Living way up North where we do, we have to learn to be a little more self sufficient when it comes to some things that we take for granted. Ladies, this is especially true for us. Being in a more remote area certainly has its benefits; peace, quiet, no traffic, and many miles of backroads. If you’re not prepared thought, you can find yourself quite literally in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire, no cell coverage to call for help, and it could be hours before someone drives by. Ask me how I know this!!! I wish I had walked through these simple steps before I found myself 7 miles down a forest road with a nice flat tire and absolutely no kind folks passing by.
Now, talking about making major repairs by yourself, but knowing ahead of time how to change a tire safely gives you a huge advantage. Follow these few tips BEFORE you actually need them:
- Study your car’s owner manual: If you never cracked open the owners manual, when you’re in the middle of a situation like a flat tire, is not the time. So, go ahead and open your glove box and pull that book out. Find the section on changing your tire. Read it through first. Then, go back and read it again.
- Locate the Necessary Tools: Refer to your owners manual and find where they have hidden the jack, spare tire, and other tools you’ll need to change your tire. Again, its better to check out off of this BEFORE you need it. I found out when I was almost 7 miles down a forest road that in order to put part of my jack together I need a screwdriver. Did the manufacturer include one of those in my kit? Absolutely not.....and believe me, its hard to dig through your purse to find something that may or may not be a decent substitution for a real screwdriver.
- Practice setting up your Jack: Figure out NOW, in your driveway or garage, where you should place the Jack. Don’t forget to set the parking brake on your vehicle. (This is a great safety tip!). I don’t know about you, but the pictures in my owner’s manual just don’t work for me. I get my husband, son, friend, to show me exactly where that darn jack needs to be placed. While you’re at it, make sure you know how to operate the jack. My Toyota has some weird jack; well, at least to me it was. Once I saw how it was supposed to operate, I thought “well, I can do that”
- Practice removing your spare: Do you know where your spare tire is? Do you know how to remove it? Some spares are easily accessible inside the trunk of your care. Others, like mine, require using a tool to lower the tire from underneath the vehicle and unhooking it. Know where it is and how to get to it.
- Practice Removing and Replacing a Tire: Once you know how where all of the tools are, how to operate and place your jack, and how to access your spare, try changing a tire. Do this at home where you have “back-up” in case you run into an issue. You might be thinking “oh this will be easy” or “I know how to do that”. But wouldn’t you rather figure it all out in a new environment and not in an emergency situation?