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How to Change a Tire

Changing a tire is one of those things everyone should know how to do. Sooner or later, an accident will happen, even through no fault of your own, and having the knowledge of how to change a tire can be a real lifesaver. The best part is—it’s really not as hard as it may seem.

For starters, you need tools: a jack, wrench, and spare tire, which should always be in your trunk for when they’re needed. Optional tools include a tire gauge, gloves, a flashlight, and tire blocks.

Should one of your tires go flat while on the road, just follow these simple steps:
  1. Pull over in a safe spot. Pick a flat place where incoming cars have a good view of you.
  2. Turn on your hazard lights, then get your tools out of the trunk.
  3. Loosen the lug nuts. Don’t remove them, just loosen them.
  4. Lift the vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended location for where to place the jack. Get the tire about 6 inches off the ground.
  5. Remove the lug nuts and pull the tire off. Place the lug nuts somewhere safe, where you can find them and where they won’t roll off!
  6. Place the spare on the car.
  7. Put on the lug nuts. Don’t tighten them— just screw them on enough that they’ll stay.
  8. Lower the car. And remove the jack, of course!
  9. Tighten the lug nuts.
  10. Put the flat tire and tools back in the trunk. Don’t forget anything on the side of the road!

How to Check Your Tire Pressure

Maintaining proper tire pressure ensures that your car rides better, in terms of comfort, safety, and efficiency. Checking tire pressure is a simple task that only requires a few tools. It can be done at virtually any time of the day, any time of the year. This simple maintenance can help you to get the best out of your car.

First, get the right tools. A simple tire pressure gauge can be found at any automotive store. Generally, gauges cost between $10 and $15. You may opt for a digital device; however, an analog gauge is often enough to do the trick as long as it is readable. You should wait to check pressure until your tires are cold, at least three hours from the last time you have driven.

The proper tire pressure, measured in pressure per square inch (psi) is usually written on a sticker on the driver’s side door jamb. If you can’t find it there, check the owner’s manual or a reliable online source. The psi listed on the tire itself is often the maximum amount—generally, you want less than this.

Over-inflation can cause tires to bulge, making them susceptible to blowouts. It also causes the tire to ride unevenly, wearing out the tread in the very middle of the tire. This can cause serious issues in the long run.

Under-inflation can cause unnecessary road friction. This will increase wear and tear, and it can also cause your car to be less comfortable on the road. Worst of all, under-inflated tires often cause a decrease in fuel economy because of the added friction.

How often should you check your tires? Try and check pressure at least once a month. Seasonal changes are also a good time to look at your tires, as temperatures affect pressure. A ten-degree change in temperature will increase or decrease pressure by 1 psi. Be sure to adjust accordingly.
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