You’re driving along and your steering suddenly feels strange, or your car slows down for no reason, or you a hear a weird noise. Perhaps you ran over a nail. Perhaps your tire was blown out after running over a pothole or debris in the road. Whatever the case, after you’ve pulled over, your first instinct may be to reach for your cell phone and call roadside assistance. Roadside assistance is great, but there’s always the chance that a flat tire will strike when you’re out of range, or don’t have access to a cell phone! Knowing how to change a tire is a valuable skill for all drivers to have! If you don’t
already know how, the service
team at Melloy Dodge is here to offer some tips and instructions!
First of all, before you ever have to change your tire, make sure you have the right tools in your vehicle. Your vehicle should be equipped for any emergency flat, be sure to have a properly inflated spare tire, a jack, a lug wrench, and your vehicle’s owner’s manual. It’s also helpful to have a pair of gloves, a rain poncho and a flashlight in case a flat occurs at night or in adverse weather. You’ll also need wheel wedges and small cut of wood to secure the tire jack.
When your tire is flat, you first want to turn on your hazard lights to signal to other drivers that you have an emergency, doing so will help avoid an accident. Find a level, straight stretch of road with a wide shoulder to pull over. Use your parking brake to ensure that your vehicle doesn’t roll. Now you’re ready to change your tire:
- Apply the wheel wedges against the tires opposite of the flat.
- Remove the hubcap or wheel cover. Use the flat end of the lug wrench to pry the cover off. If your lug nuts are exposed, you can skip this step.
- Loosen the lug nuts with the lug wrench. Do not remove them while still on the ground!
- Place the jack under the vehicle. Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual for safe placement of the jack, and then raise your vehicle with the jack until the flat tire is about six inches off the ground.
- NOW you can remove the lug nuts. Since they’ve already been loosened, this step should be easy. This step, as well as the next two steps should be performed quickly, if the car slips off the jack, you can be seriously hurt.
- Remove the flat tire. Grip it gently by the treads and pull it toward you. Set it on its side so it doesn’t roll away.
- Align the spare with the exposed lug bolts and push it into place. This should be done quickly, but be careful not to rock the car.
- Replace the lug nuts and slightly tighten with the wrench. Be sure the tapered ends of the lug nuts are closest to your vehicle.
- Lower the jack carefully. Once the spare touches the ground, remove the jack.
- Now you can tighten the lug nuts with the wrench. Alternate, don’t tighten lug nuts that are right next to each other right after each other. Make sure they’re really tight!
- Replace the hubcap or wheel cover.
- Check the pressure on your spare, make sure it’s safe!
Now you’re a tire-changing expert! The whole process shouldn’t take longer than half an hour. You might find it helpful to practice changing a tire at home in the safety of your garage, just to be sure you’re prepared. Melloy Dodge wants to remind you that when you have to change your tires, safety should always be a priority. Keep road and traffic conditions, weather conditions, and passenger safety in mind at all times! And if you ever need maintenance or service, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with the Melloy Dodge Service Center!
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