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How to Change a Flat Tire
Tire blowouts and flats: It happens to all of us at some point. The key is to know what to do when the situation arises. Every vehicle owner should learn how to properly change a tire in the event of a flat tire while help is away.
The first step to making sure you can change a tire properly is having the right tools in your trunk. Every vehicle should have a jack, tire iron and a spare tire in the trunk. Besides, it is impossible for you to change the tire and be on your way. Be sure to pay attention to jacks and tire irons and test their function beforehand so you know how to use them when a flat tire occurs. You can buy a larger tire iron than what came with your car which can give you an advantage and give you more force when trying to unscrew the tire bolts. Periodically check that your spare tire is properly inflated.
You may want to carry a brick or wooden plank in your trunk, especially if you do a lot of winter driving. You can use these items under your vehicle’s tires for traction and to prevent them from sliding in the snow.
Other items that are often overlooked are blankets and work gloves. A blanket and gloves can help keep you clean while you kneel on the floor and change the tire. You definitely don’t want to show up to a wedding or other important event covered in dirt and grease on the side of the road.
In the event of a flat tire or blowout while driving, calmly pull over to the shoulder and pull over far enough to maintain a safe distance from oncoming vehicles. Retrieve tire changing items from your trunk, including jacks, tire irons, and spare tires.
Position the jack under your car. Most cars have notches carved into the underside of the frame to let you know where to place the jack. Using jacks in these notches will help ensure your car doesn’t roll or be damaged by uneven weight distribution. You may want to use your blanket to sleep on while checking where the notches are.
If your tire has a hubcap, remove it and lay it down next to you. Use tire iron if necessary. Then use a tire iron to remove the nuts holding the flat tire in place. Again, this can be difficult, but if you have a long pipe attached to the tire iron, you may have an advantage. Keep working until all the nuts are removed. Keep the nut inside the hubcap so you don’t lose it.
Now with the nut removed, pull the tire off the wheel base towards you. Place the flat in your trunk and move it out of the way. Then place the spare tire on the wheel and screw the nut back into place. Make sure they are as tight as possible, screw them down using a tire iron.
Lower the jack and put everything back in the trunk, including the hubcap and the brick or wooden plank (if you need it). With your spare tire properly installed you can be on your way. However, spare tires are generally rated for speeds of up to 55mph for short periods, so be sure to replace them with new tires as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, knowing how to properly change a flat tire allows you to quickly get on your way when the situation arises. Make sure you have all the tire changing supplies in your trunk before any trip and you won’t need the help of a fellow motorist or a tow truck.
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