Something not many people think about today is a flat tire. This holds true until you get one, of course. I will provide some easy instructions and tips on how to make changing a flat simple and safe.
It does not matter what type of vehicle you drive, at one point you will most likely experience a flat tire while driving. With the modern day technology and the ever-present cell phone, a call to AAA is always a good option. The problem may come when you are out of a signal range and cannot place a call. What to do? Follow my instructions and you will be back on the road in no time with some safe and easy tips.
Equipment Needed for Changing Tire Easily
The first and most important thing is to make sure your vehicle has the proper equipment in place for a tire change. Most newer vehicles have an area that contains all the needed tools. Some will have a hard plastic case and some will have a bag. The jack it self will or should be close to the spare tire. Some exceptions to this rule will be vehicles equipped with run flat tires. (For example, a 2008 model Toyota Sienna that comes equipped with run flat tires will not have a spare. This was not a smart move on Toyota’s part because even as run flat tires work in most cases, in some cases they don’t. I have seen the side wall blow out of a run flat and render the vehicle un-drivable.)
Tools required are a jack and jack handle, which also incorporates the lug wrench in most cases. Additionally, you may want to purchase a roadside safety kit that has safety triangles. Keep in mind that the most important thing is to check air pressure in the spare tire. Always check the spare at same time the regular tires on the vehicle are checked.
Pull Over to Safe Location Before Changing Tire
When you get a flat tire on your vehicle, it’s critical you find a safe place to pull over — ideally off of the main road and into a parking lot or side street where there is a minimum of traffic. Make sure you find the most level area to park the car and turn the emergency flashers on. If you are in a high traffic area and unable to pull off the road, pull as far onto the shoulder as possible.
Easy Instructions on Loosening Lug Nuts
After removing all of the required equipment such as the spare tire, jack, and accessories, it is time to loosen the lug nuts. Using the lug wrench end of the jack handle or a separate lug wrench, loosen each lug nut, but do not completely remove them.
Every car manufactured today has a lifting point for the provided jack to mate to. The owner’s manual should show the jack points clearly. This is the safest place to jack the vehicle from. There may be an instruction label near the location of the spare tire that can be referred to. Once the jack is placed in the correct position, raise the jack with the provided jack handle. After the vehicle begins to rise, but before the tire is off the ground, shake the car slightly to make sure the jack is not going to tip while jacking the vehicle up further. Continue jacking the vehicle until the tire is off the ground. Do not ever place any part of your body under a vehicle while changing a tire. Keep yourself in a position to move away from the vehicle in case the jack may fail or the vehicle shifts position. My advice is to carry a jack stand in your vehicle for added safety (this is not always an option as there is limited room for a jack stand in most vehicles).
Removing Lug Nuts and Changing Tire
It is now safe for you to remove the lug nuts and flat tire. Install the spare and start all the removed lug nuts by hand at least two turns. Continue to tighten the lug nuts one at a time in a star pattern until the spare tire is seated to the hub.
Lowering Jack Safely After Tire Change
At this point, lower the jack and remove it from the underside of the vehicle. Using the lug wrench, continue to tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern until tight. You should use as much force in the opposite direction as you used to remove the lug nuts. Now you can put all the equipment and flat tire in the trunk. Don’t worry about putting everything away at this time. You do not want to drive on a temporary spare any longer than it takes to have the regular tire repaired or replaced.
Issue with Hole Sealant Substance in Flat Tire
Using Fix-A-Flat is OK in an emergency but be advised. Fix-A-Flat is a liquid substance that is designed to seal a hole. The problem with Fix-A-Flat is that the remaining liquid has no where to go and will cause an imbalance problem of the tire it is used in, thus cannot be corrected by balancing. If must Fix-A-Flat, ensure you have the tire properly repaired as soon as possible.
The average person will find that changing a tire by replacing it with a spare is easier with these instructions. When a driver is in an area help isn’t readily available, the above tips will serve as a beneficial guide.
Reminder: have your air pressure checked at least during every oil change and rotate tires every 7,500 miles for best life.