It’s a bit of a cliché, but if you want something done right you’ve got to do it yourself. Normally I’d say just take it to Team Ford for anything service related, and not only have it done right —hell, better than right— but have it done quickly as well. In a perfect world this is exactly how it would go down. But this world is far from perfect, and sometimes you’re speeding home to catch the Oilers game and you find yourself on a road just ahead of a police chase and you don’t see the spikes that they laid down and you run them over and they tell you that they won’t pay for the tire damage and you’re just lucky that they didn’t give you tickets for speeding or impeding a police pursuit—or something like that. Four flats and you’re probably calling a tow-truck, but one flat, well, roll up those sleeves cowboy ‘cuz we’re going to teach you how to change a tire today.
What You’ll Need
In the event that you haven’t blown all four tires and you just need to change one, your Ford is most likely equipped with a spare, or “donut”. You’re going to want to grab the spare, and any other tools you may need, like:
- Tire iron (usually found with the spare tire in the trunk)
- Vehicle jack & jack stands (also found in the trunk, after much consternation)
- Some tires will have a locking lug nut—there should be a tire iron attachment for this (usually in the trunk, in an even stranger place than the jack and stands)
Jacking the Vehicle
Have we lost you yet? No? Perfect! Your next step is ensuring that your vehicle is on a level surface, and that the parking brake is engaged. Now, it’s time to find your vehicle’s jack points, place the jack underneath, and jack it. Don’t know where to find the jack points? Your owner’s manual should include a diagram showing you their location, but if you feel the steel beam running from the front of your vehicle to the back that is your chassis, you should be able to feel the jack points—indentations on an otherwise smooth beam. Place the jack along the points, and jack the vehicle up so that your tire can hang freely above the ground.
Removing the Flat
Your next step is to take your tire iron, or a socket and ratchet, and loosen the lug nuts. Some vehicles may have hubcaps that need to be removed, some may have the locking lug nuts—basically every tire is like a unique and individual snowflake. Well, like four identical unique snowflakes, but I digress. Pull the wheel off of the studs, and take a moment to admire your brake pads and rotors. Unless they look worn down, and need to be replaced (but that’s a topic for another blog).
We’re almost finished folks. Grab your spare or new tire and slide it over the studs, then place the lug nuts over the studs and tighten them. Make sure you tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern instead of moving around the tire in a clockwise or counter-clockwise pattern. Your owner’s manual should have a factory-specified tightness, but if not just tighten them beyond finger-tight (no need to get them as tight as you can).
Once your tire is secure, double check to make sure you haven’t left anything under the car (wallet, tools, spouse), and lower the vehicle. If you’re just changing the one tire—you’re done, celebrate! However, if you’re changing all four you will need to repeat a few of the steps. But this is one of those instances where, unless you’re big on doing this stuff yourself (in which case you probably aren’t reading this), I suggest swinging by Team Ford. Not only do they have exceptional deals on tires, but their appointment-free Quick Lane service team will swap your tires for you and you won’t even break a sweat (or break a leg, like that time my poor Uncle Steve forgot to put on his park brake).
If you want something done right, you should do it yourself. But if you want it done better than right—the Team Ford service department’s got your back.