This is child’s play for most people but there are others out there who have never changed a tyre in their life. Maybe they live in an area with fantastic roads and in case they get a puncture there is always a tow-truck company that is a phone call away. There are other situations where you have just bought a car or borrowed it and in your youth you were more engrossed in learning to drive than changing a tyre or checking the oil level. We will break down the entire process into a series of steps and hopefully, you won’t miss an important deadline because you were waiting for a mechanic or a Good Samaritan to give you a hand.
If you are a seasoned driver you probably know you must have a spare wheel and a jack in your trunk. If you borrowed the car, always check the trunk to see if these appliances are present. Adding to this it’s always important to carry other things like a sizable quantity of water like 2 litres just in case your engine overheats or you may need to wash your hands after doing some repair work. A wheel spanner, which looks like a cross, for removing the nuts from the wheel is also a must. Bear in mind the spanners come in different shapes but they all serve the same purpose.
Getting a Flat
It is advisable to pull over the moment you get a flat to avoid causing any damage to the cylindrical metallic part of you tyre. Even if it has burst, it can still be patched up as long as the metallic part is still intact. Make sure you completely get off the road unless you want your behind to be splattered all over the highway. Turn the hazard lights on so as to notify the oncoming traffic. Do not forget the handbrake. If it’s off and you have already inclined the car with a jack, you are probably playing Russian roulette with your car. Occasionally you might get a puncture on a stretch of road that doesn’t have enough space on its boundaries for you to completely pull over. Place the hazard sign which is the red triangle on a white surface a considerable distance from your car. If you do not have it you can use an obstacle like a branch from a tree or some pieces of rock (like the size of a soccer ball). The main reason is to notify oncoming traffic that there is danger ahead and they should switch lanes.
Changing the Tyre
Remove everything you will need from the trunk and place them next to the flat tyre. This includes the spare wheel, the jack and the spanner. Use the spanner to loosen the nuts of the flat tyre. This might require a bit of effort but if you find it to be a bit cumbersome, just step on the spanner and use your body weight to induce the turning effect on the problematic nut. Use the car body for support but please do not just drop your entire weight on the spanner because you might warp it; just perform a few hops on it and the nut should loosen. At first, just loosen all the nuts from the flat wheel. Then, place the jack underneath the car body next to the flat tyre. Start spinning its rotating bolt clockwise and it will start rising. Most cars have something of a joint where the jack can hook. Once it is in contact with the car body, attach the wheel spanner to the jack and use it produce the clockwise motion. The car will start rising slowly. Continue doing so until the flat wheel is completely off the ground. Once this is achieved, now completely remove the nuts and the flat tyre from the car.
The main reason for unscrewing the nuts when the tyre was still on the ground was to prevent the wheel from spinning; that is if you were changing the front wheel. If you forgot to do this, simply tell someone to step on the brakes and you can unscrew the nuts now even if the flat tyre is suspended in mid-air. After removing the flat tyre, replace it with the spare wheel and return each of the nuts screwing them tightly with your hand. If you use the spanner here the wheel will start spinning. Start spinning the jack counter clockwise to lower the car to the ground. Once the wheel is firmly on the ground, now you can use the spanner to tighten the nuts. Repeat the same procedure of using your body weight to turn the nuts to their limits. Once this is done, return everything you used to the trunk and remember to remove the hazard sign or whatever obstacles you used.
As you can see, this is a very simple procedure that should not take you more than ten minutes if you are working alone. The only downside is your hands might be a bit dirty once you are through but that is where the water comes in. You’ll probably never change tyres at the speed of NASCAR mechanics but you you’ll never be stranded if you have all these facts at your fingertips. The next time you are driving past a hapless driver, who looks out of sorts, pull over and give her hand; that was you before you read this essay.