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Old 01-01-2013, 01:28 PM   #21
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On the serious side one of the first things I do on a new vehicle is take a tire off. Better to learn in the barn than a muddy wet 2 track. And I always check the lug nuts after a Wally World tire install, so that I know my 4-way wrench can get them off.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:28 PM   #22
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Sesq....is your wife interested in doing a tire change entirely on her own? (on a flat surface, with as much time as she needs, and you at her side the entire time? ) Knowing she can do it on her own might just come in handy some day, and give her a boost of self confidence, as it did me.

Plenty of times I've watched my husband trouble shoot and fix things at our house. One day, he was out of town for a week and there was a sudden loss of water to the house. We have well water and a small pump house. I was so proud of myself when I figured out it was a minor problem with the pump switches that I was able to fix. I am an analytical type, so I've always asked a lot of "why" and "how" and "what if" when my husband was at wits end sometimes trouble shooting a problem. I must have been the worst pest at his side during those times, but it did come in handy later on when I was independently able to do what he considered a routine "fix".
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:30 PM   #23
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Definitely check your owner's manual for instructions. If nothing else, the manual will tell you where the reinforced points to place the jack are.

Regarding the spare on the front, I had a first gen Acura Legend which I simply could not put the spare on the front wheel. I don't remember how it prevented it, but I finally figured out that I would have to put it on the rear. No, I hadn't read the manual that time, and I had the car for less than a month (used car) when it happened.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:43 PM   #24
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I had a flat just before Christmas in NYC with a full sized pickup. I placed a call for roadside assistance and started to change the tire. I'm not an old man but I had my hands full. I would not recommend this to anyone without knowing their experience level. Too many things can go wrong from frozen lug nuts, stuck wheels, jack malfunctions, uneven ground, hazards etc. Anyway I got the job done and was on my way in about 20 minutes.
A couple hours later I got a call from my companys fleet service wanting to know if I still needed road service.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:54 PM   #25
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Changing tires on newer cars and trucks can be a royal PITA!!!!! A good many newer vehicles have "built-in" roadside assistance, or having membership in an auto club can prove to be priceless. I weigh my getting dirty, getting hit by a car or truck coming too fast or too close, the chance of the jack falling or kicking out and causing bodily harm, or my inability to break free the lug nuts, and I go the "let the professionals do it" route. And with cell phones or On Star for me it is a no brainer. Cheaper, faster, surer!!!!
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:56 PM   #26
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Some alternatives to the jacking and changing. Just my opinion...

Blowouts are not as common as punctures.
For punctures:

1. Spare in a can. Good option for tires that are losing air. Often, this can eliminate changing altogether. Keep an inexpensive compressor in the trunk. A good and simple way to check pressures without going to a garage.

2. A tire "plug" kit... about $5. Good if you can determine where the leak is. For use on the steel tread, not the sidewalls. Best to watch a video to see how to insert the plug.

Both of these "cures" eliminate the need for jacking and removing the wheel.

I have two tires that have been on our car for three years... One fixed with a plug, the other with a spare in a can.
.................................................. ......................

For changing wheels, especially with tight lug nuts, the nuts should be "broken" before raising the wheel to totally clear the ground. Sometimes, a lug wrench needs an extension to apply leverage.
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:21 PM   #27
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Like Midpack I have changed tires dozens of times, every fall I put on 4 snow tires and take them off in spring sometimes on 2 cars. I've seldom had a flat but I have changed a flat on the road a couple of times. If you don't know what you are doing and how to do it, changing a tire can be very dangerous. If you know what and how then it is easy.

It's amazing how many times I have seen idiots on the local interstate highways going 70-80 mph with a donut on the car!

One thing I disagree with is whether it can damage the transmission. I've owned a 4 wheel drive truck for 40 years and was very into off roading for the 1st 20 of those 40. One thing that was always stressed is NEVER use different size tires on a 4WD. This meant that all 4 tires should be the same manufacturer because a 7.50 X 16 tire made by say Cooper will be a little taller or shorter than say Goodyear. This can seriously effect the either the transmission or transfer case or both and maybe the differential as well. If you had rear wheel drive and had a mismatched tire on the front axle and did not use 4WD then you'd be ok. When tires are different sizes they rotate at different speeds and this can raise hell with differentials. So If you did this on a rear wheel drive or on a 4WD and used 4WD you were putting stress on the differential which would transmit that back to the transfer case and transmission.

