Change A Tire – It’s Starting To Seem Like Rocket Science!

Flat tires can be a stressful and scary situation, especially if one occurs while driving. The article below outlines helpful tips for drivers in regards to tire maintenance, tire changing steps, and post-flat information.
The most important thing a driver can do is know their vehicle and know the most common mileage for tire rotations, tire inflations, and when to get new tires altogether. According to vehicle websites, the recommended mileage for tire rotations is between every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. This can be done with each oil change. However, in the vehicle owner’s handbook, your manufacturer will give you their recommended mileage intervals which the driver should try to follow. Tire pressure directly correlates with the gas mileage you will get and is important to pay close attention to for safety reasons as well. With low tire pressure, the car’s weight may not be spread evenly on the treads, causing extra wear to certain parts of the tire. Performance and safety are affected, as is the overall handling of your vehicle. Tire pressure is so significant to your vehicle’s performance and reaction to dangerous situations that states that soon, the government “is going to require that tire-pressure monitoring systems be standard in all new vehicles, and 30 percent happens to be the maximum amount that it feels is safe to allow for under-inflation.” It is recommended to check your tire pressure at least once a month and also pay attention to uneven wear patterns on your tires.
Tire treads are also important to check frequently before your tires have no traction left. Traction is necessary for winter driving, driving in rainy conditions, off-road situations, and for safe stops and starts. To check your tread depth, you should purchase either an inexpensive gauge or do the infamous “penny test.” To check it with the penny, stick the coin upside-down in the middle and the outside tread grooves. If you can see Lincoln’s entire head, it is time for new tires. Not sure if you are doing these checks correctly? Remember, these are preventative services that your repair shop will do quickly to keep your vehicle and you safe. Likewise, keeping tabs on the condition of your tires and knowing which ones to use for winter driving make a huge difference in how your vehicle will react should you need to make an accident avoidance maneuver. Preventative maintenance is the best way to cure any major car problems. Service your vehicle regularly and be sure your repair shop checks for those minor issues ahead of time. These preventative maintenance checks should be done with each oil change at quite frequent intervals and should include looking at things like your breaks, battery and cables, tire inflation and condition, exhaust, all fluids, and lights.
The most important thing is very simply to get to know your car. How many of us even look at our tires? They are just a part of the car – you walk around and jump in day after day. Many issues with tires may not be noticeable without bending over, spinning the tire, and taking a close look, but some are. Be sure to make an appointment for service if you feel anything odd when driving. Even more than just when driving, be sure to get to know your vehicle by reading the manual. Many people forget about reading this significant tool and it ends up in the glove box with other paperwork, receipts, napkins, and maps. Know what the recommended mileage intervals are, know where important items are located in your vehicle for maintenance or emergencies, and know what the lights mean on your dashboard.
So how does one change a tire? Again, before you get into this situation, know where all of the tools are to change the tire – don’t just assume that it’s all in the trunk because if you have a newer vehicle, truck, or SUV, they probably aren’t in the trunk at all. Be sure you know where the spare tire is and its capabilities, and the jack to go along with it, the lugnut wrench, a flashlights, and lights or flares. First, set aside an hour on a nice day and take out all of the necessary tools and lay them out. Check to ensure that everything is in good shape and is present. Second, put the car in park and set the emergency break. Park on flat ground and block the wheels with a rock or piece of wood no matter what. Verify that you have working flares and prepare to remove the tire. Then, with the lugnut wrench, remove the hubcap from the tire. Simply loosen the lugnuts that are holding the wheel in place. About A� turn clockwise should do the trick. Do not completely remove the lugnuts before jacking up your car so the tire does not drop off and injure you. Next, jack the vehicle far enough off the ground so that a new, fully inflated tire will fit easily under the car. Then, remove the lugnuts from the tire. Be sure to keep track of them. Remove the tire and get it out of your way. Lift on the spare tire. Align the holes before attempting the placement. Make sure the air valve is facing out towards you. Then, replace the lugnuts you have set aside using your lugnut wrench. Most instructions tell you to tighten them in a star pattern to keep the tire from hanging off. Lastly, slowly lower the car using the jack. Once is has been lowered, finish tightening the lugnuts on the spare tire. Be sure to know the limitations of the spare tire and know where you will get it replaced.
Practice meets preparation. While these instructions may actually not sound all that difficult, they can be when you find yourself in the stressful situation. The best way to get around this is to practice at your home in your driveway. Have a teen or a new driver? Know someone who could benefit by practicing with you? Spend some time taking the tires on and off before you find yourself on the side of the highway trying it for the first time. You will stay much calmer and do a more efficient job if you know what to do beforehand. There may be issues that arise for those changing a tire. Newer vehicles using cast aluminum wheels may have oxidation causing them to stick with other metal parts, making them extremely difficult to remove from the car. Oxidation is what happens when oxygen reacts with the metal over time. If this is the case, remove the hubcaps and apply some anti-seize while wiping off the oxidized metal.
The highway is perhaps the most dangerous place to find yourself changing a flat tire. Stay calm and carefully pull over if you feel a problem with a tire. Be sure to pull off to the side of the road at a flat area with plenty of room to work, especially if the tire is on the driver’s side. Be sure to keep emergency equipments like cones, flares, a jack, reflective clothing, and a flashlight in your trunk. Put on your hazard lights to let other drivers know you’re pulled off, and stay aware of where you are working at all times, as well as where you are placing any lugnuts or tires while working. These will keep you and other drivers safe from any debris in the roadways.
Again, the best way to prevent such a dangerous scenario is by knowing your vehicle’s recommended mileage intervals and checks, keeping track of tire inflation and condition, and being prepared by keeping all of the mentioned emergency tools for changing a tire as well as the skills and know-how in doing so.