All Woman

VIDEO: Change a tyre like a pro

By PATRICK FOSTER All Woman writer fosterp@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, April 09, 2012    

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GETTING a flat tyre is a constant possibility as long as there are roads and vehicles. Most everyone has a cellphone and in the event of a flat it's the first tool that should come into play. Call someone, not necessarily to get help, but definitely to let someone know what has happened and where you are. Slowly drive the vehicle to a spot which is flat and apply the emergency brakes. Then get to work.

Incidentally, always be sure that proper tools are in the car and you know exactly where they are located -- under the spare tyre in the trunk or in a special compartment depending on the vehicle -- a working jack, jack handle and lug tool should always be ready. And always check the spare periodically to be sure that it's inflated.

Changing a flat is a dirty job so keep a pair of gloves handy. Having hand sanitiser and wipes in the car is also a good idea, and not only when it comes to changing a flat tyre.

You may also want to have a pair of sneakers or work shoes to avoid doing the job in heels.

Here are the steps to follow:

1. When the changing the flat tyre the first line of action is finding stones or something sturdy to ensure that the car won't run back. Place the stones especially behind and in front of the tyre on the side with the punctured tyre.

2. Then it's on to heavy work removing the lugs. Always loosen the lug nuts before jacking up the vehicle. Your full body weight may very well be required in loosening each lug by simply using your foot to press down counterclockwise on the lug tool. Having partially cracked the lug nuts, four or five depending on the vehicle, then it's time to jack up the vehicle.

3. It's recommended to place the jack on a flat piece of wood if the ground is wet or has gravel to prevent it slipping. Find the position underneath the vehicle designed for the jack and wind it up by hand until it fits snugly in place, then use the handle to continue.

4. Lift the car until the flat tyre is off the ground.Completely remove the lug nuts and place them where they won't get lost. Pull the wheel off.

5. Mount the spare tyre, making sure the air valve is facing out. You may have to raise the jack a little higher to compensate for the difference between the flat and inflated tyre. Replace each lug nut by hand, turning it clockwise for a few threads then use the lug tool to fit them firmly in place. Let down the jack and all that's left is using the lug tool to securely tighten all the lug nuts, put away the tools and drive to the nearest tyre shop to have your tyre patched.

Oh, and always remember to remove the stones before attempting to drive away.

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