1. A fun country drive with a friend. WAIT – that NEVER happens to me.
2. A LONG drive to a HUGE sample sale in an unfamiliar city. – THAT’S better.
Traffic on Route 95 (the highway) is backed up and the sale ends in 2 hours. I’m looking at more than an hour stuck in traffic so I take the next exit. The small down road is full of pot holes and I hit one. BANG – my tire blows out. I pick up my iPhone to call AAA and there’s NO SERVICE. YIKES. I suppose I should know how to change a tire…BUT I DON’T! For me changing a tire has always been something I’ve wanted to learn to do “JUST IN CASE.”
At least I know what a jack and a lug wrench are.
Now here’s how to use them.
1. As SOON as you realize that you’ve got a flat – PULL OVER. You’ll feel the pull, hear the “thump, thump, thump” and know something is wrong. If this is a DIY tire change – FIND A SPOT THAT’S FLAT. You don’t want any slope. You’ll also want to make sure that there aren’t cars coming close.
2. Put on the emergency brake.
3. Open the trunk and find the spare. It might be one of those small “donut” tires and might look different from the one you’re removing. Also find the jack and lug wrench (the lug wrench looks like a big “X”). Some tires also have a locking nut to unlock the tire, mine is in my glovebox. If you don’t see it in the trunk, check there.
4. If you’ve got a blanket or towel, take that out as well. You don’t want to get your new white slacks dirty from kneeling on the road.
5. If you’ve got one of those safety kits, take out the reflector and set it up so that oncoming cars can see you.
6. BEFORE YOU JACK UP THE CAR, you’re going to use the wrench to loosen the nuts. If you don’t do it BEFORE jacking the car up, the tires are just going to spin & you’ll never get the darn things off. It’s going to take ALL of your strength – so if you have to use your foot or sit on it to move them – DO IT! Remember righty tighty, lefty loosey.
7. Here’s the part that scares me. Make sure to place the jack in the right spot. You don’t want it to hit under the floorboards. Get under the car and look for a NOTCH where the jack goes (your car manual will show where it is if you need help).
8. Jack it up JUST ENOUGH to get the tire off. A few inches off of the ground is all you need (just enough so that there is an inch or so to get the tire off).
9. Finish removing the lug nuts (put them in your pocket or organize them so you don’t lose one) and take the tire off.
10. Put the spare on, by lining it up with the bolts. PUSH IT ON AS FAR AS YOU CAN.
11. Put the lug nuts back on. Don’t tighten them, put them on loosely. You don’t want to knock the jack out of place and have everything come crashing down.
12. Lower the jack SLOWLY!
13. Once the tire is on the ground you can continue to tighten up the nuts. Again, use your body and foot and push DOWN on the wrench to get them as tight as you possibly can..
14, Put your jack, wrench and tire into the trunk and get to a service station ASAP. You don’t want to drive on the spare too long. Hopefully they’ll be able to patch the tire for you.