Changing a tire is one of the simplest car maintenance tasks every driver should know. However, some drivers make tire-changing mistakes that can turn out to be dangerous. Explore some things you should never do when changing a tire for the safety of yourself and your vehicle.
Jack Up the Car First
One of the most common mistakes many people make when changing a tire—especially those who have never done it—is jack up the car right away. Some drivers get so excited about using their jack that they lift the car without loosening the wheel nuts first. If you try to loosen the nuts after jacking the car, the wheel will spin in the air and nothing will happen. Then, you’ll have to lower the car, loosen the nuts, and jack it up again. With that, remember to loosen the nuts first, then jack up the car to change the tire.
Forget Brakes & Blocks
Another common tire-changing mistake is forgetting to block or apply the brakes to the wheels before working on the tire. When you lift a car on a jack, its center of gravity will change; if nothing is stopping the car from moving, it could start to roll off the jack and out of your control. Keep yourself and those around you safe by applying the emergency brake and putting blocks, rocks, or anything else you can find around the wheels to keep them from moving.
Forget the Tire Pressure
Too often, drivers slap on the spare tire without inspecting it to ensure it’s road worthy. While you can use a spare tire more than once, you want to ensure it’s filled to its recommended tire pressure before you put it on your vehicle. Otherwise, you may end up replacing a flat tire with an underinflated one, which isn’t much better.
Rely on the Jack
One thing you should never do when changing a tire is put yourself in a position where you’re relying on the jack to keep you safe. Ideally, you shouldn’t be underneath the car when changing a tire. But if you absolutely must, it’s safer to put the car down off the jack and look at the undercarriage from the ground. It may not be comfortable this way, but it’s very easy for cars to slip off jacks and harm anyone underneath or nearby. Even if you’ve followed every precaution, you should never put your life in the hands of a portable jack.
Forget Nut Lubricant
Another commonly forgotten step in the tire-changing process is lubricating the wheel nuts before tightening them. A dry wheel nut is more likely to rust or gall, leading to even more problems for your wheels and car later. Always apply a small amount of anti-seize or another lubricant to the wheel nuts before you tighten them to avoid such problems.