How to Change a Flat Tire: A Step by Step Guide
Too often, you’re not in a convenient location when you need to change a flat tire. Fortunately, with a little preparation, it doesn’t have to ruin your day. Changing a flat tire might be tricky at first, but before you know it, you’ll be a pro.
1. Collect Your Tools
The tools needed should always be stored in your vehicle. Items most vehicles come equipped with include:
- A jack
- The vehicle’s owner manual
- A lug wrench
- A spare tire (check this periodically to make sure it’s full)
Other items you’ll need to supply on your own include:
- A flashlight or headlamp
- A tire gauge
- Wheel wedges
- Work gloves
- A rain poncho
2. Safely Pull Over and Park
The moment you realize your tire is flat, turn your hazard lights on and begin to slowly reduce your speed. Never settle for changing a flat tire on a narrow shoulder of the road. Slowly drive to a safer area. This could be a larger shoulder, an empty parking lot, or a nearby field.
After you have safely pulled off the road, apply your parking brake. Get out of your car and immediately place wheel wedges on the correct tires. If you are changing a back tire, your wedges should go in front of the front wheels. If you are changing a front tire, your wedges should go in back of the back wheels.
3. Loosen the Lugs
If your tire has a hubcap, remove it. They pop off fairly easy with the end of a lug wrench, but if yours doesn’t, you may need to consult the owner’s manual.
With the lug nuts exposed, give them a quarter to half turn counterclockwise using the lug wrench. They should be loose, but not completely off.
4. Jack Up the Vehicle
Check with your owner’s manual to find the right spot to place the jack so you can ensure safety. It’s typically underneath the frame near the flat tire. After it’s securely placed, begin to crank the jack so the tire rises off the ground. You don’t have to go too far up. Just look for light to shine under the tire, and you’ve got it high enough.
5. Remove the Bad Tire
Using the lug wrench, finish loosening the lug nuts and place them somewhere they can’t roll away. If the tire doesn’t come right off, give the sidewall a kick or two and it should break free. Set it out of the way on its side.
6. Mount and Tighten the Spare
Line up the rim of your spare tire with the lug bolts. Give it a good shove to make sure it sits where it should. With your fingers (not the wrench), begin to screw the lug nuts onto the bolts. Get them as tight as you can, but don’t worry that they’re not all the way tight yet.
7. Lower and Tighten Again
With the jack, slowly lower the vehicle until the tire touches the ground. Using the lug wrench, begin to tighten the lug nuts further. Lower the vehicle the remainder of the way so full weight is on the tire once again. Remove the jack. Tighten the lug nuts one last time, putting all the pressure you’ve got on the lug wrench so they’re as tight as you can get them.
8. Clean Up and Head Off
Before you clean up completely, check the pressure in your spare with the tire gauge. Put your tools away, wipe yourself off, and you can be on your way. Remember to head to the car shop for a replacement as soon as possible because spare tires aren’t meant for driving long distances.
9. Contact the Professionals
If you’re having trouble understanding how to change a spare tire, come to Greg’s Japanese Auto in the Puget Sound. Taking care of all your car maintenance needs, we’ll make sure to get you on the road again. Contact us today!
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