Photo by Nicholas Jackson from Pixabay
Welcome to the May blog for Service Plus! We hope Spring is treating you well and that your family is either vaccinated or scheduled to be soon!
This month’s blog is a look into how to change a flat tire. There’s a lot to know, and the first point to make is that there’s a difference between coming across a flat tire on a parked car and having a blowout.
If you have a blowout, your first steps are about making sure you get to safety. Pull over as far away from the road as you can manage, and set down signals if you have them. Be sure you are in the Parked gear and that the parking brake is fully engaged. If you’ve established your safety or are fortunate to have been parked when the tire went flat, start by getting your jack and spare tire out.
Be sure that the spare tire is solid and well-inflated before you attempt to remove your flat tire or put your spare on. If the pressure is low, call for roadside assistance. (At Service Plus, we can help you out there.)
Having established that the spare tire is in good working order, remove the spare tire and the jack from the trunk. (There should be a tire iron in there somewhere-- it might be the jack handle.) If you can find a rock or an object heavy enough, block the wheel on the opposite side of the flat tire to ensure that the jack doesn’t cause it to shift and the car to roll backward.
Start by removing the rim cover on your car’s tires and loosening the lug nuts on your car tire. The pressure of your car’s weight will help you get started, but be careful not to completely remove the lug nuts this way. Use a can of WD-40 if the mounts don’t want to give up their lug nuts. Remember that they UNSCREW counterclockwise. The last thing you want to do is try to budge a lug nut off the lug and instead, snap it off!
Once you have the lug nuts loosened, it’s time to jack the car up. Consult your car manual for specifics on where the jack should go, but generally, cars are jacked a foot in from the car’s body to the flat wheel itself, on a metal part of the frame the jack will connect with. As you move the jack up higher, work to line it up with any grooves or fittings that will help brace it firmly. (Obviously, you need to be on good solid ground before you use a jack.)
Once the car is high enough to move the wheel slightly, finish taking off the nuts (the rim cover makes a suitable holder for them). Then remove the flat tire, put the spare on, and begin returning the nuts to their lugs, tighten them with the tire iron. Again, don’t over-tighten the nuts, or you’ll risk snapping the lugs off the hub.
When you take down the car, be sure to put the jack elements back where it belongs. If the tire appears crooked or bent, re-jack the car up immediately and make sure there is nothing in the way of the lug nuts mounting the wheel to the hub.
Don’t forget to get your tires from Service Plus! If your vehicle needs service, schedule an appointment today with Service Plus Automotive for a brake inspection. We are located at 27721 State Route 283, Calcium, NY 13616 (just across from Fort Drum), and we are open Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.