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Automotive 101 – Changing a Tire

Changing a tire on your vehicle may seem like a simple task, but there is an order of operation that can make the job much easier. Also, I have compiled a few safety tips to ensure that nobody gets hurt in the process. Changing tires can be very difficult, especially if you keep buying cheap tires every time. That’s why, before going further i recommend you buy a good set of tires such as the Falken Wildpeak A/T3W or the Hankook Optimo H724. Enough talking, let’s get into the tutorial.

Loosen the Lugs

This should be done before the vehicle is jacked up. Once the tire is in the air, breaking the lugs loose can be difficult or impossible. You may be in luck if the e-brake works on the wheel you are changing, but it is good to get into the habit of breaking them free while the tire is on the ground. Also, be sure to use the correct sized lug wrench so they don’t strip!

Jack the Vehicle Up

Now it is time to jack up the vehicle. Make sure the jack hits a sturdy point on the frame, and that it is centered well. If it’s a little crooked, the vehicle can actually fall off, which is obviously less than good. Move the handle slowly and deliberately to ensure that the jack doesn’t slip.

Always Use Jack Stands!

This is very important! If you are working on the vehicle when the jack decides to fail, it could seriously injure or kill you. Place at least one jack stand under the frame of the vehicle, near the tire to be changed, and slowly let the jack down until the frame is actually resting on the stand. This protects you completely from failing jacks.

Change the Tire

Now that the vehicle is safely resting on the jack stands and the lugs are loose, it is time to get that wheel off. Simply unscrew the lug nuts all the way, and pull the tire straight toward you. When it leaves the studs, just let it gently fall to the ground with your hands on it (some systems have lug bolts instead of nuts, but the process is the same). Roll the tire away from the work area and into a safe resting place for a bit. Then place the spare tire on the studs, and replace the lug nuts. Get the lugs finger tight, and then hit them slightly with the lug wrench. You’ll finish tightening them on once the vehicle is lowered.

Lower the Vehicle

Now that the tire situation is good again, it’s time to get it on the ground. Jack the vehicle up just a tad, and remove the jack stand. With the stand safely out of the way, slowly lower the jack until the vehicle is resting fully on its suspension. TIGHTEN THE LUG NUTS RIGHT AWAY! If you put stuff away and do other things, there is a chance you will forget and drive off. This is also never good.

Also recommended for the tire changing process are heavy work gloves at the very least. There is a lot that could go wrong in those steps, and so keeping a pair of good gloves in the vehicle is cheap insurance against injury.



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