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How To Change a Flat Tire for Dummies

A flat tire is usually unexpected.  It also never happens on a leisurely Sunday afternoon drive.  You’re either headed to a client presentation, a final exam or catching a flight from O’Hare.

According to Road and Travel Magazine, “Tire related issues caused 1 million motorists to require roadside assistance during three summer months.” The inconvenience of a flat tire does not have to make or break an appointment.  If you should happen to break down you’ll be ready to handle a flat tire. Tony Delorto, Co-owner/Fabricator at A-Spec Motorsports, has six steps that are fool proof.

1. Loosen lug nuts of damaged wheel. In almost every new car there is a safety kit inside.  This contains the tools you need to fix a flat tire. Take the wrench to loosen the lug nuts on the flat tire.  The lug nuts are the screws that hold the tire onto the brakes and are located in the center of the wheel.  Take the wrench and align it to loosen the screws.

    2. Fetch carjack and lift car off the ground. This might seem difficult but keep the carjack stable and you can lift the car off the ground. Depending on which tire needs replacement, attach the bottom side of the jack underneath the bottom of the car on a pinch weld. For the car illiterate the pinch weld is the flanked metal ends under the wheel. Twist the jack slowly and the car will begin to lift off the ground.

    3. Remove lug nuts from wheel and remove damaged wheel. Take the wrench and remove lug nuts completely from the wheel that needs replacement.  Gently lift and pull the tire off the hub.

    4. Replace with spare tire and insert lug nuts in new wheel. Insert the spare into the tire spot and insert lug nuts into the new wheel. Do not tighten the lug nuts completely but make sure they are snug.

    5. Tighten lug nuts with a star wrench then lower car from the jack. Use the wrench to tighten the lug nuts completely into the new wheel. The jack will need to be twisted in the opposite direction it was used to be lifted.

    6. Clean up and put damaged tire in trunk. Visit your local tire store as soon as possible. Be cautious of leaving the spare tire on for too long.  They are usually smaller than a normal tire and have less tread unless brand new. According to Tony, “Spare tires that are left on for too long raise the risks of losing control of the vehicle.” Periodically you should also check on the spare tire prior to needing it. Tony said, “Dry rotting and tire pressure are common when a tire has not been used.”

    Watch this video for more information on lifting a car on a jack.


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    The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.