Getting a flat tire is one of the most common roadside mishaps. Luckily, with Kia’s typically included spare and some basic tools, you can get back on the road quickly. Knowing what to do and taking the right precautions makes changing a flat safe and straightforward. Follow these steps when that dreaded flat strikes your Kia.
Table of Contents
- Pulling Over Safely
- Preparing Your Vehicle
- Locating the Spare Tire and Tools
- Positioning the Jack
- Removing the Flat Tire
- Mounting the Spare Tire
- Stowing the Flat and Tools
- What to Do if No Spare is Available
- Safely Driving on a Temporary Spare Tire
- Further Steps for Repairing or Replacing the Tire
- Repairing or Replacing Your Car’s Steering Wheel
- Common Steering Wheel Problems
- Repairing Minor Steering Wheel Damage
- When to Replace a Worn Steering Wheel
- Removing the Steering Wheel
- Installing a New or Remanufactured Wheel
Pulling Over Safely
When you realize you have a flat, the first priority is getting off the roadway safely. Gently brake to slow down, but don’t stomp on the brakes, as that could further damage the tire and wheel. Activate your hazard lights to alert other drivers. Carefully pull off the road onto level, firm ground if possible.
If you must stop in an unsafe spot, stay buckled inside with hazards flashing until help arrives. Only attempt to change the tire yourself in a secure location. Your safety comes first.
Preparing Your Vehicle
Now that you’re safely situated, prep your Kia for jacking by following these steps:
- Park on a flat, hard surface and apply the parking brake.
- Place the transmission in Park (automatic) or 1st gear (manual).
- Turn off the ignition and activate hazard lights if not on already.
- Have all passengers exit the vehicle and wait in a safe area.
- Remove any heavy loads to lighten the weight.
Your Kia is now ready to be jacked up safely.
Locating the Spare Tire and Tools
Kia stores the spare tire and included jack kit underneath the cargo area floor. Lift up the carpeting and rear floor panel to access them. Here’s what you’ll typically find:
- The spare tire, often a compact “donut” style to conserve space. Verify it is properly inflated.
- A scissors jack used to raise the vehicle.
- A lug wrench to loosen and tighten the lug nuts.
Also confirm the presence of a wheel lock key if your Kia uses locking lug nuts. If any of these items are missing, you’ll need to call roadside assistance. Otherwise, you have everything needed for the tire change.
Positioning the Jack
Refer to your owner’s manual for designated jack points to safely support your Kia’s weight. There are usually notches under the side rocker panels and sometimes the rear differential. Position the jack under a reinforced point, ensuring it sits flat before lifting.
Never jack from the suspension, drivetrain, or other non-approved points. Doing so risks damage and instability. Also, do not work under an unsupported vehicle.
Removing the Flat Tire
After jacking, fully raise the flat tire off the ground. Loosen each lug nut about one turn using your lug wrench. When doing the final removal, loosen the nuts in a crisscross pattern. This prevents the wheel from sticking. Remove all lug nuts and carefully pull the wheel off the hub.
Lay the flat tire on the ground out of the way. Avoid leaning the wheel against your Kia which could lead to scratches.
Mounting the Spare Tire
Pick up the spare and line up the lug holes with the bolts on the hub. Push until the tire rests flush against the hub. Start threading lug nuts on by hand around the perimeter. Tighten them gently at first in a crisscross sequence.
Once snug, begin fully tightening the lug nuts in the same crisscross pattern. This ensures the wheel draws down evenly against the hub. Alternate between nuts until all are torqued firmly per your manual’s specs.
Stowing the Flat and Tools
With the spare mounted, lower the jack to return your Kia to the ground. Remove and stow the jack. Place the flat tire where the spare was kept and secure it so it won’t roll around. Return all tools and panels.
Double check that the spare is inflated to the correct pressure. Also retorque the lug nuts after driving about 50 miles.
With these steps, you can safely change a flat on your Kia. Just be sure to have it properly repaired or replaced soon after.
What to Do if No Spare is Available
In rare cases, the spare may be in use or missing on your Kia. Your options are then:
- Use tire inflator/sealant kept in the jack kit to temporarily reinflate the flat.
- Call a tow truck to transport your Kia to have the tire repaired or replaced.
- Contact roadside assistance if included through Kia or your insurance.
- Install a full-size tire taken from a non-drive axle if applicable.
While less convenient, you still have ways to get back on the road quickly without a spare on hand.
