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Flat tire experience with my 2005 Prius

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Posted by A Sherman on July 23, 2006, 1:57 am

A couple of days ago I got a flat tire for the first time in many years.
Here's what I found and the lessons I took away:

I was traveling on a six lane highway when I noticed a loud flapping noise.
At first I thought it was not my car, but possibly a loud muffler from a
vehicle in the next lane.  Then I heard a clunk {whatever had punctured my
tire had become detached} and then silence.

I didn't detect any handling problem but decided I'd better pull over and
check.  I found the left rear was completely flat.  I did not have any major
problem changing to the spare, but I was very happy that my flat happened on a
clear sunny day.  It would have been much more difficult  had it been a dark,
stormy night.

There are two recommendations that I would make:

The first is to expect that a flat might not cause a noticeable change in the
Prius' handling characteristics.  Granted, I was on a straight highway and did
not attempt any major maneuvers.

The second advice is to take a dry run for tire changing before you need it.
It is much easier to determine which tools you will need and where to find
them when you have good daylight.  I also found that the jacking points were
not obvious. There were no diagrams or aids near the jack or spare.   I
actually got out the owners manual to be sure I had positioned the jack


Posted by Bill on July 23, 2006, 3:43 am

You are correct, of course, and I shamefully admit I've never laid eyes on
my spare.  I'll try to remember to find it, the tools and the jacking points
tomorrow.  I have used the eye bolt.  I was pleased to discover that the
bumper knockout is on a tether.

Posted by =?iso-8859-1?Q?mark=5Fdigital= on July 23, 2006, 9:50 am

Not all but some drivers don't know enough to stay away from a stranded
motorist. Big rigs pass by so fast and so close. My advice is if you want to
change your flat be sure to have your hazard lights on. Don't take chances
on anything but a level hard surface. If you have passengers it's best to
call for help unless maybe they can wait where they are least likely to be
harmed. Definitely not inside the vehicle.

Posted by mrv@kluge.net on July 23, 2006, 4:25 pm

A Sherman wrote:

3.  When you are checking your tire pressure (which you should do
periodically, especially every time you rotate your tires (keeping the
+2psi difference in front)), you should check the pressure in the spare
tire.  You don't want your spare to be flat when you need it!

4.  US 2001-2005 Prius came with 3 years/36,000 miles of Toyota
Roadside Assistance, which includes tire and wheel road hazard
warranty/insurance.  (Note that the complimentary Toyota Roadside
Assistance was discontinued for 2006 US Prius, but you can still get it
if you purchase the a Toyota Prepaid Maintenance package.)

http://www.toyota.com/html/tcuv/assistance.html  (description of

Tire/wheel info from my 2004's Toyota Prius Roadside Assistance Program
I'm not sure if the phone numbers there are still correct, though.

5.  Some independent tire shops will do flat repair for free, on any
tire (not just ones you bought there). If you're in New England, see:

Posted by A Sherman on July 28, 2006, 2:22 am

Thanks for reminding me.  I had forgotten that road hazards are covered.  I
had to go back to the tire dealer and have my invoice reprinted with the VIN
and remaining tread depth added.  I will now send it in and see what I get
back under the warrantee.

While the tire guy was measuring the tread (on the opposite wheel), I had him
check the wear at the edges.  The tire was certainly wearing more at the edges
that in the center (as has been reported by others).  I had been inflating the
tires to Toyota's 35/33 psi.  Today I pushed the pressure up to 42/40 as
others have suggested.....


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