Disclaimer-Captain DIY and DIYtoFI.blog highly recommend exercising extreme caution when attempting DIY projects. Not everybody can do everything, and some things should only be done by professionals. Keep your digits attached, and keep the insurance company off of your back. Do it right or call the right people!
As you may have read in this harrowing tale of my recent flat tire fiasco, I have just escaped death and dismemberment at the hands of a truly diabolical vehicular conundrum. Thanks to the full-sized spare I’ve been lugging around for the last couple of years however, I was able to get the offending tire over to my local tire repair shop where they patched it up for the princely sum of $20. Got to love those local businesses!
As I explained in the aforementioned flat tire episode, taking a moment to do a quick check-up on the emergency repair equipment in your car is a great idea, especially if you do it before you find yourself stranded on the narrow shoulder of a busy highway.
In this follow-up article, we will go over the steps needed to successfully swap tires when the chips are down.
There’s Trouble Afoot (or Awheel)
For those of you who have yet to experience the thrill of blowing out a tire at high speeds, there isn’t really a whole lot of explanation needed to describe what happens. Basically, shit can go crazy. Don’t panic, keep both hands on the wheel, and scootch on over to the side of the road as fast as safely possible.
Once you have successfully stopped, put on your emergency brake, and your hazard lights are blinking, it’s time for you to pry your fingers out of their deep grooves in the steering wheel and head outside to assess the damage.
Don’t Worry Kids, I Got This
Good thing you checked to make sure you have all of the tools you need, because now it’s time to put that stuff to use. Head on over to the trunk and grab the jack and lug wrench. Time to make the Captain proud!
The owner’s manual (you know, that little booklet taking up most of the room in your glovebox that you looked at for 5 minutes when you bought the car but haven’t touched since) should say where the best points are on the frame to place the jack. Remember, you’re about to put at least one thousand pounds on that puppy, so you’ll want to make sure it’s holding up the car in a very strong spot.
Once you find that spot, you can crank it up until you get some decent tension on it, then give your arm a break. You’re going to need it. You don’t want the offending tire to be off the ground yet!
Time to Break Some Stuff
The next step is to grab that lug wrench and loosen up those lugs. By the way, those are the nuts holding your wheel to the lug bolts, which connect your wheel to the rotor, and so on.
Put the wrench on a nut in such a position as to give you the most leverage as possible, namely roughly horizontal and needing to move downward. Now it’s time to see if that extra lunch has been paying off, because those little buggers are going to be tight.
Once you get them all loosened, head back over to the jack and get to crankin’. Just think: not only are you saving the day and looking like the hero, you’re getting a free workout as well!
Feel The Burn!
Whew! How’s that cranking arm doing? Has anyone ever told you you look sexy with a lug wrench in your hands? Well, don’t believe them!
Just kidding, of course that big dirty wrench makes you look good. Now use those sexy arms of yours to finish unscrewing the lug nuts, pull that flat SOB off and drop it to the ground.
Now roll that handy spare over and hoist it up so you can pop it in place. Now put it back down and get back to that jack, because you didn’t realize that a flat tire doesn’t need as much height as a full one. Don’t lie, it happens to everyone.
Once the new tire is on with the lug nuts hand-tightened, go ahead and lower your road hog back to the tar.
Don’t Drive Away Yet!
Unless you think you can balance on 3 wheels, we need to get those lug nuts proper tight before you go patting yourself on the back. There is, as with just about anything having to do with cars, a specific way to tighten them that must be followed, and I’ll show you with this highly professional and intricately detailed drawing:
I believe the torque rating on these is “if you’re not bleeding it’s not tight enough”, but since most people don’t carry torque wrenches around in their trunk, we’re gonna just go with “as tight as possible”. Remember: tighten one, then go to the one across from it, and continue around in a star pattern, then go back and do the same thing for the final tightening.
OK, I Think We’re Good Here
Look at you, you amazing individual! Instead of standing on the side of the road crying for mommy, you got your butt out there and fixed it!
Hop on in that newly-shod ride and off you go, to the resounding cheers of your adoring family! Give yourself a well-deserved boost of self-confidence and keep on keepin’ on to your destination. You did put the jack and lug wrench back in the trunk, right?