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Road Trip Safety with SheJumps: Trailside Auto Repairs

SheJumps Ambassador, Alicia Mau, teams up with DirtFish to provide helpful guidance on how to change a flat tire and jumpstart a car when you're trailside.

Photo by Ryan French

Have you ever been cruising down a forest road when you hit an unavoidable pot hole? How about getting back to your car after a long hike and it refuses to start? On an otherwise fantastic trip, these can be quick downers for any traveler, but if we prepare ourselves ahead of time they don’t have to completely ruin our day!

As avid adventurers, we often seek remote areas to recreate in. While this provides us with a beautiful way to recharge in the peace and quiet of nature, it can also mean traveling outside of cell service and away from a helping hand. The following article will help you gain the knowledge to be self-sufficient if you find yourself with a flat tire or dead battery while recreating outdoors.

Disclaimer: This guide is not a replacement for following your owner’s manual. Please see your owner’s manual for your vehicle-specific instructions and proceed at your own risk.

Changing a Flat Tire

Video by Ryan French

What You’ll Need

  • Fully Inflated Spare Tire

  • Tire Iron/Lug Wrench

  • Car Jack

  • Vehicle’s Owner Manual


  1. Slow down and find a safe place to pull over as soon as possible (preferably on a flat surface)

  2. Turn on your hazard lights and place a reflective caution triangle near your car if you have one

  3. Engage the parking brake and turn off the car

  4. If available, find a rock or large stick to wedge behind the tire opposite to the flat to prevent rolling

  5. Remove spare tire, car jack, and tire iron from vehicle and check spare for max mph limit

  6. If applicable, remove hub cap from the flat to expose lug nuts/bolts

  7. Use tire iron to loosen the lugs while tire is still on the ground (one turn is plenty, use foot if needing more leverage)

  8. Check your owner’s manual to find the proper jack points for your vehicle

  9. Slide jack under jack point and begin to crank the jack handle clockwise to raise it up

  10. Ensure proper seating of the contact point between the jack and vehicle, then raise the car until the wheel is about 6 inches off the ground *NEVER put your body under the vehicle while it is jacked up*

  11. Remove the lug nuts/bolts and pull wheel off the hub (keep lugs in a safe place while switching wheels)

  12. Place the spare on the hub and slide wheel holes over the lug bolts or line them up with the lug holes

  13. Hand tighten the lug nuts/bolts back on (being careful not to strip the threads)

  14. Turn the jack handle counterclockwise to lower the vehicle to gently rest on the ground

  15. Use the tire iron to further tighten the lugs in a star pattern using your full weight to tighten

  16. Remove the jack and place all tools and flat back inside the vehicle before heading to a tire technician

Photos by Ryan French

Jumpstarting a Car with Cables

Make sure to check your owner’s manual for instructions on jumping your specific vehicle as newer models may have different steps and contact points. Always follow the instructions from your owner’s manual.

Photo by Ryan French

What You’ll Need

  • Jumpstarter Cables

  • A second working vehicle


  1. Bring the working vehicle close enough to your car for the jumper cables to reach between the two batteries

  2. Turn off both vehicles and engage parking brakes

  3. Pop the hoods of both vehicles and locate the batteries

  4. Locate the negative and positive terminals. They may be color coded with positive being red, or labeled “POS”, or “+”. The negative terminal (-) will be black

  5. Carefully connect the red handled clamp of the jumper cables to the positive terminal of the dead battery and then the opposite red handled clamp to the positive terminal of the working battery

  6. Keep the metal part of the clamps away from each other when you are connecting the batteries. If they touch this can cause a spark. Always defer to your owner’s manual for your specific vehicle’s proper order of connecting and connection locations for the jumper cables

  7. Connect the black handled clamp to the negative terminal of the working battery and the second black clamp to a piece of unpainted metal or grounding spot of the dead car (away from the dead battery)

  8. Turn the working car on, then turn on the car with the dead battery

  9. If the car doesn’t start, allow the working vehicle to run for five minutes and try again

  10. Once the vehicle with the dead battery starts, do not turn the vehicle off

  11. Carefully remove all clamps in the reverse order they were placed

  12. Latch the hoods and stow gear

  13. Try to drive the jumped vehicle for at least 15 minutes before turning it off again

Jumpstarting a Car with a Jump Starter Battery Pack

Pro-tip: If you want to be completely self sufficient in jump starting your vehicle, a great tool to have in your car is a jump starter battery pack. These are very straightforward to use and eliminate the need for another vehicle to help you get back on the road. The video below shows how to use one of these jump starter battery packs.

Video by Ryan French

Join SheJumps Women's Car Control Clinic at Pacific Raceways

For hands-on experience changing a flat, jumpstarting a car, or putting on chains, join SheJumps on December 19th for SheJumps' Women’s Car Control Clinic! This full day course will teach you how to have confidence driving in tricky conditions and handling whatever bumps you may come across on your next adventures. You can register for SheJumps' Car Control Clinic at Pacific Raceways here.


SheJumps is an inclusive organization. We welcome all women and girls (transgender and cisgender) as well as non-binary people who identify with the women’s community. SheJumps strives to be an ally in the fight against racism and acknowledges that our events and programs take place on traditional, unceded Indigenous lands.

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