For decades, we at Goodman Acker P.C. have remained committed to doing all we can to defend the rights of personal injury accident victims and their families. In our efforts to help drivers reduce their chances of being involved in a serious or fatal car accident, we are doing a series of posts highlighting specific areas of concern. The first in our “Road Safety 101: A Weekly Guide to Staying Safe on the Road” series discusses how to change a flat tire.
One of the most important steps in changing a flat tire is being sufficiently prepared. If you do not have the tools you need to mend a flat or change a tire, you could find yourself stranded along the side of the road. Tools you may want to have in your trunk include a spare tire, jack, flashlight, gloves, tire gauge, wheel blocks and fix-a-flat spray or tire sealant.
Changing a flat tire can be completed with relative ease, so long as you know what to do. The following are the basic steps to safely changing a flat tire without a lot of hassle:
1. Choose your location carefully. Not all roads have a shoulder where it is safe for you to pull to the side and change a tire. In some instances, you may need to exit the highway or find a safe place away from the flow of traffic. Find a level surface with adequate space, safe from traffic.
2. Turn on your hazard lights. If you have reflective triangles or flares you may want to use those as well, particularly if you are changing a tire at night. Even with these safety precautions in place, remember to keep an eye on traffic.
3. Set your parking brake. You may also want to place a brick or wheel block, if you have one, behind the wheel diagonally across from the one you are going to replace. This can help minimize the risk of your vehicle starting to roll once it is up on the jack.
4. Inspect your spare tire and make sure you have the tools necessary to change the tire. As long as you have what you need, you can proceed with the next step.
5. Remove the jack and lug wrench.
6. Pry off the hub cap (if the vehicle has it) and use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts-they must be loosened prior to raising the vehicle on the jack.
7. Some vehicles may require an adapter or additional tools. If this is the case, refer to your owner’s manual for further instructions.
8. Place your jack in the position noted in your vehicle instruction manual. Then, use your jack to lift your vehicle about six inches off the ground. Remove the lug nuts.
9. Pull the flat tire off the car and set it aside so that it will not roll away or become a hazard.
10. Take the spare tire and push it all the way onto the wheelbase.
11. Put on the lug nuts and tighten them manually with your fingers.
12. Lower the jack all the way back down and remove it from under your vehicle.
13. Tighten the lug nuts using the lug wrench. Instead of tightening each in a row, try going back and forth on opposite sides until each is tightened sufficiently.
14. Clean up your tools and put those, along with your flat tire, back in your vehicle.
Once each of these steps is done, you are safe to drive away. Be sure to get your flat tire replaced in a timely fashion, so that you will be prepared in the event of an emergency in the future. It is also advised you take your vehicle to a repair shop at your earliest convenience to check your work and get your tires aligned.
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