Changing a flat tire is one of the basic skills that every car owner should be able to master. It is not difficult, but strangely enough, there are many who either think that it is, can’t do it, don’t have the proper tools to do it, don’t know where their tools are located or don’t know how! Let’s break through some of this nonsense—what do you say? Learn how you can change a flat tire like your own one-man/woman pit crew!
First off, you have to be careful not to damage the wheel nuts, park in a sloped area, or hurt yourself in the process. Granted, conditions are not always ideal but you should always do your best to both be prepared and set yourself up for success, as much as you’re able. There are only two tools you typically need: a tire iron and a jack. What about the tire, you say? That’s not a tool, silly goose! The spare tire is almost always in your car but, once again, prepare NOW, ahead of time and check to see if it is inflated and ready to use immediately. This is something that you should do regularly! Nothing sucks more when needing to change a tire than having great knowledge and tools but forgetting the rubber!
A flat tire is not uncommon; most people have had such an experience at least once in their driving stories. Me? Well, let’s just say more than once or twice. I never considered myself capable of changing a tire like a pit crew buuuuut—that was long before I got my mind and hands on the right tools and methods!
It is not really a big problem if it happens in the middle of a town where you can easily get help from someone or at least take the local public transport, especially when you are in a hurry. A flat tire in the outskirt of a town or when you take a trip through a quiet road, however, can turn into real headache and really fast. In such a situation, you may also wonder why you can’t be like one of those race team pit crews with all the sophisticated tools to change the tire in less than 10 seconds or so, and then continue driving without any problem. Doesn’t it seem a little unfair and possibly frustrating when you think about it? It did to me! Truth is, you CAN change a flat tire (about) as quick as professional pit crew does, if not a pit crewman, using the right tool: a cordless impact wrench.
An impact wrench is a motorized version of any regular wrench and you can also consider this an oversized and over engineered tire iron. The basic mechanism of this tool is that an electric-powered motor builds up energy and converts it into rotating motion. An impact driver has more than enough torque to fix a large bolt into a piece of steel, let alone removing and installing wheel nuts. There are two main models including pistol and inline. The former looks like an enormous screwdriver; grip points are located behind an anvil. The pistol cordless impact driver, as the name suggests (and it is a COOL name, eh?) resembles a handgun with handle and trigger. Power is generated by rechargeable batteries located at the bottom of the handle.
Both models are very small, and they can fit into tight corners if needed. If you have one ready in your car, changing a flat tire would no longer be a tiring manual labor task but a fun activity! Think about it: you would have the same or similar tool used by a pit crew that makes everything easier, not to mention you would garner the respect and admiration of your family in the temporarily disabled car, not to mention the passersby! I mean, just how many people do YOU see changing a tire like a pit crew on the side of the interstate? I can count them on ZERO fingers!
A cordless impact driver is available in many different drive sizes, purposes, prices, and with different abilities. The larger versions (for examples ¼-inch, ½-inch, or anything bigger) are usually intended for heavy-duty applications such as in construction works. More common drive sizes for residential use including automotive applications are also available. Make sure you get the right size to work with your car’s wheel nuts and while being sure to get one strong enough to do the job, remember also that there’s no need for overkill! You don’t know a crazy big impact that weighs a metric ton!
Final Note: Please also remember to keep the batteries fresh and that they have enough power before you take a drive anywhere. This is similar to keeping your spare tire checked and inflated, as well as a proper jack in the trunk! Furthermore, PRACTICE! Don’t let your first time changing a tire with a cordless impact wrench be on the side of the road. A good test run could be doing your own tire rotation—something you’d have to have done anyway. Once again, don’t you think it would be cool to skip the wait in line at the auto garage, opting instead walk out to your driveway, whip out your new cordless impact driver, and let your neighbors see you getting all Nascar on your wheels?
Yeah, we think so, too.