Pothole season is officially upon us, and it seems that they can change an entire commute overnight. A flat tire can ruin your drive, but it doesn’t need to ruin your day. Having a stable solution until you can get your hands on a new tire and check for damage will ensure that you can still go on with your day. Here are the steps you should take to change your tire.
Find a stable area to change your tire.
Have a solid, level surface to stop your car from rolling. Park as far away from traffic as possible and turn on your emergency flashers. Apply your parking brake as well. If possible, put a heavy object in front of both sets of tire to stop your car from moving- like rocks or pieces of concrete.
Take out your spare tire and jack.
Place the jack under the frame near the tire. Be sure that it is on the metal portion of your car’s frame. Many cars have molded plastic on the bottom and if you don’t place the jack in the right spot, it will crack the plastic when you start lifting. You owner’s manual should have the correct location to place it if you aren’t sure. Raise the jack until it is supporting, but not lifting the car.
Remove the hubcap and loosen the nuts.
With your car supported, but not lifted, by the jack, take the hubcap off and loosen the nuts, but don’t take them off. Use the wrench that came with you car or a standard cross wrench. The right size will fit over the nut but won’t rattle when you turn it. Be sure to be turning it counter clockwise— remember righty-tighty lefty-loosey.
Lift the car off the ground and remove the nuts.
Now lift the car up enough to remove to tire and remove the nuts. Make sure that your car remains stable as you lift it.
Remove the tire and replace it.
Remove the tire and replace it with the new one. Place the spare on the hub and tighten the nuts until they are all snug. Tighten them as much as possible with the wrench. Wait until they are all on before fully tightening them to ensure that the tire is balanced.
Lower the car and store the damaged tire.
Lower your car until it is just supported by the jack and then tighten the nuts again. Then fully lower the car and tidy your workspace, storing your jack and damaged tire. The tire can be brought to a mechanic to either be fixed or replaced.
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