You are driving down the road. You hear a popping sound, and your vehicle begins to behave like it is being buffeted by heavy winds. It takes a moment for you to process things before you realize you have a flat tire.
The important thing is, you have NOT lost controlled and crashed! That is a good thing. Now you must ease your way safely to the breakdown lane.
Put your turn signal on, and slowly make your way to the side of the road. Pull as far over as you safely can. If you see a wide spot, and you can make it, get there, so you have room to work.
Now comes the fun part. Kill the ignition, turn on your 4-way flashers. Go to the rear of your vehicle, get your jack, your spare, and your tire iron. Loosen the lug nuts with the car on the ground with your tire iron. Jack the car as near to the tire as you can get. Many modern cars have specific jacking points. Jack the car up as high as the jack will go, and finish removing the lug nuts, remove the tire, and place the spare on the lug bolts. tighten the lug nuts, and slowly lower the car from the jack. Recheck the tightness of the lug nuts, and VOILA! You are done!
HA! How I long for those days! We have a minivan with stow and go seating. I had very little idea where our spare tire even was! I assumed we had one since we bought the van from a dealer.
When we got our flat last evening it was, according to the onboard computer, 87F. I whipped out the owner’s manual and headed for the section on changing a tire.
The first thing I can tell you is I am glad this was a hot day, and NOT a dark and snowy night because I had to read three different sections of the owner’s manual just to figure out how to FIND the spare tire somewhere under the van!
There was one page on assembling the tire hook. That is how you hook the tire out from under the van. There was another page on how you use parts of the tire hook tool, to loosen the cable that held the tire in place under your vehicle. And there was another page that told you how to access the assembly that lowers the tire, under the front floor console.
I located the tire, I put the tools together, and then I took them apart again. Then I partly removed the console in between the front seats. Supposedly, the whole thing comes off, but since I found the picture of the tire lowering thingie I didn’t bother.
I turned the little lowering thingie with my fingers until I felt the cable hit the ground. I looked under the van and sure enough, there was the tire! I put the tire hook tool back together, I tried to pull out the spare, and promptly lost the hook part of the tool in the rim of the spare. YAY!
Then noticed two things. First, there was no way I was pulling the tire out from the passenger’s side, because of the exhaust system being in the way. I was going to have to go to the side where traffic was blasting by at 75MPH or better.
Second, I didn’t have anywhere near enough cable let out. So I thumbed through the many pages of instructions on changing a tire and discovered that I needed to turn the lowering thingie until it stopped moving on its own. So I did that.
Nope, still not enough room. That was when I realized the tire hook tool had ends that were shaped like the little lowering thingie, and the hook part that I had lost in the spare tire rim served the dual purpose of being a T-handle to help you turn the tire lowering thingie. I gave that a try, without the T-handle, and sure enough, it lowered some more.
So I went over the driver’s side, said a lengthy prayer, enjoyed the convection oven air that was washing over me from the speeding traffic and instructed Jen to turn the tire lowering thingie until I had enough slack in the cable to reach the tire.
She lowered, I pulled the tire. “NOPE! I need more!”
She lowered, I pulled the tire. “NOPE! I need more!”
She lowered, I pulled the tire. “NOPE! I STILL need more!”
She lowered. I pulled the tire. It was out from under the van! But barely. “Just a little bit more! It’s almost there!”
From deep inside the van…”NOPE! It won’t go any more!”
By the way? I left out the parts of all the swearing I did to get to this point. The multiple pages of instructions, the space age tools that made no sense, the location of the spare tire. It had all been too much to deal with on hot pavement, so I swore. I swore A LOT!
Now? Now to have the tire in my filthy, sweaty bleeding hands, and not have enough room to comfortably maneuver the thing? I was going to swear some more…I was going to swear A LOT MORE!
“COME ON! SIX MORE RASSLE BACKING, DOG GRINDING, WATER DIPPING, INCHES OF CABLE IS ALL THE GOOD FOLK (edited for content) AT DODGE HAD TO ADD, and I am left with a tire that stands alongside the driver’s door of the van, with less than half an inch slack, and NOW, I am supposed to push two tabs together to release the spare from its container, that has been under a van since 2009????”
I twisted, and tapped, and squeezed for what seemed like 3 days, and again, I swore A LOT, until one of the tabs went DOWN…DOWN??? WHY NOT SAY, “Push down on the tire release tabs.”? I’LL TELL YOU WHY! Because somebody in CHINA probably wrote the instructions, and “press in” was close enough!
FINALLY!!! After more than half an hour of sweating, swearing, bleeding, and pleading with God, in the oppressive heat I HAD THE SPARE TIRE IN MY HANDS and ready to go on the van!
After that? The rest of it was a piece of cake!
Loosen the lug nuts with the car on the ground with your tire iron. Jack the car as near to the tire as you can get. Many modern cars have specific jacking points. Jack the car up as high as the jack …