Cars today are so different I don't know if this would apply to a new car on the driven wheels whether front or rear wheel drive. If your owners manual says don't do it then I definitely would not even if I had to swop tires to get the donut off the driven axle. If in doubt talk to the dealership.
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:39 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
If you don't have that jack inserted properly, and on solid ground, and the car on solid, level ground, you risk having it slip off the jack. That is all second nature for people familiar with doing this kind of thing, but it really isn't obvious for those who don't. Especially on ths side of the road, maybe in the dark.

A couple times when I've had to do it, the lug nuts were so tight I had to stand/jump on that wrench to get them loosened.
Having the jack straight and well positioned is critical, as we've all said. If you've done that, you can virtually eliminate any chance of the car slipping off the jack, or any risk of injury beyond lifting the wheel/tire.

Others know I'm sure, but the safe way to loosen/tighten lug nuts is to do it with the rubber still in contact with the ground. It is unsafe and unnecessary to loosen or tighten the lugnuts when it's cleared the ground completely, and it' harder because the wheel may spin on you, making it harder/less safe.

Start jacking up the car, but stop while the tire is still touching the ground. Then if you have to 'manhandle' the lugnuts, the car really can't fall, it just settles back on it's full weight. When they're all initially loosened, then jack the car up just enough to clear the wheel. Remove the wheel and put the spare on, put the lugnuts on hand tight making sure they are all seated on the wheel (there's always a recess for the lugnut shoulder). Then lower the car until the tread is in contact with the ground, but with the jack still bearing the cars weight. Now tighten all the lugnuts. Again, if the car slips off the jack, it's only going to "fall" about 1/4." (Thanks again for teaching me Dad).

And if you'd rather call someone, great. I just like to be as resourceful as I can, anymore who is physically able can do it safely, just practice in your garage at least once using the manual. You don't want to "learn" when your stuck in the middle of nowhere with a flat.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:12 PM   #29
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Wow! I've been out most of the day seeing family thinking that when I come back, there'd be about 5 or so responses, but now I see this is a very common topic. Thanks for all the great responses and tips.

Definitely, I believe is safety first before anything else. My approach is, if I would get a flat, and it's a dangerous area (such as no level location, or interstate), I'd be happy to call AAA, and let them hold onto my mancard until they get a tire changed

But if it's a nice day, and safe area, then that's another story.

Once again though, great tips everyone!
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:22 PM   #30
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Having the jack straight and well positioned is critical, as we've all said. If you've done that, you can virtually eliminate any chance of the car slipping off the jack, or any risk of injury beyond lifting the wheel/tire.

Others know I'm sure, but the safe way to loosen/tighten lug nuts is to do it with the rubber still in contact with the ground. It is unsafe and unnecessary to loosen or tighten the lugnuts when it's cleared the ground completely, and it' harder because the wheel may spin on you, making it harder/less safe.

Start jacking up the car, but stop while the tire is still touching the ground. Then if you have to 'manhandle' the lugnuts, the car really can't fall, it just settles back on it's full weight. ....
I wasn't talking about the car slipping if you had to fight the lug nuts (as you say, the weight is on the wheels at this point) - I'm talking about the possibility of having to stand on the lug wrench, and the person slipping off.

I've had 'em tight enough that I've had to do that, and it can be pretty awkward, could be a dark and stormy night.

Quote:
And if you'd rather call someone, great. I just like to be as resourceful as I can, anymore who is physically able can do it safely, just practice in your garage at least once using the manual. You don't want to "learn" when your stuck in the middle of nowhere with a flat.
Yes, but as a practical matter, it comes down to this (for me):

1) Will DW remember these steps if/when the time comes (maybe many years from now)?

2) I don't rally trust her judgement as to what is stable or not for a car and a jack - as I said, this might seem obvious for most of us, but some people just don't have that 'knack'.

3) What are the odds of getting a flat anyway - the only one she had was in our garage, so I changed it. And if she does, odds are she is close to home and can call me.

It's good to be resourceful, but in picking my battles, this one just isn't worth it (again, for me). People should judge for themselves, but I'll say it again - if someone isn't good with mechanical stuff, this can be trickier than it seems. And practice under ideal conditions might not translate to the soft shoulder on the side of the road - might even make the person over-confident.

Just a little frame of reference for that mechanical 'knack' - I have a pretty good feel for how much torque to apply to a screw w/o stripping it, depending if it is in metal (aluminum or steel?), wood (solid, end grain or flat, hardwood or softwood, particle board, etc). I don't know how to tell someone what I just feel from experience. I think some of that applies to a car on a jack.

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Old 01-01-2013, 09:17 PM   #31
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I've changed quite a few tires, though only one I can think of in the past several years. I had quite a knack for finding nails and screws to run over in my youth.

