Flat tire Disaster in using the supplied jack

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by priusperson, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. priusperson

    priusperson New Member

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    I had a flat tire driving down to San Diego from Los Angeles on Thanksgiving day. It came on very sudden - no warning light whatsoever - so I didn't have a chance to get off the freeway. I don't have roadside assistance so I had to change the tire myself which shouldn't have been too bad - SO I THOUGHT!! The jack that comes with the car is USLESSS!! Once the jack began lifting the car, the handle was impossible to crank. Since you have to lift the car very high to attach the spare I had to crank it little by little with a screwdriver inserted into the crank hole. This took me almost an hour. The jack also ended up slanted (even though it started up straight) and I was afraid the car was going to fall off the jack so I slipped the spare tire under the car. Has anyone else had this problem? The tire had to be replaced since I drove on the rim. I've looked at small hydraulic jacks but most weigh around 50 - 60 lbs. That's alot of weight to be lugging around all the time. My other option was to buy a larger and sturdier crank tool - one designed for a Camry or larger car. Does anyone have any suggestions? Has anyone used the jack or do most people have roadside assistance? Thanks.
     
  2. ceric

    ceric New Member

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    Your jack from Prius may be defected.
    The jack that came with my Mazda CX9 (weighing 4600lbs) can easily lift it up w/o much effort.
    Same basic design.
     
  3. Rhino

    Rhino New Member

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    If it takes me an hour to jack up the car as you say, and the car was at some funny angle so that the jack not vertical when up, I would have given up after 20 minutes and call a tow truck.

    I am not saying it is your fault.

    But you have to give up at some point and not torture yourself.

    All jacks are flimsy things because you are expected to use it maybe once in 10 years. It certainly does not pay to have a sturdy jack. How many flats have you gotten in 10 years? So say you get one flat per 10 years. It takes you 2 hours to fix. That's only 12 minute per year. This is a small penalty vs. carrying a 40 pound jack. I rather work 12 minutes per year than carry a 40 pound jack.

    I don't have roadside assistance. If I get a flat on the freeway, I'll get out of the car fast and call a towtruck to help me from a safe distance off the road. Life is too precious to mess with changing a tire on the freeway. $100, $200. It is worth it. You can die changing a tire on the road.
     
  4. priusperson

    priusperson New Member

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    The worst part was, that is was Thanksgiving day. Nothing opened. Not even tow trucks readily available. The U.S. stops functioning on big holidays. But I did manage to pull onto a shoulder and felt fairly safe. And you're right. This was the first flat I've had to fix in almost 30 years. I went to the dealer next day and told him what happened. He told me I must have used the jack wrong. DUH! I'm almost 70 years old and I think I know how to use a jack. Thanks for the feedback.
     
  5. eyePod

    eyePod Classic Silver

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    Wow. Good story but I feel for you! I haven't used the jack. There are many ways to get roadside assistance - it seems like everyone from cell phones to car insurance sell it - must be a money maker at one throw per 10 years!! But maybe it is worth it?
     
  6. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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    I have this one, 18.25 lbs, 2 ton capacity, $29.95. This add is from Sears but I got mine at Wal-Mart for the same price. Works great. I also picked up a long inexpensive torque wrench I use as a lug wrench. Throw in a socket (17mm l think), a pair of gloves, flashlight, and a board to set the jack on in case your in the dirt and your good to go.

    GM Performance Parts 2 Ton Hydraulic Trolley Jack
     
  7. PA Prius

    PA Prius Active Member

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    Is the GIII jack different than the one with my '04 GII? I use mine a number of times each year to rotate the tires and switch from summer to winter tires. It has worked well.

    PA P
     
  8. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    That doesn't sound right. I took all 4 wheels off a couple weeks ago to wash the inside and do an application of Zaino AIO and Clear Seal and it only took me minutes to do each.
     
  9. DavidA

    DavidA Prius owner since July 2009

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    Sorry to hear of your flat tire.

    A little more than a month ago, road debris on I-80 destroyed one of my 17" Toyo Proxes'. Luckily, I was able to pull off at a rest stop in time before all air was lost.

    The jack supplied with my Prius worked fine. I needed a flashlight to find the two notches under the car to locate the proper spot in the dark. I had no difficulty raising the car such as you seemed to have. This was a rear right flat.

