Changing a flat tire is simple, mechanic says

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    By NELDA MASCHMEYER

    Anyone can fix a flat tire as long as they follow the instructions.

    “Actually, it is very easy to fix a flat tire,” said Kent Latimer, Assistant Service Manager of Toyota in Orem.

    “Just look in your owner’s manual and all the instructions are there,” Latimer said.

    In case you have lost your owner’s manual, a no-no in Latimer’s book, he said there are several steps to changing your flat. Latimer said the reason he calls losing an owner’s manual a “no-no” is because the manual will tell you where to locate the jack.

    “The jack is located in different places depending on the car and the owner’s manual will tell you where it is in your car,” Latimer said.

    Once you have the manual, these are the steps to follow, (courtesy of Latimer):

    1. Grab the lug wrench and with it loosen the lugnuts on the tire about half a turn.

    2. Stick the jack underneath the tire, the owner’s manual recommends at what point the jack should be located underneath the tire

    3. Get the wheel off the ground

    4. Take the lugnuts off the wheel

    5. Put the spare tire on

    6. Put the lugnuts back on the wheel as tight as you can

    7. Take the jack out after lowering the car

    8. Lastly, tighten the lugnuts more

    Latimer said the main safety tip he could give would be to not have any legs or arms underneath the tire while fixing the flat.

    He also said one must decide first if the tire even needs changing. If the tire is only slightly low, just get it filled with air, but if the rim is up to tire, it needs to be changed.

    He said if one is in the middle of the highway with a flat tire it is worth ruining it by driving to the nearest help available rather than stopping in the middle of the highway to fix it.

    Stan Smith, Manager of Discount Tire Co. Inc., in Orem said there are a few more tips he could suggest. He said the most important thing to remember is to tighten the lugnuts as much as you can or else there will be a space gap and the wheel will be lost. He said another tip is to have the spare tire next to you the whole time so that you don’t have to keep running back to the trunk all the time.

    “The spare tire should come out first and go in last but it should always be handy,” Smith said.

    He said to remember to put some kind of block or wedge on any kind of an incline. A piece of wood or a rock works well and should be placed on one of the tires you are not working on.

    “Make sure to check the air pressure every six months at any tire place. No one ever does it but if they did, there would be a lot less flat tires. You see, a tire loses 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of air every month,” Smith said.

    Smith said he also recommended carrying a can of fix-a-flat aerosol which you can insert into the tire and which gets you to the nearest tire repair facility.

    He said most importantly, one must not forget to put the emergency brake on.

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