Removing a flat tire on the road safe and easy
I have many years experience in the automotive industry and have just about been through every type of situation there is to have experienced.
One simple thing that strikes me as strange is the fact that it is very hard to find proper training for vehicle owners and drivers on the facts about how to change a flat tire, or how to be prepared for a flat tire without even taking the tire off your car or SUV.
How about the trouble you may have had in the past, you knowing exactly how to change a flat but couldn't get the lug nuts off the wheel studs due to someone once before inspecting the brakes or replacing the tires and using an impact gun to install the lug nuts and over tightening them.
Has anyone ever illustrated to you folks the do'e and dont's of using a jack to raise your vehicle off the ground to gain access for removal of a wheel?
Ok lets start with the needed required tools one should carry in their car to prepare for such an event, first lets have a small first aid safety kit for any cuts and bruises including bandades and infection preventing creams and liquids(Iodine, hydrogen peroxide, etc.), next we need to be sure we have a good spare tire in the trunk, easy to check push the side to see if it is hard to the touch indicating it has proper air inflation, also check for a good working tire jack the typical scissor jack and crank handle, which comes with the vehicle make sure it is good, but I prefer to purchase a $29.99 miniature sized professional looking hydraulic floor jack, they fit under the car excellently and work tremendously easy and safe, they can be purchased in Sears Auto or any Auto Parts Store, also a pair of jack stands, two small wedges of wood shaped like large door stops(we will refer to them as the wedges), they can be bought or easily trimmed by a wood worker, from a 4"x4" wood post 6" long and cut on a 45 degree angle on one side, a 1/2" drive breaker bar(heavy duty from Sears Auto Tools Dept) or the like, if not a set of 1/2" impact sockets then at least two common tire wheel lug sizes which are 3/4" and 13/16", these type sockets are made tough and can take a work out, a 48 oz. short handled heavy duty hammer, very important at least two cans of fix a flatNow that you have been introduced to an arrangement of neccessary tools and safety equipment to take along with you on a typical road trip in hopes to keep you and your vehicle from paying dissasterous road service fees and tremendous time lose on the road due to a flat tire, lets get started;Ok now if you experience a flat and notice (once you pull safely all the way over off to the shoulder of the road with your hazard flashers on) that the tire is losing air but doesn't really look in real bad shape, such as a condition tire folks call"run flat" which means the tire has been driving and supporting the vehicles weight with no air in it for a sustained distance, and the tire very noticably has damage all over its sides, etc., this is a typical flat tire that needs to come off, however if the tire appears rather good except for the fact it has or is losing air, get your fix a flat and safety googles out of the trunk with your light duty gloves, find the little black or chrome tire air valve located on the tire near the metal wheels edge, unscrew the little cap, read the directions on the fix a flat can, and install the contents according to the directions.In all cases of this being used they require you to put the screw cap back on the valve and cautiously take your car back onto the road, stay in the right lane with your warniog hazard flashers on and allow the foamy liquid to perform its chemical majic as you drive at the recommended speed on the directions.This should fix your flat without any fuss or muss, have the tire looked at at your next convience to be sure it is ok to drive on it any further.That was relatively easy and thank godness for Fix A Flat, the next type of flat tire however requires a bit more thought and work.I am going to cover first the proper way to jack up your vehicle in the event the tire has to come off for the spare to be installed.
First, spull to safety, put your hazard flashers on whether its day or night, look for an area that the ground looks pretty level.
Secondly, open your trunk and leave it open, remove your spare tire and all the neccessary tools you will need to change the tire.
Third, using your breaker bar and the proper impact socket attempt to loosen(but dont remove) the tire nuts on the flat tire, if a tire lug wont come loose, getb the 48 oz. hammer and the impact socket that fits the wheel lug and hit it with a sharp firm blow, be certain you have on the eye protection as hitting steel against steel can cause some steel fragments to fly you don't want your eye to be the reciever of such, after you hit it the nut should turn loose, remeber you are only turning them about 1/2 turn loose you don't remove them until the tire is jacked up and off the ground(doing this helps prevent the car from falling off the jack had you jacked it first then applied all sorts of tugging etc on the tight lug nuts).
Fourth, place the wedges in front of and behind one of the tires on the opposite side of the car, this will eliminate the possibility of the car sliding forward or backwards off the jack once it is jacked up.
Find a secure flat firm welded frame area to place the floor jack under, or if using the original scissor jack be sure you are also using it in a firm jacking location(most scissor jacks have a notch put in the under side of the vehicle that allows the jack to fit into the channel securely) once found and level jack the car's tire off the ground, install the jack stands under the vehicle in a firm body frame sort of area to prevent the car from falling off the jack you can never be too safe.
Fifth, install the spare tire on the vehicle and while it is on the jack, start threading the wheel lug nuts onto the appropriate wheel studs, use your wrench and socket to get the nuts down only slightly tight.
Sixth, remove the jack stand or stands depending on how secure you felt about using one or two, lower the jack, once the tire is firmly touching the ground, continue to tighten the remaining wheel lug nuts one at a time until they feel good and firmly tight.
Seventh, remove the wedges from the wedged tire on the other side of the vehicle, remove the jack, put everything back into the trunk including the flat tire. Happy Motoring!!!
on Jun 08, 2010 | Chevrolet Camaro Cars & Trucks