Car problems? No problem…
Finding your way around the car isn’t always a straightforward process. When needing to get from A to B, being able to perform basic repairs is sometimes a necessity, though. You shouldn’t fear what lurks under the bonnet or wheel arch, as it’s sometimes a lot easier to repair than you’d think.
Obviously, the less experienced car owner won’t be expected to fix a blown head gasket or replace a clutch. That being said, the more basic and simple the repair, the more willing we should be to try our hand, with instruction of course.
Before we get stuck in on the how-to guides, let’s go through some basic safety instructions first. Never, under any circumstances, work on your car directly after driving. Always let the engine cool down first, or you run a high risk of being burned or false readings on fluid levels etc.
Secondly, never work underneath a vehicle that isn’t properly supported. Changing a tire means working outside that danger zone, so a jack is fine, anything that requires laying underneath a raised vehicle means you should be looking at axle stands or ramps for safety.
An Example Of Axle Stands In Use
Also, never jack on to plastic or external parts or suspension parts. Use either designated jacking points (see your car manual) or a solid part of the chassis. DO NOT jack underparts that could move suddenly during work.
A few tools you should keep include Haynes/Helms’ manuals, socket set, spanners, multi-meter, screwdrivers, torque wrench, axle stands and nitrile gloves. OK, here we go!
You’ll know if you have a flat tire, the car will be moving like a boat, and to the eye from outside it’s very obvious. Although it looks awful to the untrained eye, this is arguably the simplest of all essential repairs.
Most cars will have a spare wheel in the boot, if you don’t, then you really should get one. Most spares are located in the boot under the carpet/lining, some older models may have them in a housing attached to the body under the boot. Either way, it’s gonna be in that area.
Grab the wheel brace (looks like a spanner with a nut on the end) and the jack that most cars also have with the spare.
Top tip: loosen the wheel nuts before jacking the car, whip the tire off, put the spare on then slowly lower the vehicle. Tighten the nuts hard, many will stand on the end of the wheel brace to get extra torque.
It’s probably advisable to take her straight to a garage, where you’ll get the old wheel re-tired, and then fitted to your car with the proper torque settings.