One DIY task that every driver should learn is how to change a flat tire. Follow the steps below to learn.
- Car jack
- Lug wrench
- Flares/reflective triangles
- Wheel block
- Owner’s manual
- Something to kneel on (like a floor mat)
- Pull over in a location that is as safe, flat, and solid as you can and turn on your emergency flashers. Set up flares or reflective triangles behind your car.
- Set your parking brake and put a wheel block behind the wheel diagonally opposite to the flat tire. Put your floor mat by the flat tire for you to kneel on.
- Open your owner’s manual and read through for any specific instructions for your particular vehicle.
- Remove the hub cab, if you have one.
- Use the lug wrench to loosen, but not remove, all the lug nuts on the wheel.
- Position the jack just behind or in front of the flat tire. There will typically be a particular area along the car’s frame, sometimes indicated by an arrow, where the jack can safely lift.
- Slowly raise the vehicle until the tire is just a few inches off the ground.
- Finish loosening the lug nuts, remove them, and slowly pull off the tire.
- Get your spare tire, which should be located in your trunk or possibly on the underbody (for trucks and SUVs).
- Line up the spare tire with the studs, slide it on, and finger-tighten the lug nuts.
- Lower the car slowly and remove the jack.
- Use the lug wrench to tighten the lug nuts as tight as you can.
- Clean up your area.
If you need some new tires for your car, come visit us at Gossett VW Germantown.
Brake maintenance is one of the most important aspects of vehicle ownership. Not only will replacing the pads make other brake components—including rotors—last longer, but it also reduces stress on your car. In the long run, regular maintenance can actually increase resale value, especially if documented by a site like CARFAX.
Changing your brakes can be easily performed by any mechanic; however, knowing when to take the vehicle in is vital. According to Cars.com, the life of your brakes varies depending on usage and where you are located. In urban areas, stop and go traffic means a shorter life. In town, 8,000 miles is a rough estimate of when to replace brakes, and in rural areas, you may go up to 25,000 miles. Unfortunately, there is no clear rule of thumb; however, a mechanic can check the thickness of brake pads and for wear or warping.
Many brakes have built-in sensors that scrape against the disc when they need replaced. This sounds like an annoying screeching sound. You should also listen for grinding and other squeaks that indicate your brakes are bad. Also, if your brake pedal pulses when you apply the brakes, it may be a sign that your rotors are warped.
What happens if you don’t replace your brakes? Aside from the obvious dangers that go along with greater stopping distance, taking care of your brakes early can prevent catastrophic damage. For example, letting your pads go too long will ruin rotors. Let rotors go, and shoes and linings can be easily damaged as well.
If you need brake work done on your car, bring it to Gossett VW!
Especially now that it’s starting to get cold and having tires with good traction is more important than ever, it’s time to start looking for signs your tires are bad or worn out.
Take a good look at your tires. There shouldn’t be any bulges, cracks, or gauges in the rubber; it’s a good idea to take it to your dealer to check for leaks. These are usually a sign of low tire pressure, which could indicate an air leak or just deflation.
An important thing to check is your tire tread. When it gets cold, you are definitely going to want tires with good tread! Not only do tires firm up more in the cold weather, which makes it harder for them to grip the ground, but tires with low tread are slicker on wet/icy roads as well.
Check your tire pressure regularly when it’s cold. Cold air reduces tire pressure, which reduces traction, so fill your tires up with more air whenever they need it. This is also important because driving on underinflated tires actually makes them wear faster.
Do yourself a favor and check your tires, folks!