Let’s face it, at some point someone told us that knowing how to change a tire would be an invaluable skill in life. Whoever that person was, they were right.
Not the least because when they were stuck on the side of the road, muttering unflattering superlatives about the tire in the pouring rain, they still managed to change the spare tire on to the axle, tighten the lug nuts and proceed on their way. For those still lost on the nuts and bolts however, strong words have nothing on the power of a lug wrench.
No one’s an expert at these things on first go. Especially not when they were told to stop playing with the flashlight or to hold the small parts bowl every time prior in their own real-life Christmas Story. Don’t fret, however, Guy’s Towing Service has your back with a list of tools and a recipe on how to use them so you are prepared to change a tire without fudging it up.
When changing your flat tire, you want to be sure to park your car in a safe location on level ground. Set the parking brake to keep your vehicle from rolling around while you’re near it. Make sure to put on your vehicle’s hazard lights and set up reflective triangles so people can see you. Whether on a narrow shoulder or wide shoulder, reducing the chance for unnecessary risk is paramount to performing this task.
Once that’s done, it’s time to break out the car jack and the spare wheel. You can find the jack under the spare tire in your trunk or under the vehicle on European brands. Your jack stands, wheel blocks and lug wrench should all be inside the vehicle as well.
You don’t need it for right now, it’s in the way of the bolts that need undoing and it makes for a handy small parts receptacle if you don’t have one already. You will want to pry the hubcap off with a little force. Work around the edges methodically—like flipping an egg with a spatula—and it should come loose.
Once you’ve removed the hubcap, grab the lug wrench and ready the elbow grease. Use the wrench to loosen the lug nuts. Do not remove the lug nuts yet. Remove the lug nut covers if you have them. Start loosening the first nut a few turns, then go to the opposite side bolt and repeat until you loosen all the lug nuts in a star pattern. This crisscross pattern will ensure that no single nut breaks due to pressure.
Remember: turn clockwise tight, counterclockwise loose. Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.
Find a safe area to place the jack. There should be a slight indent on the vehicle frame underneath the door indicating where the jack will be most stable. Placing the jack anywhere else is going to mark the body of the car and have a less stable hold.
Most importantly, do not use the jack as a jack stand!
Having two jack stands in your car’s emergency kit is a must. While a block of wood might work for wheel wedges, they will not work for jack stands. Once the jack stands are in a safe place holding up the frame of the car (not the body), set the wedges behind the wheels, and start to remove the lug nuts. Place the nuts in your receptacle or on the hub cap.
Time to actually change a flat tire. It might be deflated, but you’re going to replace the whole wheel which can be heavy. Be careful and lift the flat tire with your knees, not your back. Unfortunately, taking the wheel off the bolts is much easier than putting it on, but you’re halfway there and you can’t stop now.
Before you place the spare, make sure you have the wheel aligned to the lug bolts. The last thing you want to find out is that the wheel is not properly aligned mid-lift. Once again, lift with the knees, not the back and slide that wheel onto the bolts.
Make sure to hand tighten the lug nut clockwise, then move across to the opposite nut and bolt, once again tightening the spare tire in a star formation. The star formation ensures that the wheel remains level on the axle when you tighten the lug nuts. An unbalanced wheel will wobble and take on unnecessary stress at high speeds.
Begin by raising it up a little and removing the jack stands, then lower the car back down and remove the jack and jack stands. Once back on the ground it’s time to wrench tighten the lug nuts, replace the hub caps, put everything back in the trunk, turn off the hazard lights and rejoin traffic.
>When you’re stuck on the side of the road, the situation can seem pretty hopeless. If you’re stuck near Baton Rouge, however, it’s never hopeless.
Guy’s Towing Service has been providing tows and emergency assistance on location for Baton Rouge residents and her visitors since 1971. We have the experience to get your car back on the road as swiftly and smoothly as possible no matter what kind of emergency situation you find yourself in.
Give us a call today if you’re completely stuck without a tool in the trunk. We’ll ride out to meet you no matter the traffic and service your vehicle’s issue, no pressure. If we can’t fix the problem, we can tow you to a repair shop location that can.