How To Change a Tire
It happened! You are in the middle of traffic or out on the highway and you’ve just gotten a flat tire. It’s bound to happen.
Changing a tire is an easy skill to acquire. You just need to follow these simple instructions:
- Owner’s manual
- Spare tire
- Lug wrench
- Tire wedges
- Slab of wood (2×6)
- Work gloves
- Flashlight (with batteries that work)
- Rainproof poncho (for inclement weather)
- Tire pressure gauge
1. Don’t Panic:
This is everyone’s first mistake. Panicking and turning or braking suddenly can cause you to lose control of the vehicle. Don’t put yourself, your passengers, or other motorists at risk.
Calmly turn on your hazard lights and find a safe place to pull over. Look for a place with level ground, and a straight stretch of road. Don’t mark on a curve: you don’t want your vehicle to roll, and you want to make other drivers can see you.
2. Put on the E-Brake:
Once you’ve found the ideal location to start working, pull your parking or “emergency brake.” The last thing you need right now is for your car to get away on you!
3. Place a Wedge Under Your Wheels:
Depending on which wheel is flat, your placement will differ. If it’s a front wheel flat place the wedge behind the rear wheel. If it’s a rear flat, place it in front of the front wheels. You can buy wedges for this particular purpose, or you can use bricks or stones that are large enough to prevent the car from rolling.
Most hubcaps will pop off with the flat end of your lug nut wrench. If you require a different tool, refer to your owner’s manual.
If you have exposed lug nuts you can just skip this step.
5. Loosen The Lug Nuts:
This is not the easiest task. Rotate counterclockwise to loosen the lug nuts. Be sure to only loosen them, though. You don’t want to remove them quite yet.
6. Line up The Jack:
There is a spot underneath, on the frame of your vehicle, for the jack to fit. Not too sure where it is for each wheel? Refer to your owner’s manual again. It’s usually an exposed part of the frame positioned to prevent any damage to the car.
7. Lift The Automobile:
Before you start to jack up the car, you may want to throw some support underneath your jack. The Jack can sometimes settle under the weight of your car and become unbalanced. We don’t need the car coming down and crushing anything beneath it. Try keeping a small 2×6 slab of wood in the car with you. Place it under the jack to help keep it stable.
First, screw off all off and set them aside. Next, pull off the whole wheel off by tugging on the treads of the tire.
It should come off with a few good heaves. An extra safety precaution is to lay the tire on its side and slide under the car it so that the middle of the rim is lined up with the hub of the wheel.
If by some chance the vehicle shifts and the jack buckles, you have another safety measure in place. However, if the hub sits on the road, it’s very unlikely that you will ever get it back up by yourself.
9. Slip on The Spare:
Most vehicles come with a spare tire located in the trunk, or underneath it. Each one is removed a little differently so, dust off that trusty owner’s manual.
Line up the lug bolts with the holes in your spare and gently push it all the way back. You’ll want to move the flat tire sitting under the hub first, of course. Place the lug nuts back onto their bolts and tighten by hand. Double check them all and make sure they are as tight as possible.
10. Lower Your Vehicle:
Lower the vehicle so that the tire is touching the road and won’t roll or spin. Don’t put the whole weight of the vehicle down on the road yet. This can get tricky if you are on a dirt or gravel road so use cautious judgement.
Use the lug wrench to further tighten the lug nuts back into place. Once they are tightened you can lower the vehicle right to the ground. Give the lug nuts one last check by trying to tighten them a little further.
11. Place Your Hubcap:
If the cap fits the spare then replace it the same way you took it off. If not, store it somewhere in your car until you have the flat repaired or replaced.
12. The Cleanup:
All the tools you’ve just used came from somewhere in your car1 Be sure not to leave anything behind. Lug wrench, jack, wedges, THE SPARE… put them all back where they came from and store them properly. You never know when you’ll need it again.
Before driving off, check your spare. Is it on tight enough? Make sure the pressure is up to par. Take any means necessary to ensure that you don’t cause any more hazards for yourself down the road. Spare tires aren’t usually designed to take long trips or high speeds, so be careful.
14. Last But Not Least:
Take your car to get checked for any damage, and have a specialist take a look at ALL your tires. They can let you know if your flat is repairable or if it needs replacing. They can also tell you if you are in need of other services required for a safe drive. Routine maintenance is the best way to prevent another incident!