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Welcome to Car 101: Part 2:  (If you missed part one, see it here)   (image source)

So last week I was driving home from running errands and I heard a POP!  I was only about one mile from our home, so when I heard that POP and knew that I had a flat tire, I just hurried home.  I knew that my husband was there and could take care of it.   I was lucky that I didn’t have my kids with me, but I have had this happen before when my kids have been in the back seat.  I wanted to write to tell you my best advice, AFTER THE FACT…  (hindsite is 20/20, right?)
Flat tire with kids

What I learned from getting  flat tire with kids:

1- Don’t panic!  I am pretty sure that I yelled out “What?!  Oh no!!  Ugh!!!  Are you serious?”

2- Pull over at a safe spot.   I did find a little restaurant that I was able to pull over and get off of the road.   One time my husband and I got a flat tire on our honeymoon in Hilton Head, SC, and we have to just pull off onto the median.  Luckily, Hilton Head is so beautiful, so the normal “median” there was a grassy area with palm trees.  It wasn’t like we were sitting in the middle of the road.

3- Call someone!   Always have your cell phone with you and keep it charged.  (You can buy a car charger for an Iphone at the dollar store, so stock up).   I usually call my husband to tell him what happened (even though he is probably working) and then I call my Dad because he is close, can be there in no time and he knows more about cars than anyone else that I know.   If you didn’t see my Dad’s e-book about cars (Car buying 101), find it here.  It is a must-read for anyone that is going to purchase a car.

4- Have snacks in the car.  I wish I would have had a bottle of water and some snacks in the car to keep the kids busy while we sat.  I didn’t want them getting out of the car because we were in a parking lot, near a busy road.  A snack would have kept them busy!

5- Prepare by having the best tires to start!  This is where a lot of people make a mistake.  They go with the cheaper tires that just don’t last.  We always buy good-quality tires and they can be easily plugged with you do get a flat.   We don’t have to replace them often because they are long-lasting.

6- Make your tires last longer!   Cooper Tire shares extra tips that can lengthen tires’ lifespan, providing maximum handling, performance and gas mileage for vehicles. Cooper Tire recommends these procedures be practiced at least once a month and before long trips as part of drivers’ normal vehicle upkeep. You can find out more at their webpage: You can also visit and click “Dealer Locator” to find a local dealer.

Here are the tips to make it last longer: 


• Test air pressure: Under-inflation causes excessive stress on the tire, and can create irregular wear, which shortens the lifespan of tires. Proper air pressure can improve gas mileage by more than three percent, reducing gasoline consumption and expense. Reference the vehicle owner’s manual or tire placard attached to the vehicle door edge, door post, glove box door or fuel door for your tires’ correct pressure. Keep in mind, the tire pressure listed on your tires’ sidewall indicates maximum pressure.

• Check wheel alignment: Wheel alignment and balancing are important for safety and maximum mileage from tires. Alignment should be checked periodically as specified by the vehicle owner’s manual or when there is an indication of trouble such as pulling, vibration or irregular tire wear. Inspect tires at least once per month for signs of uneven wear or damage (i.e., cuts, cracks, splits, punctures, bulges and impacts). These conditions shorten tire lifespan and may cause tire damage or failure if not corrected.

• Rotate tires: Rotating tires on a regular basis ensures more uniform wear, resulting in extended life tire lifespan. Unless the vehicle owner’s manual has a specific recommendation, the rule of thumb for tire rotation is every 6,000 miles.

• Examine tread: Bald tires can skid and slide on pavement, and are more likely to be damaged by potholes and other road hazards. Tire tread should be at least 2/32 of an inch deep, and tires should be replaced immediately if worn past this measurement at any location on the tire. This can be checked with a simple test using a U.S. penny. Place the edge of the coin into the tread, with Lincoln’s head facing down. If the top of Lincoln’s head is covered by tread, there is at least a minimum acceptable amount of tread. If the top of his head is entirely visible, it is time to replace the tire.

Check out more money saving car tips here: Money saving and safety tips

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. I really need to be more prepared for a flat tire since I travel several times a year with just my son and myself to visit relatives. I used to carry a can or two of fix-a-flat, but I don’t even think I have that in my vehicle anymore. Great tips, thank you for sharing!

    1. I know- I didn’t really think about it until AFTER it happened. 🙂

  2. Great tips! I would not have stayed so calm with my kids in the car, props to you 🙂

  3. Great tips! I just had a really low tire, it wasn’t flat yet though, and I was able to drive to the gas station to fill it with air.

  4. The tips for keeping your tires in good condition are spot on. I also highly recommend that every person learn to change their own tires. It’s really not that hard. I have taught my 13-year old daughter. It’s faster than waiting for someone to come to your rescue.

  5. Happened to me today with my 24 month old. My tire had a nail in it. I had to just let him cry in his seat so I could take care of the tire cause I didn’t want him out and near the highway.

  6. I learned to change a tire at 16 when I decided to drive. Perhaps that makes me the odd ball being from the country but it was a valuable lesson I fully intend to pass on to my children {girls and boys} along side of learning to navigate the vehicle. However with that being said I also have four overly rambunctious children whom would make tire changing a nightmare if it were to occur. So I would be torn between roadside service, calling the hubby or attempting fate to change it myself. Keeping your tips in mind, preparation is the key to any situation {whenever possible}. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Great tips. Really something to think about. It’s better to be prepared.

  8. Just 2 weeks ago on our way to Spokane at about 10pm on I-90 major highway, my TPS tire light comes on. I jump out passenger side with phone as light and my husband gets out and walks around to my side where we thought problem was. My 5 year old in the car–on very busy highway and I hear the _road side_ car door shut! My heart sank-he just got out of the car because we had left him alone in the dark car and he got scared. We screamed his name-as semis are flying by- and I see my husband whipping him around to our side just angry as can be at him. It had us rattled all night at what could have happened. We had him on passenger side, but we child lock his side-he knew the other door was not child locked-they are all locked now!

  9. We really do need to start being more prepared in-case of a flat tire. My girls can be tiny drama queens sometimes and if we had a flat tire on the side of the road…. I can see it now, My oldest would be worrying and it wouldn’t take long before a fight would break out between the 2 girls! Snacks, Coloring Books/Paper, Crayons/Pen, and maybe even a magazine or 2 would probably do the trick 🙂 Thanks for the advice!

  10. This happened to us just this Christmas. I was traveling to get my son, and my husband was driving. The tire just blew while we were driving. It was really scary, but changing the tire as big rigs whizzed by rocking our mini van was even scarier!

  11. Oh goodness! I’d hate to be stranded with my kiddo in the car, but quick thinking can turn a bad situation into a good one! 🙂

  12. Great tips! I think everyone should have an emergency bag in their car. I live in West Virginia and between winters and being in a low populated place being prepared comes in handy.

  13. I have been stuck on the side of a highway many times with a flat tire. The worse time ever was a day when it was poring down rain and I had my infant daughter and young son with me. I had nothing to keep them occupied with because it had only been a five mile trip, so I thought we wouldn’t need anything. Long story short, I always try to be prepared now!