Another hazard I haven't seen mentioned is that sometimes the bad tire has parts of the steel belting poking out and can really cut your hands if you're not aware.

I was considering getting AAA or a similar service, then I had the idea to call my insurance agent and ask if I had any roadside coverage with them. Yes, I do...in my case I can be reimbursed up to a certain amount ($80? can't recall, but it seemed to be the going rate for service calls).

I'm only 42, but there is a rather low bar now for comfort and hassle over which I would go ahead and call for roadside service. My last tire change was my Mom's Prius. It went flat while we were sitting at a traffic light after exiting the freeway, so we only had 2-3 blocks to go to pull into a gas station parking lot. It was evening and dark, but the weather was nice enough so I went ahead and changed the tire myself. I almost always block a ground wheel to prevent rolling, and I round a rock or log or something to do so in this case. The steel belts were sticking out all over the place, but I knew to look for it and used some towels to safely take off the wheel/tire.

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Changing tires is very risky due to other drivers not paying attention and hitting you or your car. The first thing I do is get my car as far away from traffic as possible, even if that means ruining the current tire.
Definitely. Screw the wheel and tire. Get (slowly) to a safe place and/or call for service. I recall one freeway-side roadside service instance (think it was a relative, and I drove out to assist and got there before service) where the tow truck driver called out another tow truck to park a few hundred feet behind us and partially blocking the right lane with the light bar on to protect the service guy while working alongside the road.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:02 PM   #32
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I've found that the cross-style lug wrenches do a much better job of loosening overtorqued lugs (thanks, Pep Boys!) than the factory L-shaped wrenches, and it's also easier to get the lugs properly tightened with a wrench like this. As a bonus, the different sized wrench ends will let you give someone else a hand who needs to change a tire but can't loosen the lugs with the factory wrench.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:12 PM   #33
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Sesq....is your wife interested in doing a tire change entirely on her own? (on a flat surface, with as much time as she needs, and you at her side the entire time? ) Knowing she can do it on her own might just come in handy some day, and give her a boost of self confidence, as it did me.
I hear you and she is a pretty capable person. I have no doubt that she could handle it in a pinch. That said, if in civilization, with cell service, well, you know how it goes.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:11 AM   #34
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Here's a good video on the process with many of the points that folks here have mentioned:

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Old 01-02-2013, 12:31 AM   #35
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Here's a good video on the process with many of the points that folks here have mentioned:
Ack! He didn't set the brake or chock a ground tire...that vehicle is moving way too much. That is how cars come off of jacks and hurt people.

I have used the jack-under-the-lugnut-wrench trick before, but I wouldn't recommend it. There is too much danger of the wrench violently disengaging and hurting you.

I've never had the wheel stuck to the hub, but driving with loose lugnuts isn't something I'd recommend or even try. The text says keep it under 15mph. 15! I wouldn't go faster than a geriatric with a walker if I tried this, which I wouldn't. 15 mph is faster than you can run.

I'd call for freakin' service, even if I paid $80 out of pocket.

My mom and aunt drove from Texas to Alaska earlier this year. Knowing how remote parts of the Alcan highway are she bought a couple of full-size wheels and tires for spares for the trip. (They sold the car on Craigslist when they got there and then flew back. That was their plan from the start.)
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:13 AM   #36
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Yea, blocking the wheel is a good thing. Especially if on a 10% grade. Like the long hill I had a blowout on with my suburban.

Just need to remember to block the downhill roll tendency.

It is also helpful to learn early on where the jack and tools are hidden. In the case of a suburban not intuitive. THe tools are in the armrest for the third row seat.

By the way, a torque amplifier is helpful for stubborn power tool installed lug nuts. Torque amplifier, you say? There waere times I had to use it and step on it and bounce a few times with all my weight to get the nut loose. Yes a two foot piece of pipe that fits on the factory or aftermarket lug wrench. Just don't use it for tightening.

See, the lug nuts on an the suburban are torqued to 120 foot pounds. The Jag is 75 foot pounds. I do all of my tire rotations and winter tire/wheel installs. However, when the vehicle is in for safety inspection, they pull all four wheels to check for brake drum or rotor wear. Then they do not necessaryly use a torque wrench to set the lug nuts. In spite of the fact that I hand them a note with the torque spec, and and in capital letters written HAND TORQUE.
I alway use a torque wrench for final settings. No chance of flange leaks on on brake rotors or drums.

Oh and I do keep a pair of work gloves and some paper towel with the tire changing tools.