    My only complaint is that no tire chock is supplied in the kit to keep the car from lurching forward/back when jacked up. I've had cars (non-Toyota's) where part of the kit served as a tire chock.

    That flat cost me just under $500 which included the tire ($285 with dealer labor included), two night's stay in Ohio hotels while they located an OEM tire from Michigan (irony here is Ohio is known as the car tire state), and a couple extra days of food. I was able to extend my road trip and vacation by those extra 48 hours though. :D
     
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  10. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    When rotating tires last month, I did find this jack to be the hardest to crank of any car jack I've ever had. But it wasn't nearly as bad as your experience.
     
  11. Wavey

    Wavey New Member

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    I recently put on my winter tires myself, so I have experience with the jack. Mine acted like you said in that it was very tight - I was able to use it with the included crank, but I was working hard to turn it with gloves on. One thing I've done is to put two small pieces of 2x4's in with the spare. On level ground you can fit both of them under the jack - it'll save how much cranking you need to do though it won't make the cranking easier. I don't know if more grease in the right spot is the answer, but it sure felt tight. Our Subaru has a nearly identical jack but it's a lot easier to turn (maybe because it's been used a lot more...)
     
  12. Rhino

    Rhino New Member

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    I think those of you rotating tires have an easier time because the tire was not flat to begin with. So the car is sitting higher.

    I suspect the car came with scissor type jacks (not sure I am using the proper term). I haven't looked at mine. This type of jack is very inefficient when the car is very low - like when you have a flat. You can tell by looking at the jack.

    Also, if you have a flat, you have more inches of jacking to do so. First you have to jack the car back to normal height - the hardest part because of jack inefficiency at this height. Then you have to jack the car more to removable height. The total amount of work is increased 2x or more.

    It is easier if you are just changing tires because you just have to jack from normal height to changing height.
     
  13. Cacti

    Cacti Poleikleng

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    I apply lithium white grease to the area of the crank that you insert into the jack. This avoids the metal-to-metal contact when you raise the car and will ease the operation of the crank.
     
  14. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    I've used the Prius supplied tools a couple of times without a problem. I wouldn't care to work on all 4 tyres at at time this way, but I am lazy.
     
  15. PA Prius

    PA Prius Active Member

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    I agree, it is a bit of a workout when I rotate tires. But hey, other people pay a monthly fee to do this kind of thing at the gym. Do you think anyone would pay me so they could rotate my tires? :)

    PA P
     
  16. autoxic

    autoxic Commuter

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    I've used the standard jack on my 2004 Prius for over 20 oil changes, without any problems. HOWEVER, it is a little difficult, and takes arm, wrist, and hand strength to turn the handle, so you might need to practice before another emergency situation occurs. It may be more difficult to jack up the car on the side of the road, on an uneven surface, with traffic flying by.

    You must position and align the jack carefully to avoid tilting as you raise your car. Be absolutely sure you are using the correct jack point under the side of your car. There is an indentation to indicate the proper spot, but ask a mechanic for help if you are not confident in this.

    If you plan to go under the car, use a jack stand or something sturdier than the OEM jack to hold your car up.
     
  17. priusperson

    priusperson New Member

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    THank you for this!! I think you are absolutely right. My tire was so flat the rim was on the ground. And you are correct in saying you have to jack it up much higher than normal to slip the spare on. I noticed that when the car is jacked up, the brake/wheel thingy hangs down and it makes it necessary to jack the car up at least 6 more inches than normal. I'm going to buy a hydraulic jack to keep for the next time. Hopefully, there won't be a next time but one never knows. Thanks again.
     
  18. cohland

    cohland New Member

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    Your message suggests that you did NOT use the jack handle (take a look in your owner's manual, Section 5.2, "Steps to take in an emergency") that is supplied with the car. The jacking handle, which is made for the job, supplies enough leverage to make jacking the car easier, MUCH easier than a screwdriver, and does indeed work.
     
  19. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Considering how low the car is when it has a flat tire, you will need a hydraulic floor jack (not bottle jack) to fit under the car. And that will weigh quite a bit.
     
  20. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Or a shovel. :rolleyes:

    Tom
     
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