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Have you ever been driving down the road and see someone changing their own tire? It’s so cool to be able to get yourself out of a bad situation when you’re stuck on the side of the road. There have been some articles published debating whether Americans know how to change a tire or not. One article that surveyed 2,000 car owners, states that nearly 60% of Millennials are unable to change a car tire which in other articles is different. No matter what the statistics are on being able to change a tire or not, everyone should know how to change a tire, in case of an emergency.

There are three different parts to understanding how to change a tire. The first part is preparation and avoidance, this includes what you should already have in your car in case you get a flat tire and how to prevent a flat. The next part is how to handle the car the moment a tire goes flat, or pops and the last part is how to change the tire itself. What you’ll need to start is a reflective warning sign, fully inflated spare tire, the owner’s manual, jack, a small board, wheel wedges, a lug wrench (the right size for your vehicle), and a tire pressure gauge. Now that you have everything you need already in the car you need to avoid and prevent a flat tire. Make sure to check your tire pressure monthly, all four tires and the spare tire, because heat can build up in the tires and change their pressure. Whenever you have a long car ride ahead of you, make sure to check the tire for any tears or punctures to avoid having to pull over on a long road trip.

The first thing to look for and beware of when you think you have a flat tire is when one specific tire starts to pull. When this starts to happen, you need to take control of the wheel with both hands and ease off the accelerator. Every movement should be gentle and deliberate, and then you can pull off the road safely. Be sure that you are pulling over to a safe space to be able to fully move around the car without getting hurt. Leave your hazard lights on and make sure you put the reflective triangles about 100 feet behind your car to warn other cars to be careful. Having an emergency kit in your car for yourself is really important as well. We recommend that you should have this in your personal emergency car kit.

The next part of this is how to change a tire. Once you have pulled off the road safely and turned on your hazard lights make sure that the parking brake is on. Put the wheel wedges, or any rocks or sticks, behind the tire opposite of the flat to prevent the car from rolling anywhere. So, if your front tire was flat, you’d put the wedge behind the back tires. Remove your hubcap or wheel cover using the owner’s manual to make sure you are properly removing it. Some cars hubcap just pops off and other cars have plastic nuts holding it in place. Using the lug wrench, loosen but don’t remove the lug nuts from the flat tire by just half of a turn.

Use the jack to bring the wheel up making sure there is enough room between the wheel and the ground and place the jack handle under the car to hold it there. Fully unscrew the lug nuts and remove the flat tire. Mount the spare tire on the wheel by lining up the holes with the bolts and place the lug nuts back onto the bolts in the shape of a star. Using the star method ensures that the tire will be on straight. Lower the vehicle and tighten the lug nuts again, next, removing the jack from under the car. Drive a mile or two and then pull over and tighten the lug nuts in the star pattern one more time and lastly check your tire pressure. For 100% safety always have your tires double checked by a professional, and if you’re using a donut tire, make sure not to use it for more than a day.

Changing your own flat tire is not that hard. It’s really just a few tools and some wrenching. The main thing to always double and triple check when changing your flat tire are the lug nuts. The main part of tire changing is making sure the lug nuts are on correctly. LA Insurance hopes that this article was helpful to you or someone you know. If you’d like more help with your car insurance, LA Insurance is offering down payments as low as $99.