How to Change a Tire Dec28

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How to Change a Tire

There is no excuse for a man to be unable to change a flat tire.

I could understand it if you are on your way to the opera and you don’t want to get your tuxedo dirty – call AAA. However, on almost any Saturday drive down the freeway you can spot some middle-aged guy, standing beside his mini-van staring at a flat tire with a perplexed look on his face. That guy either grew up without a father, or his Dad failed miserably. Changing a flat is a rite of passage to manliness.

In this instance we actually have a damaged tire that is unsafe to drive on. This tire was damaged by a pot-hole, and had a huge air bubble on the tire sidewall. This occurs when the sidewall is ruptured and air gets in between the layers of the side of the tire. A tire like this could blow out at any time, and should not be driven on. However, the procedure is the same whether you have a flat, or are just changing tires between seasons.

Tire With A Defect

Tire With a Defect

The first Step in changing a tire is to locate the jack, wrench and spare. In this vehicle, a 2003 Chevy Venture, the jack and wrench are located in a compartment in the back of the van. The spare tire is hung under the vehicle by a winch cable. Most mini-vans and trucks have their spare tires stored in this way. This can be a pain in the butt, as you should check the tire pressure in the spare from time to time to ensure you will be able to use it when the time comes. In this case, the pressure had never been checked, and it was about 10lbs low.

To lower the spare find the access hole in the rear bumper.

Hole To Lower Tire

Hole To Lower Tire

Then insert the tool and lower the winch cable.

Insert tool to lower winch cable.

Tire Lowered To Ground

Tire Lowered To Ground

The tire will lower to the ground as you unwind the cable. Don’t forget to wind it back up before you drive away!

While the vehicle is still firmly on the ground, loosen the lug nuts. This is much easier to do with the weight of the vehicle on the tire, as it will not move around on you. Don’t remove the lug nuts, just break them loose.

Position the jack under the proper spot on the frame rails or body panels. The proper location can be identified by looking in your owner’s manual. Usually, there is a notch in the pinch weld made for the jack. Do not simply place the jack any where under the vehicle and raise it up. Doing that could cause damage to the body. Make sure you know where to put the jack. Like anything else, preparation is key. If you don’t know where the jack should go on your car, look now. Then, when you are called into action, you’ll know what to do. This will prevent your girlfriend from running away with the AAA guy. Raise the vehicle off the ground. IMPORTANT! Never get under a vehicle supported only by a jack. The jack could fail or shift and the vehicle could fall on you. Only get under a vehicle properly supported by approved jack stands.

Proper Jack Positioning

Proper Jack Positioning

When the tire is off the ground, remove the lug nuts and the tire. Position the tire over the lugs, and spin the nuts on.

There is a procedure to tighten the lug nuts. Move from nut to nut in a criss cross pattern as shown below. This vehicle has 5 lug nuts. Some will have four, and some trucks can have 12 or more. Always move diagonally and you will be fine. As you tighten the nuts, the tire will try to move on you. When the lugs are snug, lower the vehicle to the ground to torque them down tight.

Proper Tightening Sequence For Lug Nuts

Proper Tightening Sequence For Lug Nuts

Now that the vehicle is back on solid ground, fully tighten the nuts in the criss-cross patter shown above. Most mini-spare tires are meant to be driven no faster than 50mph or for distances over 50 miles.

Here is a view of the bulge in the tire from a different view. A tire failure like this could cause a serious blow-out if left unnatended.

Dangerous Bulge In Tire

Dangerous Bulge In Tire

Always refer to your owners manual in circumstances like this. There are occasions when the mini-spare should only be used on either the front or rear of the vehicle. For example, a mini-spare on the back of a rear-wheel drive vehicle with a locking differential can cause rapid wear of the differential. Follow all manufacturers recomendations.

This article is intended as a primer only and not as a replacement for technical training or the information located in the vehicle owners manual. The Genune Man.com is not responsible for any damage or injury that may result from the procedure detailed here