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How to Change a Flat Tire
By Stephen Bucaro
Few things are as inconvenient as getting a flat tire. It can make you late for an appointment, and when you do arrive, you are either frazzled or filthy from experience. If you don't know how to change a tire, experience is made much worse by having to wait for someone to come to your assistance.
Most women couldn't care less about workings of a motor vehicle and how to change a tire. Unfortunately most modern men are as helpless in this respect as most women. I refer to men who can't change their own flat tire as, pardon expression, "girly-boys".
In this article I will provide simple instructions to prepare you for inevitable inconvenience of getting a flat tire. Anyone can easily change a tire, even a woman or a girly-boy. But first lets talk about how to avoid getting a flat tire in first place.
One way to get a flat tire is when a nail or other sharp object penetrates your tire. In old days this would cause your tire to go flat within seconds. Today's modern steel belted radial tires usually just develop a slow leak when penetrated. Even if not penetrated by a sharp object, a tire will gradually lose its air pressure. The way to avoid inconvenience of getting a flat tire is to check all your tires air pressure regularly.
Today's modern steel-belted radial tires bulge out at side a little even when they have proper pressure, so you can't tell by just looking at them if they have proper pressure. You need to use a tire pressure gauge. Gauges come in two main types. One type has a rod that comes jetting out at end. The other type has a dial. In either case you use gauge by removing little plastic cap from tire's air valve and quickly pushing valve end of gauge onto tire valve.
You will get a little "hiss" when you do this. If you did it correctly, gauge will give an accurate indication of tires air pressure. Sometimes it takes a little practice to get an accurate reading. Compare reading you get with maximum psi (pounds per square inch) written on sidewall of tire. Car tires usually have a maximum of 32 psi. Full size light truck tires can have a maximum of 80 psi.
If air pressure is too low, there is a risk of tire breaking lose from wheel. This would cause dangerous rapid deflation of tire. When a car tire's pressure gets below about 24 psi you risk rapid deflation. If pressure is too high, there is a risk of tread separating from steal belt. This can also cause rapid deflation, but usually it just gives you a very bumpy ride.
The way to avoid getting a flat tire is to check air pressure in all your tires regularly. By "regularly" I mean at least once each month. By "all your tires" I mean including spare. It is very common for a person to remove a flat from their vehicle just to learn that their spare is also flat.
If you find one of your tires has low pressure, you need to pump it up to proper value. Air pumps come in two main types. One type has a cord with a plug that goes into your cars cigarette lighter. The other type has a cord that plugs into an AC outlet.
The cigarette lighter type has advantage that you can carry it in your car and possibly re-inflate a flat tire at side of road, saving messy job of changing tire for later. The disadvantage is that they work very slowly and can draw down a cars battery. The AC power cord type has advantage that it can fill tires more quickly, but it‘s rare to find an AC outlet at side of road.
Possibly most important thing to know about tires, is what to do if you get a flat while speeding down expressway. The most important thing NOT to do is slam on breaks! This is a common cause of roll-overs. Just let your foot off gas and look for a level area at side of road to pull off.
People that don't know how to change a tire frequently keep driving on flat tire, in search of a service station, until tire is totally shredded. Then instead of paying ten dollars to fix a flat, they have to pay a hundred dollars for a new tire. Fortunately after you use information in this article, you won't get caught in that situation.
To fix a flat tire you have to jack up car and replace flat tire with your spare tire. Unfortunately many people don't even know where jack is, and some don't even know how to get spare out. Don't wait until you're stranded by side of road to start looking for your jack and figuring how to get spare out.