Flat tire experience with my 2005 Prius

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 properly.
-Al
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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.
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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. mark_
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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 coverage)
Tire/wheel info from my 2004's Toyota Prius Roadside Assistance Program brochure: http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/Prius-2G/message/12711 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: http://www.townfairtire.com/about_freemaintenance.shtml
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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.....
Al
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wrote:

Follow up:
As indicated above, I mailed a road hazard claim to Toyota Roadside Assistance back in July. I hadn't heard anything and was going to call them to follow up on the claim, but hadn't got to it yet. Today I received a check for the complete cost of replacing the tire.
Thanks again to mrv for reminding me of the coverage.
Al
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I noticed my used Prius didn't come with the special tool for the locking lug nut on each tire. Noticing a little asymetrical wear, I took it to a tire shop for rotation and told them, "I do not want those locking lug bolts and don't have the tool. Can you take them off?"
As for the tire, I put pressure sensing caps, 40 psi, on all of the wheels. That front tire with the unusual wear pattern has a persistent, slow leak. I have to top it off about every 6-8 weeks. Next time I'm at the shop, I'll ask them about fixing it and/or put in a can of stop-leak.
Bob Wilson
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wrote:

I had to help a friend who had a flat tire, a locking lug nut and no special tool. I called Discount Tire and the method they use (worked for me) is to select a quality socket slightly smaller that would fit over the end, then drive it on the locking lug nut. It was so rapid and inconspicuous that I have great doubts the locking lug nuts do anything to deter planned wheel thefts. The only downside is that the socket ends up jammed on the nut and has to be driven off.
Mike
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Bob Wilson <grins>
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wrote:

I was surprised how soft the locking nut is. The Craftsman socket worked just fine afterward - otherwise I would have taken it back to Sears saying "I don't know what happened. It just did that." <8^P
Mike
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On Tue, 25 Jul 2006 07:15:04 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Bob Wilson) wrote:

I think I read that stop-leak will interfere wth the pressure-sensing mechanism that it uses to tell when a tire has low pressure. You'd do better to find the leak or replace the tire.
It's in the owner's manual somewhere, I can't find it at the moment.
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