Changing a tire: Intimidating but pretty easy


Tegan McDonald

When I entered high school I made a list of things I needed to learn before I graduated. I did this because when I was a freshman, my sister was a senior. While high school had prepared her for college, she was unable to fix common problems in life. 

   So I made the list. Most of them are basic life skills that everyone really should know how to do. Now here I am at the beginning of my senior year and I still have so much more I need to learn on that list. None of the things I have on the list are things they have taught in school. They are pretty basic things that we need to know before we enter the “real world”.

    One of those things includes learning how to change a tire. After having my license for a year now, I should learn how to do one of the most basic things about taking care of your car. How to change a tire. (Disclaimer: My dad was watching the whole time to make sure no damage came to the car or to me.)

   I started by reading a WikiHow and trying from there. I’m just going to say it. WikiHow-not helpful. There was so much information missing. It did not explain things in an order that made total sense. I was so stressed and confused. Luckily I was only changing the tire in my driveway. Had I been on the side of the road, it would have been so much worse. 

   WikiHow does not give you alternative ways to do things. My father had to step in and help. It was even worse because the WikiHow was explaining how to do it from the point of view of an average adult man. I, however, am not an adult man. I am a petite, 17-year-old girl.

   When loosening the bolts, the WikiHow says to use the crank and to turn it using your body weight. I, however, am not strong. Nor do I have a lot of body weight. I was unable to turn the crank how the WikiHow showed me.

   The owner’s manual was also not helpful. It was very confusing and very wordy. WikiHow at least had pictures for me to look at and try to get a basic understanding. The owner’s manual, however, used complicated language to explain the simplest things. And again, it is from the perspective of an adult man. WikiHow could be helpful if you knew the basics of how to change a tire. If you are like me and no nothing about changing a tire, WikiHow is not helpful. 

   After that I had my friend Caroline Broersma, who has changed multiple tires in her lifetime, show me. This, I found, was a lot easier. Carrie not only explained how to do it but when I was struggling, she would step in. It was quite similar to an actual situation where I would get a flat tire. It was getting dark and we had to pull out flashlights to see.


    It was very beneficial to have her there because before she stepped in, she would offer me an alternative way to approach it. An example of this was when I was trying to unscrew the bolts. She told me to use my weight and push down on the left side of the crank to get it to move. And guess what. It actually worked! She also cracked jokes which made everything a whole lot less stressful. 

   She explained things in a different way if she could tell I didn’t quite understand, or she would show me and then have me do it. Overall, learning from another person is a lot better than learning from the internet. 

   To see if I had actually learned how to change a tire, I tried to teach my younger brother. Timothy is about the same size as me and very clever. He knew what to do after I explained it a few times. When he struggled I showed him an alternate way. We were able to get the tire off and back on quickly and easily. 

   Timothy seemed to have some fun too. My dad even told us a few tricks that I had not learned from the WikiwHow or from Carrie. Now Timothy knows how to change a tire or at least the basics. And I am able to do it and walk someone else through changing a tire.

   I understand that schools have to teach us math, English, history, and science but, in all honesty, where are we supposed to learn basic life skills?    

   Not everyone has parents, friends, or older siblings who can teach them these things. We could learn these things in Successful Living, a class that teaches you how to live successfully.

    Isn’t  WO’s motto College, Career, and Life ready? Life ready. Ready for whatever the world may throw at us. Flat tires included. So why is it I’m not prepared for life?