It’s rather strange really. Very few people anymore know how to change a tire. But why should they? We live in an age of constant connectivity and almost always are able to make a phone call, send a text, or access the internet. However, as you are a conscious human being living on the planet, you probably already know how connected people are to the world. And because of this, there is little reason why people should know how to change a tire. I mean come on, just call someone else that knows how or a tow truck right? Well, why don’t we learn how just for kicks.
Alright. Let’s set the mood.
You’re driving, alone, down an old highway at night. The last evidence of civilization you noticed was 60 miles back and you know the next town is 100 miles out, but you have plenty of gas and are confident you can make it despite no cell service.
However, as you’re whipping down the road, you notice a sharp metal obstruction in the road. As a master speedster, you professionally avoid the object ONLY to anger a local porcupine which spears your tire with one of its spines. You, a lone driver, miles from civilization, now have a flat tire.
What do you do now?
Lucky for you, an exact copy of this blog happened to appear in your car, in printed form, with all the instructions on how to change a flat. Crazy right? Let’s get started.
Pull over, turn on the hazard lights, engage the parking brake, and shut the car off. If you have wheel wedges, use them. If you do not, find large rocks and place on both sides of all tires except the flat. This keeps the car from rolling and coming off the jack later on. Make sure you’re on level ground first though.
Locate the car jack, spare tire, and lug wrench. Most of the time, all those things can be found in the same place. That place is typically the trunk or underside of the car. If it’s in the trunk, then then just take the tire, wrench, and jack.
If the tire is under the car, the release for the spare is usually in the trunk, underneath the carpet/flooring. Usually you have to use the lug wrench to release it either way.
Loosen up the nuts before you jack up the car. This will make things easier later on.
Now, begin to jack the car up. There is a little trick to this, after all you can’t place the jack under the bumper and expect the car to lift up. In fact, there are actually sever jack points on every car. Where they are on your car will be listed in the owner’s manual. Begin lifting the car using the jack.
Once the car is up, finish taking off the nuts. DO NOT LOSE THEM!!! Take the tire off and set it aside. Lift the spare tire into the space where the flat one was, making sure it is pushed in as far as it can go.
Use the nuts you saved and screw the spare tire into place. Use the lug wrench to make sure they are nice and tight. Now take the flat and put it in the trunk or back. It might also be possible to put it where the spare was if you have a full size spare.
Lower the car gently and remove the car wedges/rocks. Put the wrench and the jack back into place and you’re all set. Get in and get going.
See? That wasn’t so bad now was it? You successfully solved your problem, by yourself I might add, and now you have a very valuable skill. But, why don’t you try to avoid porcupines from now on, okay? Good. Now get going, you don’t want to drive on that spare forever!
A: Ben Delamater