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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Airtight Advice

The other day my best friend Billie Jo and I were walking through a parking lot when we saw a woman changing a flat tire. I started to walk over to see if I could be of any assistance, but just then I saw her give the "wave-off" to someone else who was offering help. She appeared to have everything quite in hand.
Billie Jo asked me if it looked like she needed any help, and I said, "No. It looks like she's got it under control, and it looks like she'd prefer not to be 'rescued' by anybody else."
Billie Jo then commented that she didn't know how to change a flat tire herself.
I guess maybe I shouldn't have been surprised. I think that I was about ten when my Dad first showed me which end of a lug wrench was which, but that rite of passage doesn't always happen for girls. I will spend this weekend giving Billie Jo a brief, hands-on tire-changing workshop, because I do not like the prospect that a mere puncture might leave my best friend stranded by the side of the road.
If you know how to change a tire, I highly suggest that you poll your "circle" (female and male) to make sure everyone knows how to use a jack, a lug wrench, and a tire gauge. If not, you should show them as soon as you can.
If you don't know how to change a tire, here are a couple of resources that may help you:
First, an article from Popular Mechanics magazine that I think is very useful and full of several helpful hints that even I didn't know about, and I've had a lot of flats.
Second, here's a video demonstration of tire-changing procedure from

If I may add something to these tutorials, I would like to say, too, that you should recognize when it's okay to try to change the tire yourself, and when it's better to call for roadside assistance. (AAA is reliable and inexpensive.) In heavy snow or rain or late at night in a questionable area are times when it is probably best to just sit in your car and wait for a professional with a tow-truck to arrive.

Be prepared. Be smart. Be safe.

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