Archive for Monday, October 3, 2011


Fix-It Chick: Changing a tire

October 3, 2011


If you drive a car, or ride in someone else’s on a regular basis, you should know how to change a flat tire. Follow these easy steps for a quick and efficient tire change.

Step 1: Stop the vehicle off the road in a safe, level spot. Turn on the hazard lights, turn off the ignition and set the parking brake. For added safety, put the hood of the vehicle up to indicate trouble and set out safety cones or flares. If there are wheel blocks in the trunk, wedge them in front of each tire.

Step 2: Gather the necessary tools from inside the vehicle: the spare tire (fully inflated), car jack and lug nut wrench. Refer to the vehicle owner’s manual if you are unable to locate any of these items.

Step 3: Remove the hubcap and loosen the lug nuts. Each tire has at least four lug nuts on it. Position the lug wrench on each nut and turn the wrench counter-clockwise. If the nut won’t budge, step or bounce on the wrench to make it turn. Do not remove the lug nuts completely at this time; only loosen them.

Step 4: Position the car jack under the frame of the vehicle. If there is a notch on the frame near the tire, this is where the car jack should rest.

Step 5: Insert the jack handle or lug wrench into the jack stand and slowly raise the vehicle about six inches off the ground. Don’t be frightened by the creaking and moaning of the car, but do make sure the jack is stable and the car frame is resting securely on the jack stand.

Step 6: Remove the lug nuts and pull the old tire off the vehicle. It should pull straight off without too much difficulty.

Step 7: Place the new tire onto the wheel base and push hard to make sure it is positioned correctly. Hand-tighten the lug nuts back onto the lug bolts.

Step 8: Lower the vehicle back to the ground. Reposition any wheel blocks and remove the jack from beneath the vehicle.

Step 9: Use the lug wrench to tighten the lug nuts, turning each nut a little at a time until all nuts are completely tight. Replace the hubcap, stow away the tools and head to the tire shop to have the problem tire repaired.

—Linda Cottin can be reached at


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