It seems like the more terrible the day is, the more likely you are to get a flat tire. As a Millennial, I believe that knowing how to change a tire in a case of emergency is one of the most important skills to acquire, even though most of my peers would have no clue what to do if you handed them a car jack. In a moment of desperation, you call AAA, but if they are busy, they will tell you that they are able to swing by in about three hours or so. Instead of reacting by screaming absurdities, and calling favorite friends and family members to express your woes, breathe in deep, and tackle the task yourself. Regardless of your age or experience with cars, you should know the proper steps to change your tire safely.
What you need to change a tire (a.k.a. what you should always have in the trunk of your car), is a car jack, spare tire, and a wrench that fits your lug nuts. When you have the basic necessary tools, changing a tire only takes a few steps and a few minutes.
The First Step
Safely pull over to the side of the road and turn your car off. Take this time to inspect your car and ensure that you are in a safe pull-off location. Place the car jack under the flat tire and crank it up. Remove the lug nuts with the handy-dandy wrench you already have and replace the tire. Make sure you count the lug nuts you remove and keep track of how many you put on! Double check that the lug nuts are secure, and lower the jack. After you put your spare tire and equipment away, you can go on with your day. (Remember to switch out your spare eventually!)
A very helpful resource is, of course, the worldwide web. There are thousands of YouTube tutorials out there. While there are videos for each level of understanding, I suggest looking them up (and bookmarking them), before you even think you need them. Here are three of our favorites:
In some instances, it is extremely dangerous to break down on the side of the road. If you happen to break down on a small road in a small town, odds are some type of Good Samaritan will stop by. But, if you are traveling in larger cities like New York, you may find yourself on your own. Do not be frightened if you engage in a battle against crude and disrespectful locals. By studying up on car mechanics and perhaps taking a defensive driving course, NY city and other unfriendly cities will become easier to conquer.
There are some reminders that can be easily remembered in the time of need to help you prevent future flats. Be careful to check tires regularly, even though it is annoying. You can usually tell when something is up with your tires. If you can’t run a penny through the tracks, get to a mechanic. Write down when you put new tires on your car so you can easily remember when one needs to be replaced.
We may have not been handed a rule book for changing a tire, but we can be proactive and greet adulthood responsibly. With our unlimited access to knowledge, quite literally at our fingertips, it is beneficial to utilize it rather than become complacent with it. If we prepare ourselves accordingly, we can act quickly and not have the entire day ruined.
When changing a tire, no matter your skill set, it is important to come prepared. With your preparation and tools already taken care of, you can remain calm just by remembering these easy steps.