A flat tire can be cause for distress, and we all know that distress can’t be spelled
without ‘stress,’ but nowadays there are many solutions to get you back on the road
safely. Roadside assistance companies from coast to coast across our great nation provide tire
changes, tire repair, and tire patching as some of their bread and butter services. You could
also change out a flat yourself, if you’ve got the tools and skills to do so.
The first known roadside assistance providers in the US were known as the First Aid Corps, five
motorcyclists of the Automobile Club of St. Louis, who patrolled the city streets every Sunday
looking for motorists in need of emergency assistance.
Times were certainly different in 1915, and the cars from those primitive years of automobiling
were as well. Back then, automobiles were a rarity and owners normally learned how to effect
repairs themselves, including tire changes.
As more and more folks adopted these horseless carriages and as the cars improved
technologically, the demand for mobile mechanics and roadside assistance grew as well to help
those in distress and unable to repair their car themselves.
How can roadside assistance help with flat tires?
Tire changes are one of the primary reasons that people call for emergency roadside assistance.
Motorists that end up with a flat tire, whether from driving over nails or screws, potholes, or
from wear and tear that leads to punctures in the tire, should immediately decelerate and pull
over in a safe location to contact an emergency roadside assistance provider.
Many companies offer these services, depending on your state or insurance policy. Depending on
your location, they may take as little as 15 minutes up to about an hour to arrive. The mobile
mechanic should be able to patch your tire, plug holes in the tire, inflate the tire(s), or help
you replace the tire with a spare tire doughnut provided you’ve got one. Some will be able
to bring a replacement doughnut to you as well, but not always.
In some cases, the mechanic cannot repair the tire safely, and if there is no spare tire on hand,
they may need to have the car towed to their garage for replacement mounting and balancing.
What’s involved in tire repair or replacement?
Not all cars, trucks, or SUVs are alike, and neither are all tires. It really depends on the type
of tire and the extent of the damage, but generally roadside assistance will do the following:
- If the tire has a small puncture, the mechanic may only need to plug the hole and possibly
inflate the tire with some air to get you back on the road.
- If the tire has a larger rip or tear, the mechanic may be able to patch the hole to buy you
some time to take it into a garage yourself.
- If the tire is completely beyond repair, the mechanic will assist you in mounting your spare
tire doughnut provided you have one on hand. If not, you may be able to request that they
bring one for your car model.
- If the tire is destroyed and no spare tire is available, you will need to have the car towed
to a garage to have a replacement tire installed.
Insurance coverage for flat tires
Depending on your state and/or auto insurance policy, the cost of roadside assistance may be
completely free. Most insurance providers, however, such as Allstate and Progressive, do not
provide coverage for tire changes under their standard policies and instead advise customers to
consider comprehensive insurance packages that include tire changes.
This means that you may have to pay out of pocket for any tire-related services from your
roadside assistance provider. Fortunately, TowGator makes it quick, easy, and affordable to find
reputable emergency roadside assistance near you.
Safety tips for flat tires
If you’re driving with a flat tire, follow the below safety tips:
- Pull over in a safe location, such as to the right on the shoulder or side of the road.
- Turn the steering wheel away from the road and apply the parking brake.
- Turn on your hazard lights and interior lights; the more light, the safer you are.
- Wait in your car if you’re in an unsafe location, or wait outside the car a safe
distance away if your car is in a less hazardous location.
Can I replace a flat tire myself?
Yes, it is possible to replace a flat tire by yourself provided you have a spare tire on hand as
well as a few other tools, such as a lug wrench, car jack, wheel locks, and/or alignment studs,
depending on your wheels.
Should I tip roadside assistance for a flat tire?
It’s completely up to you, but in the United States many motorists consider it a kind
gesture to leave a $5-10 tip in cash to the mechanic, provided that the job meets or exceeds
Do towing companies change flat tires?
It depends. Some towing companies provide roadside assistance, including tire changes, whereas
others only provide towing services.
Find a professional roadside assistance provider with TowGator
So, if you’re in need of a tire change look no further than TowGator to find professional,
genuine roadside assistance and towing services in your city or county. Click on “GET
QUOTES” and enter your ZIP code to find a reliable mobile mechanic nearby.