My tires. Kind of a saga. I spent the morning at Les Schwab yesterday getting my tires looked over. They won’t hold air. And by that I mean the pressure slowly decreases and I have to drive on a low pressure tire every other week. Yesterday I was told the tires were fine but they needed to be replaced within a month because the wear bars were showing. Oxymoron, I know. But the wear bars showing is a different issue than the low pressure.
I planned to switch tires this weekend when I had more time but this morning when I went to leave, a different tire had a flat. Like a legit flat, not a low tire.
Easy peasy. Or not. Les Schwab charges $48 to change a flat. Apparently I don’t have roadside assistance through GEICO, even though I saved 15% or more by switching (all lies; I’ve been with GEICO since well before Cave Men discovered them). I called two other tire centers and one never called back, and the other lost connection in the middle of my conversation. So that was that.
It was elbow grease time.
Here’s my manual for changing a flat.
1. Be sure you’re in a safe place, even if you have to drive on the flat just a little bit. You need secure ground beneath the car, and you yourself need to be safe.
2. Get the spare and jack, plus wrench and other tools out of your trunk. Make sure the spare is in working order. It should be. I suggest adding a can of WD40 to your spare “kit” because that’s the only way I could get my lug nuts loose. And gloves. Because it was cold and dirty. Like really dirty. And only a little cold. I’m a Vermonter. My blood is as thick as maple syrup.
3. Loosen the lug nuts before engaging the jack. Just loosen. Don’t take them off. Once the car is jacked, the wheel is loose and free moving; this makes loosening tight lug nuts impossible. Otherwise it’s just difficult.
4. Spray the lug nuts with WD40 and then apply the lug wrench to the lug, parallel to the ground. Brace yourself and stand on the wrench and slightly bounce to loosen. Repeat this on all lugs, keeping them on, but loose.
5. Jack up the car. Use instructions on the jack where to place it safely. And jack slowly at first until you know you have a solid grip on the car frame and the ground. Jack until wheel moves freely. My flat today caused my tire to no longer be round, so it took more jacking.
6. Once the car is jacked, remove all lugs. If you used WD40, be sure to wipe off excess before replacing.
7. The wheel should easily come right off.
8. Just kidding.
9. Stop trying to call for help. You have every tool you need. A foot that can kick; use it. I was wasting time trying to wiggle the tire loose with no luck. Finally I got pissed, kicked the tire and yelled, “[insert F bomb]! I have somewhere to be!” And it came loose.
10. Now, celebrate.
11. Put the spare in place, and put the lugs on, loosely at first. Once all are on, tighten them down.
12. Slowly release jack until car is safely back on the ground.
13. Plan to have your tire changed over to an appropriately sized one as soon as possible. The little donut isn’t meant to be a long term solution.
14. Celebrate. It feels really good to be independent!