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What to Do When Stranded - Quick Guide

Are you stranded on the roadside with an inoperable vehicle? Find your problem below, then follow our advice to get driving again. This guide covers:

  • How to Change a Flat Tire
  • How to Find a Towing/Roadside Assistance Provider Near You
  • What to do When a Dashboard Warning Light Appears

Prefer to speak with someone? Call (847) 816-0011 to talk with a Star Auto Authority staff member. We're happy to help you however we can when it comes to getting your vehicle moving. We serve Vernon Hills, IL, Libertyville, IL, and Lincolnshire, IL. We're also available for remote help if you'd like our guidance.

How to Change a Flat Tire

How to Change a Flat Tire in Vernon Hills, IL

Flat tires plague hundreds of drivers each year. It's no wonder, considering it only takes one nail or glass shard at just the right angle to puncture a tire and leave you stranded on the roadside. But if you have a spare tire and a few tools in the trunk, you don't have to wait for help.

What You'll Need

  • Spare Tire
  • Wrench
  • Jack

If you don't have these items, then you'll need to call for roadside assistance. Head down to the section on How to Find a Towing/Roadside Assistance Provider Near You.

Directions

We recommend following the Department of Motor Vehicle instructions on how to change a flat tire, which you can find below. For your convenience, we've also included a helpful step-by-step video from MICHELIN® that serves as a great visual aid:

  • Find a safe spot to pull over: If you're on the freeway, taking the next exit is the safest bet, even if you have to drive on a blown tire. Otherwise, pull as far onto the shoulder as possible. Don't park in the middle of a curve where approaching cars can't see you. Also, choose a flat spot; jacking up your car on a hill can be a disaster. If you have a manual transmission, leave your car in gear. Be sure to set your parking brake!
  • Turn on your hazard lights: Get the jack, wrench, and spare tire from the trunk of the car and bring them over to the tire that is flat. Use other tools or supplies, if needed.
  • Use the wrench to loosen the lug nuts: You may need to remove the hubcap. Don't remove the lug nuts at this point; simply loosen them by turning the wrench to the left (counter-clockwise). If the lug nuts are really tight, try placing the wrench on the nut and standing on the wrench arm to use your full weight on it. You can also try hitting the wrench arm with a rock.
  • Use the jack to lift the vehicle off the ground: Different car models may have different places to put the jack; consult your owner's manual for specific locations. Once the jack is securely in the correct spot, jack up the car until the tire is about 6 inches off the ground.
  • Remove the lug nuts and pull the tire off the car: Make sure to place the lug nuts in a pile that won't get scattered, and pull the tire straight toward yourself to remove it from the wheel base.
  • Place the spare on the car: Line up the lug nut posts with the holes in the spare, and push the spare all the way onto the wheel base until it can't go any farther.
  • Put on the lug nuts: Don't put them on tightly, just make sure they're on enough for the spare to stay on the car for a moment.
  • Lower the car back to the ground: Use the jack to bring the car back down to ground level. Remove the jack from underneath the car.
  • Make sure the lug nuts are tightened: With the car back on the ground, you can now tighten the lug nuts. Rather than tightening them one by one in order, start with one lug nut, tighten it about 50%, move to the opposite nut (across the circle) and tighten that one about the same amount. Keep tightening opposite lug nuts gradually in turn until each lug nut is as tight as it can be.
  • Put your flat tire and tools back in your trunk: Make sure you don't leave anything on the side of the road.

How to Find a Towing/Roadside Assistance Provider

Dashboard Warning Lights

Breaking down close to home is one thing. You likely already know the reputable shops in your area. In the event you don't know who to call, whether you're close to home or hundreds of miles away, Star Auto Authority has some tips you can utilize to increase your odds of a good experience, inoperable vehicle withstanding.

  • Provider Coverage: If you're a member of a local/nationwide provider, then look for your card and call the number listed to get help from an authorized towing facility or roadside assistance provider. You may have a plan through your auto insurance provider, AAA, or a roadside assistance program that comes with a tire purchase. Make use of these resources if you have them to save money.
  • Online Reviews: Check for reviews of an automotive service center before using them for service. High reviews and service staff who reply to comments often indicate trustworthy companies. Always use your best judgement.
  • Find a Nearby Provider: The less the tow truck needs to travel, the better for you. If you know which city you're near, search for providers close to you. If you're not sure where you're stranded, then use your cellphone to find your current location. In the worst case scenario, you may need to flag someone down to find out what's near.
  • Ask Questions: You're in a rut, but that doesn't always mean you don't have time on your side. Call around and ask about rates, time expectation, and towing equipment. For more accurate estimates, remember to ask for any tax to be included. If you have friends in the area, ask them for their recommendations

You can always contact Star Auto Authority at (847) 816-0011 for remote assistance. We'll guide you through the proper steps, and if you're in an area near to us but out of our range, we might be able to give you a recommendation.

What to Do When a Dashboard Warning Light Turns On

Dashboard Warning Lights

Your vehicle's On-Board Diagnostic System constantly monitors your vehicle for problems. When something isn't working correctly, the system should alert you via a dashboard warning light. Many alerts allow you time to get to an auto repair shop, but some problems demand immediate action. 

Keep in mind that different vehicle makes and models use different, styled symbols/words to alert you to a problem. In general, all symbols/words have enough similarity so you can tell what's wrong from one guide to the next. In the event you're ever not sure what a symbol means, consult your owner's manual.

Dashboard Warning Light Color

The color of the warning light may indicate the severity of the problem. Most modern vehicles use the following color code:

  • Red: Severe; seek service immediately
  • Yellow/Orange: Visit an auto repair shop; not severe but needs to be addressed in a timely manner
  • Green/Blue: Component is operating normally

If you ever receive warning that your vehicle is overheating, pull over immediately. Driving a vehicle at extremely hot temperatures is an easy way to ruin the engine and find yourself in need of a new car.

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Phone: (847) 816-0011
Fax: (847) 816-1295
Address: 600 Lakeview Parkway
Vernon Hills, IL 60061
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