Saturday, January 13, 2007

How To Change A Tire 101

(By special request from sister Susannah the new age nun who is 39 and has never had a flat)

1. Make sure you know where your owner's manual is - usually in your glove compartment. You might need it. Always refer to it. That's why it's called an owner's manual.

2. Know where your spare is. In most passenger cars it is in the trunk. In pickups it's under the truck bed.

3. Know where your jack is and how to get it out and use it. This varies from vehicle to vehicle but jacks require a lifting thingy and another thingy to get the lifting thingy to lift. Not rocket science but you should know where it is and how to work it.

These are the primary requirements. Now onto changing a tire.

You are on a road driving. When the tire goes flat you will know it. Driving and steering becomes difficult but also there will be a distinct flopping noise. Pull over carefully and slowly. If it is dark make sure you are in a well-lit area if possible. DO NOT try to drive 5 or 10 miles on a flat - you will ruin stuff like rims and axles. Whatever they are.

Once at a stop you must first and most importantly apply your emergency brake. This is crucial. If you try to jack up the car and the emergency brake isn't on the vehicle will roll back.

Next, before you jack up the vehicle, make sure you loosen the lug nuts. If you jack it up and then try to loosen you won't be able to and will have wasted time and effort.

Once lug nuts are loose position the jack in the proper place for your vehicle. If you don't know where this is consult your owner's manual which is (as previously mentioned) in your glove compartment. The jack might also have this information on it.

Carefully jack up your vehicle. You will want to make sure you can at least run your hand between the flat tire and the ground but still you will have to jack it up more because you will be replacing the flat with a tire full of air - requires more space.

Remove the loosened lug nuts. Remove the tire.

Replace the flat tire with the spare. Again, you might have to jack up the vehicle a bit more to accommodate a spare with air. Put the lugnuts back on and hand-tighten.

Un-jack the vehicle until the jack comes out. Use the thingy to tighten the lugnuts.

Put all of the crap back into your trunk.

Make sure you know whether you are on a real tire or a doughnut. If a doughnut you need to know you should only go about 40 MPH and get to a service center for a new tire. (Doughnuts look like little fake tires)

If you have never done this I recommend that you practice in the comfort of your own driveway. Highly recommend this. Especially if you travel with children.

Before yesterday the last time I changed a flat was when I was in full business attire and heels and on my way to the refinance on my house after my divorce. Even in full business attire and heels I was able to do it. You can too. Your hands will get really dirty and it isn't pleasant but it is so easy. Just make sure you loosen the lugnuts before you jack it up.

Hope this helps, and if I've missed anything please advise.


Susannah said...

THANKS! As I read it, I felt the same feeling I have when I sit on the couch and watch an exercise video. It ALMOST feels like I'm there doing it myself...sort of...well...not really...I lived vicariously through you as I imagined you changing a's that?

Anonymous said...

To prevent dirty hands you could of course put a set of gloves in your car. But this requires preparation, don't wait until you actually have a flat as chances are that no gloves will be available at that time.

gaga said...

Another comment I received off-blog was to stress that if you get a flat on a busy street or highway do pull off at the next exit even if it means riding on the rim for a while. A new rim is far less expensive than an extended hospital stay or a funeral.