre
When you have eventually parked in a safe place, with your hazard lights still turned on, place the tyre stoppers below the tyres, with atleast one on the front and the other on the rear tyres to minimize car movements.
The next step is to start on unscrewing the nuts in the tyre to be replaced before you lift the car with jack. The nuts should be loosened to a point where you do not need to use a lot of energy or force to remove them completely.
After the nuts are loosened, position the jack at the recommended jack point and carefully raise the car to a level where the tyre does not touch the ground to enable you remove the punctured tyre with ease.
“You should ensure that the ground on which you place the jack is hard and able to sustain the jack without sinking into the ground. You may consider using a flat and hard piece of wood to flatten the ground where you place the jack,” Edgar Kaweesa, a mechanic in Wandegeya says.
“Once you have lifted the car, remove the nuts completely and shake the punctured tyre until it gets off the car and embark on fixing the spare tyre on the car. Position it well so that the nut slots cover all the holes and then tighten them,” Kaweesa adds.
While you raised the car with the jack in the clockwise direction, slowly lower the car by turning the jack in the anticlockwise direction for it (car) to sit using its tyres and then tighten the nuts using a spanner.
Kaweesa concludes that after you have successfully changed the punctured tyre, take it to the nearest service station and find out from the mechanics if it can be repaired or if you need a new tyre.
Published on: 2018-09-05