It’s the beginning plot of far too many thrillers: you’re driving on a deserted highway in the middle of the night, and get a flat tire. You pull over, assess the damage, and a lone stranger appears to ask if you need to spend the night at his cabin. Don’t get trapped in Scorsese’s next movie – we’ve got fool-proof instructions on how to get back on the road all on your own! We hope you enjoy our First Blog, “How To Change A Tire”
It all starts with having the right tools and equipment. To quickly change a tire, keep these items tucked away safely in your trunk:
- A spare tire
- A tire iron (confirm that it matches your vehicle’s lug nuts first)
- A jack. There are a lot of portable emergency jacks available that only take a tiny amount of trunk space. They’re worth the investment!
- A pair of durable gloves. This one is optional, but it never hurts to protect your hands, especially in freezing or rainy weather.
1. Safety first
Your safety is paramount, so make sure that other drivers can see you clearly. Pull into a safe clearing off the road, and turn on your hazard lights. Don’t park on a curve or a hill. If your car is standard, leave it in gear but remember to engage the parking brake.
2. Stabilize your vehicle
You’re going to be lifting your car with a jack and pulling off parts. To do this, you’ll need it to stay in one place. Use a brick or wooden wedge to block the wheels opposite where you’re working.
3. Take off the wheel cover and loosen the lug nuts
It’s crucial to do this before you lift the vehicle. Just loosen the lug nuts slightly.
4. Lift it up
You can’t get the wheel off your vehicle if it’s on the ground, so grab your scissor or hydraulic jack and hoist that tire off the ground. Place the jack under a part of the car’s frame – you should be able to find a diagram explaining the best contact points in your car’s owner’s manual. Do not, for any reason, put any part of your body underneath the vehicle.
5. Remove the lug nuts
Now’s the time to finish what you started earlier and completely remove those lug nuts. Put them somewhere safe – you don’t want them rolling off into the ditch.
6. Replace the tire
Pull of the flat tire, and replace it with the spare. Tighten the lug nuts slightly, but not all the way yet.
7. Lower your vehicle
Slowly release the jack, and lower your vehicle to the ground. When the new tire just begins to rest on the pavement, tighten the lug nuts fully and replace the wheel cover.
Store the flat tire safely in your trunk or vehicle, and return all your tools to the trunk. You’ve now successfully changed your tire and can safely be on your way!
And, if you really can’t get the hang of this, remember that there are always roadside assistance programs to help you out.