We all have either experienced or known someone who has dealt with a flat tire. While inconvenient, it’s necessary to understand how to change a tire. Follow these steps for the most effective and safe method.

 

Prepare Ahead of Time

 

A flat tire can happen any time, anywhere. Being prepared ahead of time is crucial for changing a flat tire successfully. Make sure you have the essentials! Have a spare tire, lug wrench, and jack ready.

 

Find a Safe Place to Stop 

If you have a flat tire, you will likely notice that your vehicle will start to wobble or vibrate while you drive. First, you’ll want to take a moment to slow down before pulling to the side of the road.  Find a place away from oncoming traffic to prevent collisions or accidents. Then, activate your hazard lights to alert oncoming vehicles.

 

Avoid driving on your flat tire if possible! Driving on a flat tire can cause structural damage to your vehicle. Your car’s brake lines, rotors, and fenders can be damaged and can potentially cost thousands of dollars to repair.

 

Gather the essentials

 

After stopping your vehicle, gather your owner’s manual, jack, spare tire, and lug wrench. Make your job easier by having everything in one place. Looking for supplies while changing your tire can be more time-consuming and frustrating. 

 

Loosen the Lug Nuts

 

If you lift your vehicle first, your tire will spin while you try to loosen the lug nuts. Instead, loosen the lug nuts before lifting your vehicle. Doing otherwise can make changing a tire more time-consuming. 

 

Lift Your Vehicle

If you are unsure about how to lift your vehicle, having a car jack is essential. Review your manual and find the jack that came with your vehicle. It’s usually located in the trunk or under the back seat. Position your jack under the jack point. These are by the front and back wheels. Then, turn the jack handle clockwise to lift your vehicle. 

 

Remove Your Tire

 

You will first want to remove the lug nuts to remove your tire. Store them in a safe place that you remember. Do not lose them! It is dangerous to drive without a lug nut since the pressure on the wheel can cause the others to fall off.  Then, to remove your tire, grab it firmly and pull it towards your body. Do your best to keep your back straight to save your back from future pain or soreness. 

 

Place the Spare On The Car

 

To correctly place the spare tire on the vehicle, align the rim with the wheel bolts. Be sure the wheel is not backward! You can check by ensuring the tire is facing away from the car. Remember to keep your car suspended when you are putting the tire on. 

 

Replace the lug nuts

 

Hand tighten the lug nuts first to make sure they are not too tight. Do this in a star-like pattern so the wheels have equal torque on the wheel studs. 

 

Lower the vehicle

 

To lower your vehicle, turn the handle of the jack counterclockwise. Then, when the car is lowered, remove the jack.

 

Tighten the lug nuts 

 

Tighten your lug nuts with a lug wrench to secure them. If they are too tight or too loose it can cause damage to the wheel. Make sure that they are snug. Additionally, it’s best to tighten the lug nuts in a star-like shape to reduce wheel flexing and to shift. You will want to do this twice to make sure the lug nuts are secure.

 

We always recommend going through this process at home when purchasing or receiving a new vehicle. This will help make sure you know where everything is located and speed up the process if and when you have to do this on the side of the road. Remember to be safe and if possible, carry high visibility cones like these in your trunk to place a few yards behind your vehicle and warn other drivers.

 

Be safe and always be prepared for the worse. Changing a tire on the side of the road is never something to look forward to, but being prepared will make it simpler and safer.