Okay, I’ll be honest; the wearing heels part is just to add it some feminine flavor. The truth is, every woman should know how to change a tire and if you don’t, read up and bookmark this article – it’s a must have.
While most of my friends got handed keys to BMWs and brand new Jettas on their 16th birthdays, my dad handed me the keys to our family ’87 Jaguar on the condition I learn to change a tire. (He’d do the same ‘condition’ based gift when I’d end up getting a boot on my jaguar and needed a new car – learn to drive stick shift and you get an old Isuzu Amigo) Actually, looking back, I am so glad my dad did both conditions and chose those two cars.. but I digress. Let’s get into the good stuff.
How to change a tire
If you’re like me, you’ve watched one too many episodes of CSI and aren’t too keen on the idea of waving down help when you’re all alone and you get a flat tire. Assuming you’re a bad ass indie chick and have made sure to arm your car with a spare, we can move forward with the steps.
Step 1: Pull over, safely.
Don’t freak out. If your heart is pounding, utilize it and put yourself in survival mode. Pull over the second you see a safe area and give yourself room to move around. Find the flattest surface you can find.
In a moment of emergency, all I’m saying is try not to stop in the middle of the road or on a beautiful incline, rookie.
Step 2: Get your tools
In addition to your spare, you’ll need two tools: A jack and a lug wrench. (You should always have these in your car as well as jumper cables)
The wrench (on the left) can also just look like a stick or a crow bar with a hole. So don’t freak out if you don’t see one with 4 sticks in your drunk. Also, the jack can look like a mini land mower, too. The wrench is to remove and replace the big plugs (called lug nuts), and the jack is to raise your car while your sexy self removes and replaces the tire. Add a flashlight to your bad ass pack in your trunk in case you get a flat in the dark. (Because that happens, too).
Step 3: Make it easy
Grab your wrench and loosen the lug nuts – just loosen. Some cars have keys for lug nuts, I know my Isuzu did and not knowing the fact put a damper on my break out tire changing event (a feeling I quickly got over once everything was said and done!) This might be a little hard, put some oomph into it, use your feet and body weight if you have to. They’re put on tight.
After you loosen the lug nuts, it’s time to raise your vehicle. If your flat is in the front, place the jack behind the tire on the ridge of the body. If the flat is a back tire, place the jack in front of it (as seen below):
New jacks might be super powerful and just as efficient when placed in the middle… but most of us have the old school gear so let’s stick to the old school rules. The jack needs to securely raise your vehicle and hold it in place.
Step 4: Remove and Replace
Once your car is up about 6 or 7 inches, place your spare up against it so it’s easy to grab. Grab your wrench and completely remove all your lug nuts from the flat that is still attached. *See why we did it before the vehicle was up in the air?* Easy. Grab the tire at your 9 and 3 o’clock and pull it straight toward your chest until it’s off.
Grab your spare and position it so the holes align; Push it up into the car as close as possible. Put the lug nuts in and tighten them just enough to securely hold the tire in place, and lower your vehicle until it doesn’t rest on the jack (at all) anymore.
Now grab that wrench, and with the same effort you use to unscrew the lug nuts, make sure you tighten the hell out of them. Give it a lovely soft kick to ensure everything is nice and tight. If everything is a go, put your tools away and put your flat where your spare was.
!!! Look at you, indie chick! You’ve changed your first tire! Feels good, doesn’t it? What are some take aways here? Make sure you’ve got the tools in your car and that you always have a spare. I know, most of us will still call roadside assistance if we get a flat but this is vital knowledge to keep in your back pocket. You might get a flat where you have no reception to google or call for help. You might be alone and waving down a trucker while wearing your new year’s dress might not be your best idea. Lovely. Now, if I missed anything or anything above isn’t clear, PLEASE add or correct me in the section below. And by all means, ask a male friend or lover to show you the ropes. Getting a visual of it helps but believe me when I tell you it’s REALLY easy. When you do it the first time, you’ll be like “Wow! That was bad ass and totally easy. I’m hot.”