Always be ready to change a tire

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You older fellas out there would think this one’s a no-brainer. Heck, even a younger angler who has spent any time on the road much will know that a tire is one of the weak links on a truck and trailer and it’s only a matter of time before one needs changing. But there are a few tricks that can make the process far more doable when the time comes.

Let’s start off with a story, though.

I was 16 years old and my dad and I had a club tournament on our local lake. He had just bought a new boat, the one he still has today, and the offer they made for him to trade in his 1996 374 Ranger was so low he just decided to keep it and give it to me. Yes, I know… a ridiculously nice boat for a 16-year-old kid but another building block in the foundation to the career I enjoy now, so thanks for that one, pops.

Anyway, we’re driving up our driveway, me pulling my boat in front of him pulling his and I got a little far to the right where we had a pipe running beneath the drive. The tire went off the side, hit the end of a cross tie, which crimped the rim and flattened the tire immediately. Not a good way to start the morning. There was no way to pump the tire back up with the rim damaged, so it was time to change it out.

The first lesson I learned is to always be sure to have a jack. I did not. So I set off walking back down our 100-yard long driveway to get a floor jack from my dad’s shop and proceeded to drag it back up the hill to the boat. This was actually a blessing compared to something like being on the side of an interstate without one.

Most vehicles have a small bottle jack usually located behind or under the back seat and they will usually work in a pinch. Another great tip if you have a dual axle trailer is to pull the good tire up onto something; use a wooden block or even a curb in a parking lot to elevate the good tire, which will also raise the damaged tire off of the ground so you can remove it.

A couple more quick tips before we move onto something else, always break the lug nuts free before jacking the tire up. Otherwise you’ll try to turn them and the wheel will turn. When you put the spare tire on, be sure the rim is seated flush and then snug your lug nuts in a specific order. Whichever one you snug first, snug one across from it next. This helps ensure the tire isn’t mounted crooked. Then continue to alternate as you go, snugging each lug nut fairly tight. Then let the tire back down onto the ground and give each lug nut one more effort now that the ground is able to keep the tire from spinning.