Tuesday, June 17, 2014

If you’ve got a flat tyre and are expecting a chivalrous man to stop and help you, a damsel in distress, you might be left waiting for a long time. According to a UK survey, more than half of men would drive past a stranded woman motorist with a flat tyre.

The survey revealed that out of 1,600 men, 52% admitted they would keep on driving if they spotted a woman with a puncture – despite feeling guilty about it. The survey also found that younger men are more reluctant to stop due to ignorance of basic car maintenance.

“This only makes it more essential for a women to know how to change a tyre herself,” says Robyn Farrell, Executive Head of 1st for Women Insurance adding, “you can’t wait for someone to help you as this is dangerous and makes you vulnerable to crime. Changing a tyre is actually much more straightforward than it might look with the correct tools and know-how. Brawn is not a necessary requirement.”

Below is step-by-step information on how to change a tyre including some crucial tips from 1st for Women Insurance:

Before you begin, make sure you have the following tools in your car:

  • A portable jack to lift your car.
  • An inflated spare tyre.
  • A wheel spanner to remove and fix back the wheel.

In the event of a blow out or a flat tyre, try to park on level ground.  If you can’t find level ground, turn your wheels toward the pavement and park as close to it as possible to avoid rolling; pull the handbrake up and put the car in gear. If you need to change a back wheel, you’ll have to take the handbrake off.  This will ensure that the back wheels are loose and are safe to be removed. 

Once your car is parked securely and there’s no chance of it rolling, you’ll need to loosen the hubcaps (unless your car has mag wheels) and wheel nuts before you jack up the car. Most wheel nuts loosen anti-clockwise, unless they have an ‘L’ written on them, in which case they loosen clockwise. Do not remove the wheel nuts completely.

Once the wheel nuts are loose, jack your car up, but not too high – the further you lift the car, the further you’ll have to lift the new wheel off the ground.

Now take the wheel nuts out and take the wheel off, making sure that you keep the wheel nuts in a safe place. 

Place the new wheel on and loosely tighten the wheel nuts.  Only tighten them completely once you have lowered your car back onto the ground. Tighten the nuts as firmly as possible, stand on the wrench if you need to, and don’t forget to put the hubcap back onto your wheel once you’ve finished.

Lastly, don’t forget to get your punctured or flat tyre fixed or replaced as soon as possible.

“If you would rather not get your hands dirty, you could always call a breakdown assistance service like our Guardian Angels who are happy to help all female motorists.  That said, knowing how to change a tyre is a life skill that will empower and serve you well,” concludes Farrell.

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