If you own an automobile (or perhaps drive on a regular basis) it is absolutely critical that you know how to change a flat or damaged tire. Likewise, aside from the technical need for making your car operational again, there are some basic road safety considerations to take into account as well.
First off, pull your auto onto a solid surface that’s as removed as possible from all sources of traffic. Next, you’re going to want to turn on your hazard lights (usually indicated on your dashboard or steering wheel by a red triangle graphic). Whatever you do, avoid soft ground or hills as this might make it much harder (or virtually impossible) to elevate the automobile or keep it balanced while actually changing the tire.
Now, if your car features an automatic transmission, put your parking brake on (autos with a manual transmission might need to place their shift stick into reverse). As an added safety precaution, you should also place a rock or brick in front of your front tires and behind your back tires.
Locate your jack, lug wrench and spare tire (they’re usually in the trunk or boot of an auto, underneath the liner / fabric in a small compartment).
Next, you’re going to want to place the jack underneath the car just behind the wheel well on the bottom of the auto. On most cars the jack is designed to fit into the grooves or “beams” that are built into the frame on the underside of the car itself.
Instead of jacking the car all the way up quickly, move it into position and make sure that it is solidly balanced and pushing up on solid metal (the beams of the car frame).
Using your lug wrench, ease each of the lug nuts counter-clockwise until they become slightly loose, but don’t remove them, a turn or two is fine for right now.
Once you’re sure that it’s as balanced as possible, begin to crank the jack harder, which will elevate the automobile. You only have to get the car high enough to bring the damaged tire completely off the ground, there’s no need for extreme height here.
Now that the car is in the air you can remove the lug nuts the rest of the way (but be sure not to lose or drop them through carelessness).
Next, place your spare tire onto the wheel hub, making sure that all of the bolts line up with the holes and so forth.
Tighten each lug nut by hand, the idea being to make each one fit firmly and snugly onto its seat. Once you’ve got all the lug nuts on, gently lower the jack, bringing the car to the ground slowly. After that’s finished you can begin tightening up the lug nuts with the wrench (while doing this make sure to alternate from one side to the other, ensuring that all lug nuts are equally tightened – this ensures proper wheel balance).
Finally, place your damaged tire back into the trunk or boot along with your jack and other tools and head over to a mechanic or tire store for additional assistance.
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