Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tire Changing 101: An Instructional Guide for Students

by Samantha McMichael
Have you ever found yourself stranded on the side of the road without anyone to help you change out your busted tire? Many have been in that predicament multiple times, but still haven’t learned how to change out their tire themselves. Your car is one of your most important possessions, and as a student, you have many needs that it can accommodate, so taking care of it is important. Changing a tire is one of the many things you should learn concerning the maintenance of your car. It’s an incredibly simple and useful skill to have, and it just might save you the next time you run over a nail or hit a pothole miles from the nearest repair shop.

  1. Locate a safe spot to park your car. You want to choose somewhere that is level and considered safe for swapping your tires out. CAUTION: Be aware of your surroundings. Busy roads could lead to accidents involving you. Many people are killed each year when changing a tire on a busy road.
  2. Put the car in the “park” position, engage emergency brake and turn off the vehicle. 
  3. Brace a heavy object (such as a rock) against the front and back tires in order to prevent rolling. (Picture 1)
  4. Retrieve the spare tire and jack. These items are normally located in the trunk of the vehicle, usually underneath a carpeted surface. Place the jack underneath the frame next to the tire you plan to change. Make sure you place it on a metal portion of the frame.
  5. Raise the jack until it supports the vehicle. To make the next step possible, the tire must still have really good traction with the ground. (Picture 2)
  6. Remove the hubcap and turn the jack counterclockwise to loosen the nuts. This is where keeping the tire in contact with the ground becomes important; by keeping traction with the ground, you are able to loosen the nuts as opposed to the tire turning when trying to loosen them if the tire is fully lifted from the ground. Do not fully remove the nuts.
  7. Crank the jack in order to fully suspend the tire off of the ground. It must be lifted high enough for you to be able to successfully remove the flat tire from the frame and replace it with the spare with ease. (Picture 3)
  8. Fully remove the nuts from the flat tire. Rotate counter-clockwise until they come off.
  9. Remove the flat tire. (Picture 4)
  10. Place the spare tire on the hub. Make sure to align the rim of the spare with the bolts of the wheel and then place the lug nuts.
  11. Tighten the nuts by hand until they are snug. This is mostly for initial placement. While the tire is suspended, it will be near impossible to tighten the nuts all the way, so tighten them as much as you can by hand.
  12. Lower the car without letting the car all the way down and tighten the nuts some more. This time, with more traction, you’ll be able to tighten them better. Use the crank this time. Tighten as much as possible.
    (Picture 5)
  13. Lower the car completely and remove the jack. Finish tightening the nuts and replace the hubcap.
  14. Place the flat tire and tools in your trunk. Make sure everything is accounted for.
  15. Consult your mechanic. Spare tires are only meant to be driven on for short periods of time, mainly intended to get you from where you broke down to your nearest auto repair shop.
By acquiring this skill, you are able to help not only yourself, but others. Sadly, very few people can change a tire, so spread the word and teach others when you have the time. It’s important to take care of your car in a time of crisis, and knowing how to do it yourself is incredibly valuable.

Educate yourself!


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