How to: Change a tire and check your brake system for air

img058I originally was going to post pictures from when I lived in France and my trips to other countries around Europe, which I will do eventually, but I decided to do something a little different. Today, my wife and I were checking one of our cars for air in the brake system because the brakes are a little unresponsive, and I told her to grab my phone and take pictures so I could make a little how-to for anyone who might be clueless as to how to change a tire or check their brake fluid.

Not everything is explained in the captions, so here’s a little extra info: First, the tools you’ll need are some wrenches: A lug nut wrench (tire iron), and spanners or a socket wrench with different socket sizes. American cars and cars from other countries differ between SAE and metric tools, so you may need to know which your car requires first if you don’t have the tools already.

You’ll also need an oil pan, a floor jack, some graphite lubricant, brake fluid, and some paper towel on hand.

The procedure is pretty self-explanatory from the pictures and captions, but a couple things that might not be so clear is that you need a second person to help with checking for air, and you need to keep a close eye on the brake fluid level under the hood. If it gets empty, you’re in trouble. Also, when tightening the bleeder valves, make sure not to do it too tight, because if they break you’re screwed.

I’ve never put together a how-to before, and next time I’d plan it a little better, but hopefully someone can learn something from this. It’s very simple, but a little time-consuming if using a manual jack instead of a lift, but it’s still doable.

Oh, and for any classmates who might be interested, I do oil changes and little jobs like this cheaper than any mechanic or Jiffy Lube will.

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