Cartoon from 'The New Yorker' about a spare tire

Another time you need a full-size spare.

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Last Saturday I was travelling south on I-75. Saw 2 small SUVs off on the right on the grass with 6 Gen Zs standing around holding upright a full size spare tire while looking at a cellphone in the hands of one of them.

I’m betting they were watching a YouTube video on how to change a flat tire one the SUVs they were driving.

In 1969, right after we graduated with our undergraduate degrees, I offered to demonstrate tire changing for a friend. He was totally clueless about essentially everything related to cars, and I wanted to teach him this skill before he had to travel fairly long distances for work.

He politely declined, and I didn’t press the issue. A year or so later, he mentioned that he had gotten a flat on his way home from work, so I asked him what he did about it. He replied that he stood outside his car until someone came along and offered to help him.
Me: How long did that take?
Him: Close to 3 hours.


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Or maybe calling Grandpa if Dad didn’t know. But hey, they had a phone. What else is needed?

Or: Good. I see there’s a spare in the “trunk”.


@MustangMan’s 6 Gen Zs did better than him.

I don’t remember learning how to change a tire but I’ve done it. It seems obvious.

Good one! I didn’t see that pun.

Most new cars don’t even have a donut spare, just the immobility kit. Including my Veloster. The car was new when a pothole took out my tire. I knew I needed to buy a spare but was still making sure I like the car. Alas, one tow later, I bought the whole spare package online.
I would be glad if any Gen Z’er can locate the spare

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I’m a boomer and I’ve known how to change a tire since the fall of 1956. We lived in Upstate New York, really upstate, the Adirondacks, where snow comes early and leaves late and snow tires are a must with a set of snow chains in the trunk.

I was 6-years old and my Grandfather took me outside to teach me how to change a tire when he was putting on the snow tires. He explained everything as I helped him with the first one (brings back sweet memories of times I spent with him…).

Now to do the other one, it was all on me (he had to bust the lug nuts loose I did not weigh enough). He told me to loosen the lugs a bit first while the car is still on the ground, now jack it up just enough to clear the ground, grab the jack and shake it back and forth to make sure the car is not going to shift and drop the car, jack it up some more if you are changing a flat, to pop the hubcap, and place it just under the car, remove the lug nuts placing each in the hub cap. Now again, the nuance of expert training, turn the tire so one of the lugs is at 12 o’clock so it’s easier to replace the tire and you are not spinning the tire trying to find a lug stud. Just start each lug nut by hand and then use the X-Lug Wrench to spin the lugs tight. Lower the car, tighten the lugs the rest of the way. Replace the hubcap, the jack, and anything else you’ve used and then to look the area over again to ensure you’ve not left anything behind.

Besides teaching this to several teenage friends when we first got cars, I even taught this to several teenage girlfriends, back when fewer thought they were divas. One girlfriend’s father played the heavy on me once about teaching his daughter to change tires. He then laughed and thanked me. She had been out late with friends and on the way home got a flat and changed it herself (the era before mobile phones…)

Taught my son this when he was young, and the first time he got a flat, he took me outside to show me the busted tire. I noticed something and asked him where his jack was and after a few seconds, all he said was, “S%#t…” and we drove back and found his jack… He’s a Gen X’er…

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to take a trip down memory lane and I hope you too have the opportunity to teach someone a life’s lesson.


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