The Proper Way to Change a Flat Tire Module 3 Technical Communication Dr. Cari Ogden Brian Williford February 20, 2011 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction...3 List of Materials.....4 Directions.5 Trouble Shooting.9 Introduction As a police officer for the last twenty-six years, I have continually been amazed at the amount of people that have no idea how to change a flat tire. Whether they are young or old, there is a large majority of people that are driving vehicles every day that have no idea what to do when they have a flat tire. The purpose of these instructions is to describe the procedure for safely changing a flat tire on any vehicle for anyone who finds themselves in the unfortunate situation of having a flat. My goal is that these instructions will be simple to use and easier to understand than what is in your vehicle manual. I also want to emphasize doing this in a safe manner because it can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. List of Materials Jack Typically located in the trunk of your vehicle, you may need to consult your vehicle instruction manual to locate. 4-way Lug Wrench A 4-Way Lug Wrench is not required but it does make changing a flat tire easier because it allows more torque when loosening or tightening the lug nuts. A regular wrench is included with your vehicle jack. Spare Tire The spare tire is normally in the trunk of your vehicle. However, on SUVs and pick-ups the spare tire may be located under the vehicle. In order to remove the spare tire from the under carriage of the vehicle, you need to make sure that you have parked in an area that will allow you safety while removing the spare. Directions Exit the roadway to an area that is a safe distance from traffic and where the ground is level. If you have wheel chocks, it is wise to place these on the tire opposite of the flat. Set your emergency brake and flashers; Remove jack and wrench; Locate and remove spare tire from vehicle before lifting the vehicle with the jack; I If there is a hubcap, remove it. Use the appropriate wrench size to loosen the lug-nuts while the tire is still on the ground. Do not remove the lug nuts completely from the tire until you have raised the vehicle off the ground; Assemble jack; Place the jack on the same side of the vehicle as the flat tire; Adjust your jack to a location conducive to lifting the frame of the vehicle. There is typically a notch beneath the doors on the frame of the vehicle where you are to place the jack. If you have difficulty finding this notch, consult your vehicle manual; Begin turning the jack handle clockwise until you make contact with the vehicle. Continue to turn the handle clockwise until the tire leaves the ground approximately two inches; Finish loosening and remove lug-nuts from the tire and place in a location that they wont get lost; Remove tire from vehicle. If tire will not slide free, you may need to lift the vehicle more; Place spare on the wheel base by lining up the lug-nut stems; Secure tire on the wheel by screwing lug-nuts into place. Tighten the lug-nuts using the lug wrench as much as possible with the vehicle in the air. It is best if you screw the lug-nuts in a star pattern (shown below) as opposed to a circle; Release jack so spare tire will make contact with the ground. You release the jack by turning the wrench counter clockwise; Before pulling jack from under the vehicle, make sure that the lug-nuts are tightened as much as possible; Congratulations! You have successfully changed a flat tire. Make sure that you gather all of the equipment that you used to change the tire. Troubleshooting Your car manual will have specific instructions on how to set up your jack and where to place it on the car. Never crawl under your vehicle when it is up on a jack. If you have them, it is wise to place jack stands under the vehicle to stabilize it more. To prevent yourself from being unprepared, it is always best to familiarize yourself with your vehicle before anything bad happens. Consult your vehicle manual on changing a flat tire and where to locate the necessary equipment. It is always best to test using the wrench on the lug nuts before you are in a situation that you have to. A 4-way lug wrench is always best because it allows you the torque that you will need to loosen the lug nuts. If you dont have one of these, you can always get a two or three foot pipe that can slide onto the lug wrench to create a T to provide torque. Correct placement of the jack is the most important step in changing a flat tire. Always place the jack on the frame of the vehicle because no other part of the vehicle will support the weight without damaging the vehicle. Always remember to loosen the lug nuts while the tire is on the ground. If you do this after you have raised the vehicle, the tire will spin and you will not be able to loosen them. Make sure when you remove the flat that you place it in a secure area so it does not roll into traffic and cause an accident. Remember, if you have a small donut tire as a spare, they are not to be driven more than 50 miles. PRACTICE changing a flat tire before you have a flat. This will give you an idea what to expect and allow you to place any extra equipment (i.e. gloves, blanket, pipe, flares, wheel chocks, etc.) in your vehicle. Remember that not all vehicles are the same and it is important to familiarize yourself with any vehicle you drive on a regular basis.