If you are a new driver, you probably haven’t had the opportunity to change a flat tire – at least yet.  If you drive for a number of years, the probability is quite high that you will get one at some point.  It’s virtually a right of passage for drivers.  For those that haven’t changed a flat, we asked the folks at Browns of Patchogue, NY, a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer, to give us some tips on how it’s done. Be Prepared It’s always a good idea to be prepared for automotive emergencies.  First, consider some common sense stuff like a first aid kit, a shovel for the winter and a set of jumper cables.  While you are at, if your your car is older, make sure you have everything for changing a flat tire on board.  This would be a spare tire, your car jack, and a lug wrench.  You’d be surprised how often this sort of stuff is taken out of a car and never put back in. Find a Safe Place to Stop OK, picture this: you are driving to work and all the sudden a tire goes out on you.  It’s not a subtle thing, the side of the car that the flat is on will drop down and you will hear a rapid fluttering sound. First thing to do is find a safe place to stop where you can pull off the road. Look for a parking lot or similar open area. If that’s not an option, make sure to pull as far over as you can to lessen the likelihood of getting struck by other traffic. Unpack With your vehicle safely parked, you now need to unpack your jack, spare and lug wrench. If you’re prepared, you’ll already be familiar with the location of this gear.  If not, consult your owner’s manual. First, remove the hubcap if it’s that’s blocking access to the lug nuts. Next, you want to break each lug nut loose BEFORE jacking. This is done with the lug wrench and turning each lug nut counter-clockwise just a half a turn or so. Jack‘er Up With the lug nuts loose, it’s now time to lift the vehicle up in the air. Consult your owner’s manual to see where to secure the jack on the car and start cranking. If you are on an incline, it’s best to put a large rock or piece of wood in front of a tire so the car can’t roll. While jacking your car or truck, make sure to lift it high enough that the wheel comes off the ground with plenty of clearance. Attach and Drop Now that the flat tire has been removed, it’s time to install the spare. Simply lift it up and push it into place, ensuring all the studs align with the rim’s openings. Next, spin the lug nuts on to the wheel studs finger tight. After this is done, ensure nothing is left underneath your vehicle, then carefully lower the jack down. With the jack safely out of the way, tighten the lug nuts (clockwise) with the lug wrench.  Make sure they are good and tight. Mind your Speed Finally, with everything put back in the car, you can continue on your way. But be warned, many compact spare tires are speed limited to around 50 miles an hour so take it easy getting to your final destination. Image Source: nissanofbowie.com
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