Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Africa > Africa
Reload this Page >

Practice Fixing Flat Tires Alone?

Practice Fixing Flat Tires Alone?

Old Jan 16, 20, 11:48 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 173
Practice Fixing Flat Tires Alone?

Thinking of doing a driving trip through Namibia later this year, and I doubt I'll have much success convincing any of my friends to join... I've heard that flat tires are common and that a traveler should be prepared to change them. Any tips for getting practice with this before leaving home? I'd hate for my first experience to be on the side of the road in, perhaps, the middle of nowhere
18wheeler_vanrekt is online now  
Old Jan 17, 20, 2:52 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: somewhere between Europe and Africa, from SFO
Programs: A3*G, EY Silver
Posts: 7,787
Fixing flats by yourself is not that easy. Changing a tire is super easy - just don't drop the car on ya. I'm sure you can find a youtube video or ten for that.

Do rent a 4x4 in Namibia, as the unsealed (non-paved) roads make spinning out and crashing very easy (learned that the hard way ).

Enjoy - it's a beautiful country!
Palal is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 9:37 am
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeMandarin Oriental Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Seat 1A, Juice pretty much everywhere, Mucci des Coins Exotiques
Posts: 31,610
Driving around Africa flat's are somewhat common so you will find that most any petrol station has people there who fix flats. But if you are out in the middle of nowhere you should have a spare and know how to change a tire. I visually check my tires most every day when driving around Africa. Sometimes you can run over a nail or something and get a slow leak.

I'm old so I'm from an era where every man knew how to change a tire. But if this is new to you, then you should maybe practice or talk to an old man.
T8191 and nancypants like this.
stimpy is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 2:07 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 729
Given your userame (but no indication of location), perhaps visiting a garage at home and buying folks lunch/a flat of beer, might open the door to spending an afternoon in a garage seeing (or even trying) it in action. Depending on the circumstances, I've heard of folks carrying two spares (though I think that's a bit of overkill). Also, if you can, make sure your hire vehicle has a "real" spare - an actual fifth wheel/tire - and not an emergency donut that is of limited use to just get you to the next station.

Even after my mother passed her driving test and had her license, my grandfather would not let her drive until she could change the tire on her car. Jack up car, remove tire, replace tire, lower car. According to my mom, she wept through the entire process but succeeded. As a result, I was required to do the same when (50+ years ago), I got my license. The same grandfather also taught me (though not on the side of Namibian road) how to patch a tire and I'll forever be thankful.
jsnydcsa is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 4:16 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Programs: statusless these days
Posts: 19,645
Build some muscle. Short tire irons are a PITA and the lug nuts might be rusted on real good.
nancypants likes this.
YVR Cockroach is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 6:42 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: YYZ/MGA
Programs: AA 1MM Lifetime Gold, AA Platinum, WS Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Gold
Posts: 7,586
Even those little donut temporary spares have to be changed if a flat happens. People do not know how to change a tire? Holy cow. The instructions are in the owner's manual and the jack usually has pictures on it.

Bring a couple cans of the inflate a tire goop that seals small holes and reinflates the tires.
ricktoronto is offline  
Old Jan 19, 20, 10:02 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: somewhere between Europe and Africa, from SFO
Programs: A3*G, EY Silver
Posts: 7,787
Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post
Build some muscle. Short tire irons are a PITA and the lug nuts might be rusted on real good.
That's what feet are for
Palal is offline  
Old Jan 19, 20, 12:10 pm
  #8  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Programs: statusless these days
Posts: 19,645
Originally Posted by Palal View Post
That's what feet are for
While certainly a good way to apply the required force, be careful lest you slip and the iron either flies off in an unintended direction and/or you cause yourself an injury (especially irons with pointy/sharp ends).
YVR Cockroach is offline  
Old Jan 19, 20, 7:24 pm
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeMandarin Oriental Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Seat 1A, Juice pretty much everywhere, Mucci des Coins Exotiques
Posts: 31,610
Originally Posted by Palal View Post
That's what feet are for
That's what WD40 is for.
stimpy is offline  
Old Jan 19, 20, 9:49 pm
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Programs: statusless these days
Posts: 19,645
Originally Posted by stimpy View Post
That's what WD40 is for.
Only if the lug nut is open both end. Details, details......
YVR Cockroach is offline  
Old Jan 20, 20, 1:06 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Programs: OZ Diamond, KE Morning Calm Club, AS MVP, EK Skywards Blue, HHonors Gold, IHG Gold Elite
Posts: 366
I drive regularly between Cape Town and Luanda. If you have an all terrain tyre you are unlikely to get more than one puncture on a decent length trip. In five return trips last year, I got one puncture and that was in Angola.