Yes, I realize for many the best tire changing technique is using a cell phone and a credit card.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:20 AM   #37
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I wasn't talking about the car slipping if you had to fight the lug nuts (as you say, the weight is on the wheels at this point) - I'm talking about the possibility of having to stand on the lug wrench, and the person slipping off.
You opened the post I quoted by talking about the car slipping off the jack, and I've seen lots of people make the mistake of wrestling with lugnuts after (unsafe & unnecessary) jacking the wheel completely off the ground. But "I understand, I was just broadening the conversation." Sound familiar...
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:36 AM   #38
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Ack! He didn't set the brake or chock a ground tire...that vehicle is moving way too much. That is how cars come off of jacks and hurt people.

I have used the jack-under-the-lugnut-wrench trick before, but I wouldn't recommend it. There is too much danger of the wrench violently disengaging and hurting you.

I've never had the wheel stuck to the hub, but driving with loose lugnuts isn't something I'd recommend or even try. The text says keep it under 15mph. 15! I wouldn't go faster than a geriatric with a walker if I tried this, which I wouldn't. 15 mph is faster than you can run.

I'd call for freakin' service, even if I paid $80 out of pocket.

My mom and aunt drove from Texas to Alaska earlier this year. Knowing how remote parts of the Alcan highway are she bought a couple of full-size wheels and tires for spares for the trip. (They sold the car on Craigslist when they got there and then flew back. That was their plan from the start.)
I found the video quite informative.

Though he did show things, like you mentioned, teaching folks "just enough to be dangerous" as they say.

On the video, he did say to use the park brake. Whether the brake was engaged, when the car was moving, we don't really know. At that time, the car was on the ground and not on the jack.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:48 AM   #39
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Some alternatives to the jacking and changing. Just my opinion...

Blowouts are not as common as punctures.
For punctures:

1. Spare in a can. Good option for tires that are losing air. Often, this can eliminate changing altogether. Keep an inexpensive compressor in the trunk. A good and simple way to check pressures without going to a garage.

2. A tire "plug" kit... about $5. Good if you can determine where the leak is. For use on the steel tread, not the sidewalls. Best to watch a video to see how to insert the plug.

Both of these "cures" eliminate the need for jacking and removing the wheel.

I have two tires that have been on our car for three years... One fixed with a plug, the other with a spare in a can.
.................................................. ......................

For changing wheels, especially with tight lug nuts, the nuts should be "broken" before raising the wheel to totally clear the ground. Sometimes, a lug wrench needs an extension to apply leverage.


Be careful with the spare in a can..... they are not good on the tire pressure monitors on all new vehicles... at least that is what the tire store has said...


Also, a plug repair is not the best... it is better to take it to the tire store and have them put a patch on the inside.... here, Discount Tire does it for free even if you did not buy from them....
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:41 PM   #40
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We have always bought a cross-bar style of lug wrench and kept it in each vehicle. I now have a couple of American-size spare wrenches, with the change to metric. For the trucks I use a wider cross-bar wrench as compared to cars.

Those little doughnut spare tires scare me. We have only one. I do not like crawling under the rear bumper and holding the chuck on it as I fill it to 65 PSI. I have this fear of it exploding and maiming me. May eventually get a full-size wheel and tire for it. When rotating tires I tried putting a regular road wheel up into the carrier, there is space for one. A fleet package had them.

A doughnut spare on the front of a FWD car will have the spider gears in the differential whizzing around fast, a perpetual turn. But don't have to worry about friction-plate wear of a limited-slip differential, as none of the front diffs are limited-slip.

Off topic... have you heard the media report that someone was "beaten with a tire iron"? They think a lug wrench is a tire iron. Sheesh, clueless. Maybe we need to go out to the barn and find an old tire spoon, and go at them with it

Back on topic - Finding the correct point to jack up a unibody car/suv CAN be difficult. Best to know it and try it out in good conditions, rather than flipping through the owners manual some night.

Bumper Jacks. Now THERE was a real jack That's where I learned. Break lug nuts free first, or it would fall off. No shaking around. block wheel(s). Those bumper jacks were a test. Needed solid footing for the base plate, and with sagging springs the bumper would go up, and up, and up, and still the wheel didn't come off the ground. Till right at the top of the jack! Ah, ya just need a shim board under there, that'll fix it.

Tire Repair - I have used the "rope" type of plugs for years with no problems. I have had only one leak, and that was one near the edge of the tread on a FWD car front wheel (and I had some doubts at the time when I was doing it). I re-plugged it, and moved it to a rear wheel, where it was fine. The old style true plugs I think disappeared off the market, I never used those.
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