Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: Replacing Flat Tire on Honda Civic 2012 (1 hour)

I do not know what I ran over the other day, but I suddenly got a low air alarm on my car as I was driving last night. When I got back home, I could hear the air coming out of the front driver side tire. It was dark and rainy so I figured I'll look at it in the morning.

Sadly (but not surprised), my tire was flat as can be in the morning. This is my first time having to put on a spare tire. All the previous times, I had enough air to make it to a repair shop.

So, I tried to see how far I can go but I got on stuck on the very first step, where to put the jack. I went to the trusty YouTube videos. The jack went where it seemed pretty obvious. There is a notch near each wheel on where the jack should go. This is where I would have guessed if I were stuck in the middle of nowhere. I was concerned because the area is an edge not a flat surface which was what I was expecting.

Before raising the jack, I had loosened the lug nuts as recommended on the video. Then, I spent a lot of time trying to raise the jack. I had some trouble because I was too close to the lawn so I did not have complete clearance to make continuous circles. Eventually, I got it to where it needed to go.

The lug nuts were easy to figure out although I had to put a lot of weight into it to loosen them up before. Everything up to this point is demonstrated in the first video [1]. I even laid the nuts out so that I could put them back in the same order.

Then I got stumped because my tire was stuck. The video [1] shows the tire easily came up, practically just fell off. I was really tugging and at some point I realized that I should stop before I knock the car off the jack. Then, I looked for another video [2] on stuck tires.

Fortunately, someone happened to come by and was able to help me. He was able to get a piece of plywood and a mallet. He basically did what was on the second video except he used the plywood to prevent any potential damage the mallet could do. With a couple hard hits, he was able to get the tire to pop off.

I put on the spare, then put the lug nuts back on in a star pattern as recommended in the video. I brought the car to a tire repair place nearby and had my tire patched up for $28 including tax and service. The guy even said that it was patched from the inside and 'plugged' from the outside. Supposedly, patching the inside is better which made sense to me.

Although I was a little bummed by the flat, I felt good about the experience in putting on a spare and getting this all done in a day. I probably could do the entire process within 15-30 minutes.

I still had the low air warning with the spare tire. I am not sure if it went away when they replaced the tire or if they had to enter some code to reset it.

Steps to Replace Flat Tire with Spare

1. Loosen lug nuts
2. Place jack in appropriate spot
3. Raise car until front tire is off the ground plus a little extra if the tire is extremely flat
4. Remove lug nuts
5. Remove tire
6. Put on spare
7. Put on lug nuts and tighten in a star pattern
8. Clean up tools, put flat tire in car

Reference

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gSyHyrFN2Y - Video on replace the front driver side tire on a Honda Civic
[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7PWwrcGREM - Video on getting tire off when stuck (EricTheCarGuy)