Safely Driving on a Temporary Spare Tire
With your flat tire replaced with a temporary spare, keep these precautions in mind until you can have it properly repaired or replaced:
- Verify the spare is inflated to the correct pressure before driving. Underinflation can lead to catastrophic failure.
- Avoid using a compact spare at speeds over 50 mph or for distances over 50 miles. These limitations are imprinted on the tire.
- Drive cautiously and avoid aggressive acceleration, braking and cornering which could overstress the smaller spare.
- Do not take your Kia through automated car washes or over obstacles that could damage the spare’s underside.
- Remember the spare was intended for temporary use only. Have the standard tire repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
Adhering to these guidelines reduces risks when driving on a compact spare. But remember, the sooner it’s replaced with a full-size tire, the better.
Further Steps for Repairing or Replacing the Tire
Once you’re safely back on the road, take these additional steps for a long-term fix:
- Have the flat tire fully inspected by a tire shop to determine if it’s repairable or needs replacement.
- For repairable punctures, have the tire dismounted, hole plugged, and properly balanced and remounted.
- Replace severely damaged tires with the exact same model and specifications as original Kia equipment to maintain safety and performance.
- When installing the repaired or replaced tire, torque the lug nuts to the proper specifications with a torque wrench.
- Retorque the lug nuts again after the first 50 miles to ensure wheels are securely fastened.
- Properly inflate the replacement tire along with checking the other tires’ pressure.
- Have the original spare tire inspected and reinflated if used so it’s ready for future emergencies.
Taking a proactive approach ensures you’re riding safely on properly inflated, undamaged tires once again. Don’t delay repairs after using the spare.
While a flat tire is annoying, knowing what to do helps get you back up and running smoothly. Follow these steps and precautions, and you’ll have confidence handling a flat when the time comes. Maintaining your tires properly between flats also helps avoid this common mishap in the first place. Stay safe out there!
Repairing or Replacing Your Car’s Steering Wheel
Over time, your car’s steering wheel may show signs of wear. Luckily, repairing minor damage or replacing a worn-out steering wheel is fairly straightforward. Here’s what to know about steering wheel repairs.
Common Steering Wheel Problems
Several issues can necessitate fixing or replacing your steering wheel:
- Fading, cracking or peeling outer material
- Rips, tears or holes in the grip surface
- Damage from an airbag deployment
- Excessive play, looseness or vibration
- Buttons or controls that stop working
- An outdated or unattractive style you want changed
Identifying the specific problem guides the right repair approach.
Repairing Minor Steering Wheel Damage
For many steering wheels, small cracks, holes or worn spots can be repaired cost-effectively. Options include:
- Filling cracks and holes with flexible fillers designed for interior plastics.
- Patching rips or damage with iron-on patches or vinyl repair kits.
- Replacing just the worn grip cover over the underlying frame.
- Refinishing scratches or fading with plastic renewal treatments.
- Cleaning deep set grime with steam cleaners or vinyl scrub pads.
With some time and effort, you can restore minor steering wheel defects affordably.
When to Replace a Worn Steering Wheel
However, at a certain point replacement becomes the better fix for an excessively worn steering wheel, such as:
- Pervasive fading, flaking or discoloration
- Crumbling, dried-out grip material or torn seams
- Visible structural damage or cracked support frames
- Excess looseness, vibration or “play” when turning
- Non-functioning buttons, paddles or controls
- Risk of airbag malfunction after deployment
A new or remanufactured steering wheel resolves these advanced issues for improved driving feel and safety.
Removing the Steering Wheel
Replacing a steering wheel yourself starts with removal. Key steps include:
- Disconnect the negative battery cable to disable the airbag.
- Detach wiring connectors for buttons, paddles and other controls.
- Remove the steering wheel nut or bolt securing it to the shaft.
- Use a “steering wheel puller” tool to pop the wheel off the splines. Don’t strike or pry the wheel.
- Unfasten the airbag module if transferring it to the new wheel.
Take care not to inadvertently deploy airbags when doing this work.
Installing a New or Remanufactured Wheel
Once the old unit is off, install the replacement by:
- Transferring over any usable buttons, paddles and controls to their original positions.
- Aligning the wheel properly on the shaft and pressing into place.
- Reinstalling and tightening the retaining nut or bolt to the specified torque.
- Reconnecting electrical connectors and airbag module.
- Reconnecting the battery and testing wheel controls and electronics.
With some patience, the right tools, and safety precautions, DIYers can successfully replace their own steering wheel. However, always consult a shop if unsure. While involved, replacing a worn or damaged steering wheel restores your interior to its former glory.