Preparedness doesn’t have to just involve zombies, terrorism, and alien invasions – you may just break down on the side of the road. Are you prepared?
The Importance of a Car Tire Change Kit
by Liz Becker
Most of us have been there before. We are driving down the road without a care in the world. Then, without warning, disaster strikes. You feel a bump in the road; your car jerks. It becomes harder to steer, and you hear a dull grind by your wheel. You pull over to the side of the road to investigate, and sure enough, your worst fear has come true. You have a flat tire.
Many people don’t realize that their jack and tire-changing kits aren’t in up to par. It is times like these when it is critical to have a working and up-to-date tire change kit in your car at all times.
Tire Change Kit Items
A standard tire change kit usually includes a jack, a spare tire, and a lug wrench. The wrench should have a pry bar on one end and a socket on the other. Depending on what model of car you are driving, your tire change kit may contain additional tools. These tools may include alignment studs, extension bars used to lower the spare tire, and a wheel lock.
There are several different types of jacks available. Scissor jacks are the most common. Bottle jacks contain more power. However, they are less compact than scissor jacks. Many times scissor jacks are included in multipurpose knives, which are good tools to have on hand anyway in case you need to cut a piece of rubber loose from a tire, or remove an obstruction from the tire well. Check out Knifeart.com to find custom knives that will complement your car tire change kit.
There is a variety of similar tire kits that have several unique parts, but each piece is essentially the same to the parts mentioned above. Now that you have all the piece you need, the next step is knowing how to change it, and how to change it safely. Changing your tire on the open road, especially at night, can be a difficult and fearful process – cars rushing by at highway speeds, the lack of knowledge how to change a tire, and the difficulty of the whole process can leave you distressed and helpless, but one you know how to safely set up the process of chaining a tire, there won;t be any need for fear or confusion.
Changing a Tire Safely on the Road
Whether you are changing a tire on the highway, a country lane, or even a side street, pull as far into the emergency right lane area as you can. Turn on your emergency flashers. If you have road flares, place them roughly 75 feet behind your car. You want the flares to be far enough away so that people are able to see them and slow down by the time they approach your car. If your car is on a curve, place the flares before the start of the curve.
Before you begin to jack up your car, make sure all the passengers in the car are safely out of the vehicle. If it is possible, remove any heavy objects from inside the car. The point is to remove any unnecessary weight from the car to make it easier to jack up, and safer if an accident occurs and you have to remove the jack.
Next, make sure you are on a completely flat area. Never try to jack the car if you are on gravel or on an incline. Inclines mean the car is more susceptible to tip or fall back down again, making a chance for extreme injury. Always make sure you’re on flat ground before changing a tire.
Periodically Check your Tire Change Kit
Hopefully, you will never need to use your tire change kit. Most people have access to roadside assistance, trained professionals who know exactly what they’re doing. Still, knowing how your car works and what to do in an emergency is something everyone should know.
If the need ever arises, and you have to change the tire yourself, you want to be sure everything is in working order – clean, safe, and ready to use. The jack is perhaps the most important item, to use and to keep clean and ready on a regular basis because it is mechanical and can break or malfunction, just like any other tool. Take it out every few months and jack up your car with it to test it out. Make sure your wrench has not become corroded or rusted. Inspect the spare tire and make sure it is in good condition.
Being prepared for a flat tire is easy, so there is no excuse to not have the right equipment. Having these few items with you at all times can prevent a simple problem from turning into a potential nightmare. Once you learn these crucial tips on how to be safe and smart with your tires, you can drive anywhere without ever fearing a flat.
Liz is a blogger, freelance writer and recent college graduate. She currently performs market research for an online marketing firm when she is not contributing her own thoughts and observations to the online community.