How to Change a Flat Tire
Flat tires always seem to happen at the worst times. By following these directions, you can learn how to change a flat tire and get back on the road as soon as possible.
Make Sure You Have the Right Tools
Before you learn how to change a tire, you need to make sure that you have the right tools in your car. Your car should come with:
- A lug wrench
- A jack
- A spare tire
- An owner’s manual
You will need a few additional items to change your tire quickly and safely, though. Ideally, you should pack your vehicle with:
- Gloves that protect your hands
- A rain poncho
- A flashlight in case you get a flat at night
- Wheel wedges to prevent your car from rolling
- A small piece of wood to secure your jack
1. Change a Flat Tire: Pull Over and Find a Safe Place
Driving with a flat tire can damage your wheel, so you want to pull over as soon as you notice the flat. If you can, pull into a parking lot where you can work safely. If you have to pull over to the side of the road, put as much distance as you can between your vehicle and the traffic.
You should also turn on your hazard lights to let other drivers know you’ve stopped.
2. Change a Flat Tire: Secure Your Vehicle
Apply your vehicle’s parking brake and place the wheel wedges behind the front or rear tires.
3. Change a Flat Tire: Remove Your Hubcap and Loosen the Lug Nuts
You can typically remove hubcaps with the flat end of your wrench. Apply some pressure to pop off the hubcap and expose the lug nuts.
Use your lug wrench to loosen the flat tires lug nuts. You may need to apply a lot of force to loosen them. Don’t worry about damaging them. That’s nearly impossible for a person to do.
Make sure you only loosen the nuts. You don’t want to remove them, yet.
4. Change a Flat Tire: Position Your Jack and Raise the Vehicle
Most of today’s cars have plastic frames that will break under a jack’s pressure. Look for a bare, metal spot that won’t bend or break. Position on top of a piece of wood just under the metal area.
Use the jack to raise your vehicle about 6 inches off the ground.
5. Change a Flat Tire: Remove the Lug Nuts and Flat Tire
With the car safely elevated, you can remove the lug nuts and the flat tire. Put the lug nuts in your pocket or hubcap so you don’t lose them.
6. Change a Flat Tire: Attach and Tighten the Spare Tire
Replace the flat tire with the spare tire in your trunk. Put on the lug nuts and tighten them by hand.
7. Change a Flat Tire: Lower the Vehicle and Tighten the Lug Nuts
Once you have your spare tire on, you can lower your vehicle and use a wrench to finish tightening the lug nuts.
Finally, replace your hubcap and put away your tools.
Knowing how to change a flat tire can get you out of difficult situations. Remember that you shouldn’t drive very far on a spare, though. Make an appointment to get a new tire as soon as you can.