The roads in Namibia are excellent when compared to Angola. On the gravel tracks you just should not drive too fast.

I do suggest arranging two spares if you possibly can. It is also good to have a piece of metal tube to get some leverage on the lugs.

The great thing with Africa is however remote the area you encounter car trouble, you will normally find someone appears fairly quickly and is very happy to help you out if your car breaks down! They normally appreciate a bit of cash in return.
B747-437B and nancypants like this.
cargueiro is offline  
Old Jan 29, 20, 1:00 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Body in Downtown YYZ, heart and mind elsewhere
Programs: UA 50K, refugee from AC E50K.
Posts: 4,992
Visited Namibia twice and got a flat tire once. My opinion is that changing a tire is straightforward but it does require a bit of muscle power getting the vehicle jacked up and turning the lug nuts on the tire. Getting a flat tire repaired / buying a new tire anywhere in Namibia is easy.

When I got my flat in Namibia, the hardest part I had to deal with was getting the jack positioned properly under the vehicle (Toyata Hilux). When you jack a Hilux (the only vehicle I'd recommend renting in Namibia), you place the jack directly under the axle which involves crawling under the truck to get everything in the right position. The challenge I had was that it was hot outside. And the ground was hot. Like really hot! Like it burned to touch the ground with bare skin. Getting the jack in place was painful.

But it all worked out in the end.

It's important on Namibian roads to be mindful of both tire pressure and your speed. On the gravel roads, it's best to be no more than 1.8 bar tire pressure (1.6 better) and keep your speed under 80km/h. If you do that, you should be fine.

Enjoy Namibia! It's a great country to visit!
RCyyz is offline  
Old Jan 29, 20, 4:42 pm
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeMandarin Oriental Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Seat 1A, Juice pretty much everywhere, Mucci des Coins Exotiques
Posts: 31,610
Originally Posted by RCyyz View Post
When I got my flat in Namibia, the hardest part I had to deal with was getting the jack positioned properly under the vehicle (Toyata Hilux). When you jack a Hilux (the only vehicle I'd recommend renting in Namibia),
Or a Mitsubishi Sportero which is basically the same as a Hilux. And I agree that you should not get anything smaller or with less ground clearance. And the manual tranny is better in case you get stuck in the mud. I beat the heck out of my Mitsubishi for over a year in Uganda and it never failed me.
stimpy is offline  
Old Jan 31, 20, 12:34 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Programs: OZ Diamond, KE Morning Calm Club, AS MVP, EK Skywards Blue, HHonors Gold, IHG Gold Elite
Posts: 366
Due not only to the heat but also the dust, it is sensible to carry a large piece of cardboard or a mat of some kind for crawling under a vehicle.

Normally I send the kind soul who turns up looking to help fix the car to get under and give him a few bucks after.
cargueiro is offline  
Old Jan 31, 20, 1:14 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: NT Australia
Programs: QF WP
Posts: 3,065
Iím a strong advocate for the piece of pipe trick, cardboard or carpet and (ideally) 2 jacks rather than one- as all my flats have been with the vehicle in a god awful place where one jack couldnít get it physically high enough to get the wheel off

of course if there are other people around you can often borrow one but I tend to carry my own second bottle jack if I know Iíll be in an unfamiliar 4wd

also, please make sure you have a decent stash of water. I know Australia is not Namibia but theyíre similar enough. Iíve lost count of the number of tourists Iíve had to rescue whoíve had a very minor mechanical issue and wound up critically ill cos theyíve only got a piddly little bottle of water on them
nancypants is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: