Changing A Flat Tire: 3 Tricks Even The Veterans Forget

Changing a flat tire all alone is difficult, not because the steps involved are complex, but because beginning to change a tire immediately prompts the urgent and attentive intervention of passing strangers. I’ve been shown how to change a tire several times. First by my parents who directed me in the process, and later by the helpful strangers who quickly talked through everything they did. One time, I successfully jacked up the car before being interrupted by someone who warned me that I was supposed to loosen the lug-nut. Plus, my jack was denting the bottom of my car because it was placed in the wrong spot. It wasn’t until last week, at the tender age of 30, that I finally changed a tire… completely on my own… from start to finish… without being rescued by some kindly gentleman stranger. I lucked up that day. Not only did I discover my flat tire while already at home, I took care of it in the security of my enclosed garage- away from helpful neighbors.

My first step was to find the above video on Google. To my surprise, there were steps that even my tire changing vets hadn’t done- probably forgot. So, whether or not you feel confident changing a flat tire, take a couple of minutes to watch the above video.

And, the next time you change a flat tire, don’t forget these most frequently skipped tricks: 

Wedge a brick or piece of wood beneath the flat wheel:


Before loosening the bolts, which is what most people do when changing a flat tire, you should place a wedge a thick brick or piece of wood beneath the flat tire to prevent it from turning. This, in addition to parking on a flat surface and setting the parking break, keeps the car from rolling, It’s also easier to loosen the lugs if the wheel is stationary rather than turning with each wrenching motion.

Give the car a firm nudge to make sure the jack is stable:


If you’ve placed the jack in the location suggested by your car manual and lifted the car until the wheel is a couple inches off the ground, it should be safe to operate on the car in the elevated position. Still, it couldn’t hurt to use your body weight to test the car’s stability to the setup where it would be weakest, above the jack itself. It’s a simple step, so be sure to give it a try before putting yourself at any potential risk. Only then should you proceed to completely remove the lugs and swap the flat tire for the donut or new tire.

Make sure the new tire is well secured:


After sliding the new wheel into place, you need to get the lugs fully tightened. You should go over the lugs once or twice with the tire iron. If you have a torque wrench, use it on each lug. If not, simply attaching the tire hire so that its handle is perpendicular to the ground and stepping on it like a step can certify that the lugs are as tight as possible.

As embarrassing as it is to admit, it took me 45 minutes to change that tire last week. Of course, only 15 of those minutes were spent changing the tire itself. I also had to do some research, hunt down my car user’s manual, and add air to the donut which was apparently a bit low.

Of course, if your roadside troubles need more than a quick fix or its something you just can’t handle, TalkLocal can connect to the right local towing or roadside assistance service. Visit TalkLocal or download the app on iPhone, Android.

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