Tractor-trailers, more commonly known as semis, are the backbone of U.S. commerce, as hundreds of thousands of trucks are on the highways and interstates every day delivering goods as quickly as possible. When a semi tire blows, the driver can lose time–and thus money–every minute she spends getting the tire changed. Changing a tire on a semi is much more difficult than on an ordinary car or truck and requires specific tools.
Drive to the nearest truck service center as soon as you realize a tire has failed. Most semi tires are reinforced to allow for extra driving on a blown tire, and truck stops are usually found every 30 to 60 miles on highways in the continental U.S. Notify your dispatcher about the problem and what you’ll be doing to fix it. If you have the right tools, and a tire has blown in a remote area, you can change a tire yourself.
Use a tool such as the EZ Way tire changer to break the bead seal on the ruined tire. Truck service centers and individual drivers use this tool and others like it to remove a blown tire without having to lift the rig. If you made it to a service center, ask an attendant for access to the tools you’ll need if you don’t have them.
Place a spare tire on the axle of the removed tire (you may need assistance due to the bulk and weight of the tire, which is around 300 pounds), using a tool such as the Accu-Turn 4560MR. Replace all the nuts you removed with the tire changer. If you have time and are at a service center, have one of the resident mechanics balance all the tires so you can ensure even wear. Notify your dispatcher again when you resume driving.