How To Change Tires
If you are a driver of a motor vehicle, then there are some things that you should know how to do, even if you are “just a woman”, because of course, there is no such thing as “just” a woman. Anyway, all drivers should have a few mechanic skills, because you just never know when you are going to be in a situation where skills like this will come in really handy, such as when you are stranded at the side of the road with a flat tire. For some people, something like this can actually seem like the end of the world, especially if they are in the middle of nowhere with no one to call for help. But if you know what you are doing, you can be back on the road and heading to your destination in a matter of minutes, because it will take you no time at all to get that tire changed.
Tools You Will Need
You should always have a small tool kit in your vehicle, because you never know when you are going to need one of those tools, such as when you have a flat tire.
The tools that you will need to change a flat tire are:
- a jack
- a lug wrench
- a flat head screw driver
- a flashlight
- a blanket or plastic mat
- a rain poncho
- a spare tire
Read Your Owner’s Manual
Any time you get a new vehicle, you should take a few minutes to go over the owner’s manual to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the vehicle. Make sure that you learn about little things such as changing tires, which should be covered in the manual. If you do not read this little book, you may find yourself at quite a loss if you end up on the side of the road with a flat tire. Don’t forget to take the car to a certified mechanic occasionally too, just to make sure that your tires are still in good shape. This will probably be suggested in your owner’s manual. Follow all of the suggestions that are in the manual, including which tools you should always have in the car with you.
Changing a Flat Tire
Now that you have read your owner’s manual and have all of the tools that you will need, you will be totally prepared when the time comes that you are stuck at the side of the road with a flat tire. It is not all that difficult to change a tire; you just need to have the right tools and a place to do it.
Here are some steps for changing a tire that will help make the process a lot quicker and easier for you:
- Find the right spot:
Even if you have a flat tire, you may still have to drive a little bit before you can find the right place to pull over and do the work. If you are on the highway, you really should drive until you find an exit and are able to pull off and away from all of the traffic. If there is no exit nearby, find the best spot on the shoulder to pull over, where you can be assured of having plenty of room to work, and not risk getting hit by oncoming traffic. Make sure that you find a flat piece of ground, and never park on a hill if you are going to change a tire. Even if you are not on a hill, make sure that you still set the parking brake to be safe. If you have emergency flares, set them up around the area, especially if it is night time.
- Get your stuff: Now you need to get everything you will need to change the tire. Pull out the spare tire, as well as your tool kit. Make sure you have everything, so you don’t have to get up part way through the job to look for the right tools.
- Loosen the nuts: Before you can actually start working, you need to take the lug wrench and loosen all of the nuts around the wheel. Turn the wrench counter-clockwise to do this.
- Jack the car: Once the wheel nuts are loose enough, you will have to jack up the car in order to be able to change the tire. Placement of the jack can be tricky, so it is a good idea that you read the owner’s manual to find out exactly where you need to place the jack to avoid doing any damage to your vehicle. Once you have it in place, jack up the vehicle so that the tire is about six inches from the ground.
- Remove the wheel: Take off the nuts by hand, and place them where you will be able to easily find them again. (If you have pockets, put them there).
- Put on the new wheel: Once you have removed the old flat tire, you need to put the new one in its place. Slide it up and on the mount, then put the lug nuts back on, first by hand, then tighten them with the lug wrench. Lower the vehicle back to the ground, then remove the jack and you can get back on the road.
- Other tires: If you have more than one flat tire, you are going to have to repeat the process and change the other tire(s). You will probably only have one spare, so you may have to try and get your vehicle to a service station, or find someone who can drive you to the nearest tire store, then bring you back to your vehicle.
This is just a temporary fix. Once you have changed your tires, especially if you are not experienced doing so, you should take your vehicle in to a licensed mechanic as soon as you can. They will be able to check to make sure that you have done everything properly, or put on a proper tire if all you had was a spare. They will also be able to tighten those lug nuts even more so they will not come loose on you.
Andrei Zakhareuski is the founder of Find-a-driving-school.ca. He has been writing for beginner Canadian drivers for several years.
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