How to deal with a tire blowout and frozen lock

How to deal with a tire blowout and frozen lock

Car problems can lead to unexpected dangers. Get prepared with these handy tips, and learn the right way to repair a tire blowout and frozen lock.

Check the condition of your tires

Inspect your tires regularly and thoroughly. Make sure the handbrake is firmly on before you begin.

  • Look for cuts, bulges and embedded objects such as nails or glass shards.
  • Check the tread depth. It must be more than 1.6 millimetre (1/16 inch) in a continuous band around the centre over three-quarters of the tire width. Any less and the tire must be replaced. Manufacturers often mold “tread bars” at 1.6 millimetres (1/16 inch). If the tread has worn as far as the bars, replace the tire. If there are no bars, buy and use a tread depth gauge.

Deal with a tire blowout

  • If a front tire bursts, don’t brake since this will pull your car heavily to the side. Let the car slow naturally, if possible. Steer to counter the drag of the burst tire, and pull over if it’s safe to do so. Try to stop on firm ground where you can change the tire.
  • If a back tire bursts, brake very gently if you must — but not too hard, or you risk losing control of the car. Be prepared for the car to slide at the back. Keep a firm grip on the wheel to maintain a straight course. Change down a gear to slow the car, and pull over.

Unfreeze a car lock

  • If your car is at home, soak a sponge or cloth in warm water and apply it to the lock.
  • Away from home or in extreme cold, heat the door key gently with a cigarette lighter and insert into the lock to defrost it from within.
  • If no other options are available, place your hand over the lock for a minute or two: the heat of your palm may do the trick. Don’t do this with bare hands, though, as you could risk freezing your hand to the door. Try with a woollen glove on or with a piece of material between you and the cold metal.
  • Bear in mind that if the lock is frozen, then the doors may be too. So don’t yank the door open or force the passenger door from the inside: you may damage the seals.

These tips can help you in an emergency. Remember them the next time you’re having a problem with your car tires or lock, and act quickly to resolve the problem!


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