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Sunday, April 5, 2015
How to replace a car tire yourself
Anyone who has driven a car for a long enough time has experienced a flat tire from time to time. It can be an awful experience for a variety of reasons if you are not prepared. For one, it can be expensive to have someone else come and replace the tire. It can also be dangerous to do you yourself if you do not know what you are doing. The other problem is that it could happen somewhere where help just is not available so the best option is to have the ability and the knowledge to do it yourself even if under normal circumstances someone else would get the job done. This will rid yourself of the feeling of helplessness and give you confidence to make long trips even through the back roads.
1. Have a spare tire on hand and a jack set to do the heavy lifting. Having all that in the trunk and you are ready to change a tire!
2. Always think safety first as any car is a heavy piece of machinery capable of crushing anybody. So make sure that the car is parked on a flat, stable and hard surface. Avoid changing tires on hills or the grass on the side of the road. Also with safety in mind turn on your hazard lights so traffic knows you are there and to watch out.
3. Always apply the parking brake and if in an automatic transmission car put the car into park and for a standard either have the car in first or reverse both are acceptable. Since we are thinking safety first also put a stopper in the front and the back tires, this can be a variety of objects from a large rock to a pare wheel. Once all that is done you can be sure the car will not roll over you.
4. Place the jack near the tire that you are going to change. It is very important to make sure that the jack makes contact with the metal portion of the car’s frame. This will make sure that, most importantly, the car does not fall on you and also that you do not crack any part of your car.
5. Raise the jack until it is supporting but not yet lifting the car. This way you can make sure that it is secure. Now remove the hub cap and loosen the nuts by turning counterclockwise, do not take them all the way off just break the resistance, having the wheel on the ground means that you are turning the nuts and not the wheel. You should use the wrench that came with your car but in its absence a standard cross wrench should do the trick. It is going to take a lot of force to break the nuts free you may have to use your body weight for this one and do not be shy about a few well place stomps.
6. Pump or crank the jack, depending on which type you have, to lift the car off the ground. At this time you will remove the nuts all the way. You are now ready to remove the tire. Still thinking about safety first place the flat tire under the car so in the event that the jack does fail it will fall on the tire instead of you.
7. Place the spare tire on the hub. Make sure that you align the rim of the spare tire with the wheel bolts, then put on the nuts. First tighten the the nuts by hand until you feel too much resistance to go any further, then use the wrench to start tightening the nuts. It is important not to tighten any one nut all at once, it is better to go in a star pattern around the wheel tightening each one a little more each time. Avoid using too much force at this time as it could knock the jack out of place.
8. Lower the car almost to the ground but not quite putting the full weight on the tire. At this time tighten the nuts as much as you possibly can. Lower the car to the ground and replace the hub cap.
You have now successfully and safely changed a tire. Put the old tire and the jack set in the trunk and you are on your way again, well on your way to get a proper tire put on the car as driving around too long on a spare is not a good idea.