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Monday, July 16, 2012

Life Skill #34A : Changing a Flat Tire

I believe all of us need to know certain Life Skills. I taught my daughters to cook, do laundry, and clean toilet bowls. They met other students in college who did not know these things.

On my list, Life Skill #34A is changing a flat tire. I was reminded of this particular skill on Friday night. Daughter #1 went out with a friend and at the end of the evening, her friend discovered she had a flat tire on her car.

Everyone who owns a car should know how to change a tire. It's easy to use a cellphone to call a road service, but it might take a while for help to arrive. If you are in a cold place, waiting might not be a good idea. Also remember that cellphone batteries sometimes fail at critical times and that often flat tires happen in places where there are no cell towers, pay phones, or other people.

When our daughters bought their first cars, hubby taught them how to change the tire. A young woman should never expect a hunky hero to be nearby. It would be nice, but in real life it doesn't always work out that way.

I know this because it happened to me.

Once, I had to change a flat tire while it was snowing on a dark lonely interstate in February. Cellphones had not been invented yet and I did not have a CB radio either. Fortunately, I was not alone. I had my mother, my youngest sister and my friend with me. We had been visiting my other sister in a hospital in Scranton.

By the time we headed for home, it was dark and snow was falling. I drove slower because the road had become icy.

On a lonely stretch of Interstate 380, the car pulled to the right as one tire went flat. I had flares, which I lit. I got out the tools, the spare, and the jack. My younger sister held the flashlight. I took off the hubcap and handed it to my friend for safe keeping so we didn't lose it in the thickly falling snow.

A few eighteen wheelers passed us. We did not see a single patrol car.

I had gotten the wheels balanced a few day before the trip and the lug nuts were on so tight that it took both my mother and I to loosen them. As we removed each one them, we placed them in the hubcap which my friend held.

The snow continued to fall. We put on spare in about twenty minutes--just as the flares sputtered out.

As soon as we got rolling again, I turned up the heat. We could have turned into icicles if we had stayed in the cold much longer.

Make sure your daughters know how to change a flat tire. Make sure they are strong, independent women who know what to do--just in case a hunky hero isn't nearby. Or, in case, they have to change a flat for a clueless hunky hero. :^)


jenny milchman said...

I agree, this is such a life skill, and I was once even shown how to do it...but I regret to say that I don't think I could. My hat is off to you, Penelope--and your daughters.

Penelope Marzec said...


I'm sure you could change a tire if you had to, but it is a lot easier to call for help. :^)

Unknown said...

Good advice. My dad showed me how to change a flat but that was many years ago and I'm sure I've forgotten.

MarkD60 said...

I remember in my long haired doper days, we had a flat in a bad part of New York. I was changing the tire when a gang stopped and started looking at me. I stopped, stood up and said "what's going on? " I was an obviously crazy freaky looking drug user, and they just walked away. My Mom Grandma and Aunt treated me like a hero after that.
I think the gang was surprised I wasn't afraid.
Yes everyone needs to know how to change a tire.

Penelope Marzec said...


Glad the gang walked away.

Anyone who can change a tire is a hero or heroine. :^)

Nelson Heimer said...

What a great skill to teach your daughters! If you’re going to change your wheels, make sure to do it safely. If you’re on a highway, move away from the traffic first before changing the tires. Also, avoid doing a tire change on loose and uneven ground. Your car might end up being stuck there! Finally, it’s important to have the proper tools to work with and wear protective equipment. Hope these tips can help!

Penelope Marzec said...


Thanks for the safety tips!

Patrick Montgomery said...

It is a must for all vehicle owners to know how to change a flat tire. I think it’s a good thing that you’re teaching your daughters how to change a flat tire. By doing so, you are empowering them and making them more confident of themselves. I also taught my sister how to deal with that kind of problem. I told her to always locate and inspect the tools in her car and to check the air pressure of the spare tire. I advised her to buy her own tire gauge because it is an essential tool alongside a lug nut wrench, a floor jack, a flat head screwdriver, and an early warning device.

Penelope Marzec said...


True. Everyone should carry the essential tools. We've all become complacent with our cellphones because it is so easy to call for help. But cellphones don't always work--the battery runs out or the cellphone tower is too far away.

It's best to be prepared.

Leisa Dreps said...

Having a flat tire often happens when you least expect it, so it’s our RESPONSIBILITY to be prepared. You’re right Penelope, technology made our lives way easier because we can get help in an instant. But, being too comfortable is a big no-no. Knowing how to address flat tires – and other car issues for that matter – won’t only help us get out of sticky situations but also help our car last longer.

Rita McCall said...

“Everyone who owns a car should know how to change a tire.”— It’s essential that you somewhat know what you’re doing. Likewise, you have to make sure that you have the right tools and a spare tire with you. You wouldn’t be able to use your skills if you don’t have these things.

Jack Chapman said...

Rita is right. You have to make sure that wherever you go, you have your spare tire and tools in your car. You’ll never know when you’re going to get a flat tire. Even if you don’t know how to fix it, at least you have what you need for someone else to. After all, you can always seek help from other people.