Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fixing a Flat Tire

Don't always depend calling AAA or another service when you get a flat tire. But smart women still need to know how to change a tire, just in case. Here's how:
  1. Get off the road, put car in park, set the parking brake, put your hazard lights on, and turn off the car. Gather a jack, lug wrench or tire iron, spare tire and your owner's manual. Put reflective triangles about 5 car lengths behind you to give other drivers plenty of notice. Wedge two pieces of wood beneath the wheel that's positioned diagonal to your flat tire.
  2. Pop off the hubcap with the flat end of your lug wrench to reveal the lug nuts that hold the tire on. (Some nuts have plastic covers that you remove by hand). Place lug wrench on a nut with the handle facing to the left, and then stand on the wrench handle. Loosen nut a few more turns but don't remove it yet. Do it with each of the lug nuts.
  3. Position the jack where the manual instructs (some have slots by each tire,) and expand it until tire is just off the ground.
  4. Remove the lug nuts by hand and put them in your purse or pocket, where they won't get lost. Slide the flat tire off.
  5. Line up the spare with the lugs and slide the tire on. Screw the lug nuts on loosely by hand - don't apply too much pressure, which could rock your car enough to make it slip off the jack. Lower the jack until the car is resting on the ground.
  6. Tighten each lug nut with the lug wrench, handle facing toward the right this time. Step on the wrench and continue to tighten until the nut doesn't move. Tighten the remaining lug nuts in the following order:
  • the 2nd lug nut should be the one diagonally across from the first; then tighten the nut that is diagonally across from that one and so on.
  • Tighten all the lug nuts as much as possible. You can now drive using your spare (check your owner's manual for maximum speed and distance your spare is good for.)
  • Replace your flat tire and spare as soon as possible.