I pride myself on being pretty knowledgeable when it comes to most things. I read a lot, stay abreast with all current affairs…but when it comes to changing a tyre, I am absolutely clueless. I know that my spare tyre is in the trunk of my car, but that’s about where my knowledge ends.
So for all those other women out there, who find the idea of changing a tyre, do not fret. Below is a step by step guide on how to change a tyre. I have been pleasantly surprised on how straightforward it actually is.
Know Your Car
Firstly, and most importantly, you need to know your car. Check the manual – that will tell you where your spare tyre is kept. Hate to state the obvious, but if you do not have a spare tyre, there is nothing you can do. Your best bet would be to call for reinforcement.
You will also have to make sure that your car is on a flat, stable and safe place in order for you to change the tyre. This will restrict the car from rolling. Also worth mentioning is that you need to make sure your car is in the “park” position. Make sure your hazard lights are on to warn traffic. I am an opportunist, but I think of hazard lights as a beacon of hope. Women alone on the side of the road, tyre burst or flat, who knows, some dashing young man might just stop and do everything for you. In that case, no need to read the rest! But like I said, I’m an opportunist!
Get Down and Dirty
Not really…but will you have to get down and get your hands (a little) dirty! First thing, once you have found the jack and the spare tyre is to loosen the nuts holding the wheel to the hub. For obvious reasons, these are normally rather tight, so using your bare hand (unless you are a heavy weight champion) might not work. Use the tyre iron to loosen the nuts. Place the iron on one of the nuts, place your foot on the iron and use your body weight to loosen it. Remember, righty-tighty, lefty – loosey does also apply to car wheels.
Jack It Up
This is the part most inexperienced tyre – changers dread. Consult your manual to make sure exactly where the jack needs to be positioned. Generally, there should be a small plate on a frame of the car – the chassis. Once you have placed the jack under the car, start lifting/pumping/ raising so that you can lift the car off the ground to remove the punctured wheel.
Removing the Existing Tyre
Use the wrench to unscrew the nuts completely and make sure you keep those nuts in a safe place – you will be using them again. Remove the wheel and the tyre by pulling the wheel towards you – from personal experience, this is easiest if you place your hands in a 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock position. Another great tip is to put the old tyre under the car in the event of the jack failing.
Putting on the Spare Tyre
Put the spare tyre on the hub. Make sure that you have aligned the rim of the spare tyre with the wheel bolts. You can now put the nuts back on. Tighten them by hand until they are snug, if you use the tyre iron, the tyre will spin. Then use the wrench and tighten the nuts as much as possible. You have to make sure that the tyre is balanced, so tighten the nuts in a star pattern – one nut across from another – making sure they are equally tight. If you tighten the nuts unevenly, the wheel might wobble when you are back on the road.
The hardest part is over – you can now lower the jack and give the nuts one last turn and put the hubcap back on, and voilà!
Your sense of achievement for being able to do this by yourself, will be astonishing! Before you dash away into the sunset, just bear in mind that a spare tyre is not made to go fast or far so be sure to take it to a garage in the next day or 2 to be fitted with a proper wheel.
Rosanne is in no way a car enthusiast, but she is very proud to be able to say that she has changed three tyres in her life time and enjoys spreading her knowledge to others.
Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anijdam/2468493546/