Changing a Tire: Car Maintenance that Anyone Can Perform

Automobiles are meant to have some maintenance that must be performed by the owner. This comes in the form of having the owner make sure to change certain parts as regular intervals, such as air filters, which are very easy to change and can be done in under 90 seconds on most vehicles. It also includes making sure to keep an eye on mileage when taking a car in for an oil change or changing the oil one’s self. Of course, giving your neighbor a jump start from your battery and changing a tire are probably the 2 most common “repairs” that one will come across when dealing with unexpected problems with a vehicle.

Giving or receiving a jump start simply requires a second vehicle or a battery booster and a pair of jumper cables. The cables must be hooked up to the appropriate ends of the battery terminal, and are usually color-coded “red” for positive and “black” for negative or ground. The vehicle with the dead battery simply restarts the vehicle while connected to the host car, and the drained car will start and charge the dead battery via the alternator while running. When this occurs, it is important to leave the car running and drive it a decent distance of at least 5-10 miles before turning it off in order to give the battery sufficient time to receive a charge from the alternator for the next start. Failure to give the battery the appropriate time to charge will result in a car that refuses to start the next time it is driven, just the same as before. However, as long as the battery is still good and able to hold a charge and as long as the car is driven for a few minutes, you will not have to worry about it going dead again unless you inadvertently forget to turn an accessory item off again and drain it for a second time.

Now, changing a tire is just as simple, as long as you come prepared with a floor jack and a spare time at all times. In fact, no one should drive a car without these necessary items, because driving comes with so many hazards. If you bought your car new, it will come with a best floor jack, but most people have much better experiences by purchasing a $30-dollar hydraulic floor jack with crank handle from an auto parts store. These jacks make it much easier to make these emergency changes, and provide a much more stable platform to work with. Now, to change a flat tire, simply find a secure spot on the frame of your car and allow the jack head to make contact with the frame when cranking it up into the air. Break the seal on the lug nuts before you get the car into the air. Crank the car up to a height that you know will allow for clearance of the spare tire. Once this is done, finish removing the lug nuts and remove the flat tire. Slide the spare on and tighten the lugs back onto the wheel. Lower the floor jack and remove it from underneath the vehicle. That’s all there is to it!

These are just a couple of do-it-yourself car repairs. There are others that range from easy to others — like changing transmission gasket and fluid — that are a bit more difficult but can still be done at home. It all depends on what your limits are for working with a car on your own, as well as how much money you are attempting to save. If you are able to stand the work, you will find that working on your own vehicle can be fun, a learning experience, and much more affordable than you think!