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How to Change a Flat Tire

Aug 7, 2008
Most people have had a flat tire in their lifetime. If you haven't then you must be one of the few lucky ones. Many times you can call a friend or a "good Samaritan" will stop by and help you change the tire but what if you are left to your own defenses? Could you change a flat tire yourself? If your answer is no, then read on...

Prepare Yourself

Before you find yourself on a dark, deserted street at night with a flat tire, prepare yourself. Familiarize yourself with your car. Get out the owner's manual and read the instructions on how to change a tire on your car. Locate your spare, jack, and tire tool and make sure access is not obstructed. Work the jack and find the correct placement according to your manual. It is also a good idea to carry in your trunk work gloves, a pair of wheel chocks, and a 2 or 3-foot metal pipe that will fit snugly over the end of your tire tool.

Steps to Take When You Have a Flat Tire

* At the point you think you might have a flat, drive to where the ground is level and firm and you can safely pull several feet off the side of the road. Put your car into park, engage the parking break, and put on your hazard lights.

* Get out your equipment: spare, jack, tire tool, pipe, wheel chocks, and gloves. Place the wheel chocks on both sides of the tire diagonally opposite from the flat. For example, if your rear driver-side tire is flat, secure the front passenger-side tire, and vice versa.

* Take off the hubcap and loosen lug nuts before jacking up the car. If your car is raised, the tire will spin when you try to loosen the nuts. Shops use pneumatic tools that tighten nuts and make them difficult to remove by hand, but by adding a pipe over the end of the tire tool for leverage. Remember the handy phrase: Rightie tightie, lefty loosey. Loosen the nuts, skipping every other one until you've worked your way around the wheel.

* Now it is time to jack up the car. Your car manual shows the proper positioning of the jack. Raise the car enough to get the flat off and accommodate the spare tire.

* Completely remove the lug nuts and store in a safe place and then remove the flat tire.

* Put the spare tire on with the air valve facing out and screw on the lug nuts, again alternating until you've finished the wheel.

* Lower the car and re-tighten the lug nuts using your pipe for leverage.

* Put your tools, hubcap and the flat in your trunk. Don't forget the rim and the flat tire. Now you can be on your way!
Lower the car and re-tighten the lug nuts using your pipe for leverage.

* Put your tools, hubcap and the flat in your trunk. Don't forget the rim and the flat tire. Now you can be on your way!
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