to Your New Life In Canada & the USA
Changing your vehicle's tires
Practise changing tires, so that you can easily do
that in emergencies. However, never change on a hill or in icy conditions or when you are not sufficiently away from traffic.
Make sure that the engine is off and that
the emergency brake is fully set. Have no kids around who might
unleash the brake or crawl under the car. Again, make sure that
you are on a flat surface.
Find the tire jack equipment.
Locate the spare tire.
Make sure that you understand your owner's manual instructions about how to remove it, if it is located under your vehicle. Note that
some spares are "minis" designed for a just short distance of emergency use at lower speeds.
Because you are just practising changing a tire, you won't use the spare this time. Just make sure that it has enough air in it.
Next, use the handle with the jack to remove the
"hubcap", the mental disk in the middle of one of your tires,
being sure not to be too rough in doing this.
Next, very near the tire, on the side of
the tire toward the driver's or front passenger's door, look under
the vehicle to find structural support. This area must be strong
enough to support the weight of the vehicle. You are NOT interested
in the body shell, just the main frame.
On many cars, the structural supports have
sockets designed to fit the jacks.
Next, use the jack to lift the tire in that
area of the car several inches off the ground (enough to place the new tire full of air on) being sure that
the jack remains straight. Jacks vary, so you will have to learn
their use on your own.
Once raised, DO NOT get under the car. Car
jacks are meant for short-term emergency use, not to give enough
support to protect your body.
Next, use the wrench on or with the jack
to start unloosing the "nuts" on the bolts around the
tire. If rusted, some can be quite difficult to get off and you
may have to use a power wrench the first time. Unloose all of
the nuts at nearly the same time working on each in turn and then
going back to unloose them some more. As you take them off, put
the nuts in your pocket. Don't loose them.
Take the tire off.
As this is not an emergency, replace the
same tire. Tighten well the bolts, but do not make them so tight
that you cannot easily remove them in an emergency. Replace the
hubcap, and carefully lower the jack.
In an emergency, be sure to pull your car
well away from traffic before attempting the change a tire. Lift
the hood and turn on the turn signals or emergency lights to warn
If a flat tire cannot be repaired at a gas bar or garage,
buy at least two new ones. They wear better with a similar mate. Canadian Tire, Goodyear, Costco Auto Centres, and other stores have specials and
will instal and balance tires for you, or you may wish to pay a
bit more at your local gas bar or garage to build a relationship.
Do not drive with badly worn tires. You
lose much of your braking ability on wet roads and are more likely
to experience tire blow outs, which can be extremely dangerous
at higher speeds.
Periodically have your tires rotated and
balanced at a gas bar or garage or a store that specialists in
tires. In the winter in northern areas, you may wish to buy and
have special snow tires installed for extra safety. These can save your life.
Congratulations! You now know as much as
most Americans and Canadians about car maintenance and minor servicing.
For more tips on adjusting to life in the USA and