Easy, Illustrated Instructions on How to Fix a Flat Tire

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The jack is awesome, but it allows you to create a dangerous situation with your car. It is important that the jack is pretty close to straight up and down, and that the base of the jack is resting on something sturdy, like asphalt or concrete.

The jack needs to push up on the car, near the tire where you are working. If you centered it perfectly on one side of the car, it might be able to lift both wheels at the same time, but it would be less stable, and lifting two tires is totally unnecessary. Usually, there will be a thick metal seam along the bottom edge of the car, where the top of the jack fits. 

Position the jack about 20 inches from the flat tire. 

Use your hand to twist the center screw of the jack so that it expands towards the bottom of the car. Guide its ascent so that it aligns with the seam. This will help prevent the jack from slipping out.

Just for the record, I have seen plenty of cars jacked up, and I have never seen one fall. I think a jacked up car looks more precarious than it actually is. Still, take caution and do not get under the car at all.

Once the jack is touching the bottom of the car, it will get harder to twist, and it will begin to lift the car. Connect the hook end of the Shepard's hook to the center screw of the jack. My lug wrench was designed with a hole through the center, so it could be used to crank the center screw on the jack. I've seen a number of different set-ups for the jack crank. Most of them involve two tools being connected together into a less-than-perfect combination tool. However, the tools function in an emergency, so I shouldn't complain.

The flat wheel should come slowly off of the ground. 

When the flat tire isn't touching the ground any more, stop cranking the jack. Use the lug wrench to remove the lug nuts completely. 

Keep the lug nuts safe. Don't let them roll away. You need them all. 

Twenty years ago, people would put the lug nuts into the inverted hub cap. 

Please continue reading page 6 of Easy, Illustrated Instructions on How to Fix a Flat Tire.

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May 26, 2007 

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