4WD tyres can take a lot of punishment and get you through all kinds of tough terrain, but they do have their limits. If you’re pushing your vehicle’s tyres hard enough then there’s a good chance you’ll be stuck somewhere rather inconvenient.
So, what should you do if you get a flat tyre on your 4WD?
To Change or Not to Change?
If your 4WD gets a flat on the highway you should just change the tyre. However, if a tyre goes flat, starts leaking, or even blows out when you’re exploring more exotic terrain, think twice before putting on a new one. The ground is clearly a tough prospect – why risk a brand new tyre?
Unleash Your Inner Bush Mechanic
When a tubeless 4WD tyre gives out far from the bitumen, your best bet is actually to repair the tyre as best you can. You can then replace it when you get back to civilised roadways. Make sure you travel with a tyre plug kit and an air compressor and follow these steps to get going again:
- Find the puncture using soapy water or your hand.
- Take a plug from your repair kit and try inserting it into the puncture, using the lubricant provided. If the hole is too small, you can widen it out with the auger in your kit.
- Next, use the insertion tool to get the plug all the way in – it will mushroom out inside the tyre – and you’re done.
- User beware:
- Never plug holes in the tyres’ sidewalls as you may slice the tyre irreparably; if it’s a sidewall puncture just change it.
- Once the tyre is plugged drive slowly. Plugged tyres won’t be safe at normal speeds.
Changing Your 4WD Tyre
Once you get back to the road, it’s time to change the tyre for a new one then get it to a 4WD service centre for professional assessment and repairs. If you’re using tubed tyres it’s probably best just to change them, even in the bush, as changing a 4WD tube is a big job on your own.
Step 1: Loosen the Nuts
The first thing to do is to loosen all the lug nuts on the wheel; don’t remove them, just set up the tyre iron on each nut and give it a tender kick. It’s important to do this before using the jack because trying to loosen lug nuts on a free-spinning wheel is a tough task.
Step 2: Place the Car Jack
Next, you’ll need to jack your car up. Make sure you place the jack under a solid part of the vehicle’s frame – you owner’s manual should have an illustration showing you the best points of contact.
Step 3: Car-Jacking
Raise the vehicle until the flat or damaged tyre is floating three to five centimetres above the ground. Now you can finish taking the lug nuts off and remove the wheel entirely.
Step 4: In with the New
Once you have the old wheel off, immediately replace it with a shiny new one. Thread the lugs back on but don’t tighten them yet.
Step 5: Finishing Up
Lower your vehicle until the new tyre is touching the ground and has some weight on it. Now you can finish tightening the lugs before lowering your 4WD the rest of the way. Double check the lugs are all tight, and then you’re good to go.
If you need a professional 4WD service or assistance in Perth, visit the workshop at Perth 4WD Centre. With all the parts you need and more than 10 years of experience, we can help you with everything from flat tyres to vehicle maintenance and 4WD repairs.