How to be a Great Tire Changer

Reader question:

I’ve gone most of my life being unable to do the most basic things with a car, so I figure it’s time I start learning. How do I change a flat tire?

Zora

Fantastic question.

I know how you feel. For most of my life, I left the tire changing up to other people. I had no idea about cars because I just grew up that way, with nobody to teach me and no particular incentive to learn how to be a tire changer and other things. But, after a while, I figured that I didn’t like being dependent on other people to get going. So it was time to start learning how to do things for myself, so that I didn’t have to find myself stuck on the side of a highway some where with a flat tire, waiting for someone to be nice enough to come and do it for me. I’m glad to hear that you’ve made that decision to. Here are some simple steps to take you through your very first experience as a tire changer.

  • Before the opportunity comes up to change the actual tire, unearth the jack from your trunk and give it a shot. This way, you won’t be lost once you have a flat tire, trying to figure out how to lift your car in the middle of the night on an empty highway while it’s raining. Right? It’s all about the preparation.
  • Once you realize that you have a flat tire, find a place off the road to park. That doesn’t mean the little lane on the side to pull over when you’re broken down. You need to get off the road entirely, on the feeder road or in a parking lot. A flat tire can drive for about seven hundred yards before being completely useless.
  • You won’t always be able to change your flat tire when it goes out. Sometimes the best thing is to just keep going until you have somewhere to get off. The reason for this is if it is unsafe for you to change your flat tire.
  • Maybe you aren’t good for being a tire changer. If not, you should invest in something like run-flat tires or roadside assistance, that a way you won’t be left high and dry when you get a flat tire.
  • Lots of new, expensive sports cars now have what are called low aspect ratio wheels, which get hurt more easily than normal wheels. Things like potholes and other normal things you will encounter while driving will tear them apart.
  • If you have a shop that’s putting your tires on, ask them to ease up on the lug nuts. It’s actually possible to make them so tight that later on when you have a flat tire, you won’t be able to loosen them.
  • Put a smaller spare tire in your car as a temporary thing until you can get to a better one. Carrying around a full sized one will just cost you gas money and take up space.
  • If you have Fix-A-Flat, that’s great, but realize that it only lasts a little while and does not actually fix your flat tire permanently.

Cheers,

Fashun Guadarrama.

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."
  • Garage

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