Instructables
Picture of Changing a Flat Tire

Perfect! You are simply enjoying a Sunday afternoon drive when you hear a loud pop followed by a constant thumping noise. You pull over and to your dismay you see your tire is flat.

Don't panic!

Maybe you’ve changed a tire before, or it is possible that you have never been in this situation, either way changing this tire won't be very difficult at all, and with the help of this instructable you should be able to put on that spare and be rolling again in no time.

 
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Step 1: Loosen Flat Tire Bolts

Picture 1
It is good to know where your spare tire and tools are located, and that they are in good order; the spare tire and tools required are usually stored in the trunk, however on a larger car or truck a spare may be bolted underneath the vehicle or onto the trunk. Get out the jack, tire iron, and crankshaft (refer to picture 3 here for tool images), but the spare can stay for now if you want.

Picture 2
It is very important to loosen the bolts holding the tire in place before raising the car off the ground, otherwise you may not be able to produce enough torque to loosen the bolts, especially old rusty ones, and you certainly don’t want to knock the car off of the jack. Only loosen the bolts a little bit right now though, this way the tire will safely stay in place.

Picture 3
Once the bolts are initially loosened, place the jack underneath the car. Only the manufacturer provided jack should be used; the use of a different jack could compromise safety. A small arrow or notch will be shown on the pinch wall of the car's frame under the car near each tire; this is where the jack should be lined up with and placed.

jj.inc2 years ago
I feel so sorry for you, they painted your spare bright red, probably to embarrass you and get you to fix the old one as soon as possible.
xaenon jj.inc6 months ago

It's done to identify the rim as a spare, so that nobody attempts to mount a regular tire on it, and yes, to also remind you that you are riding on your spare tire. In any case, it's best that you have your regular tire repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Those Mickey Mouse (space saver) spares are not intended for long-term use. In fact, they can create problems if left on the car for an extended time. For example, if your car has a limited slip differential, and the space saver is mounted on the drive axle, long-term use can cause failure of the limited slip mechanism. Those space saver tires don't have the grip your regular tires do, either - which may cause problems with handling or braking in some conditions. Also, if you have a space saver spare mounted on the car, you're usually restricted to a reduced speed (50 mph in most cases, I believe - check your owner's manual!). Exceeding the recommended speed increases the risk of handling or braking problems as well as increasing the risk of failure. For these reasons, I recommend replacing your space saver spare with a full-size rim and tire if at all possible.

jj.inc xaenon6 months ago

I've been lucky enough to have full sized spares in all of the vehicles I've changed out to date.

graydog1112 years ago
After you remove the flat tire, and before you put the spare on, You should NEVER do anything to disturb the car, such as putting the flat tire into the trunk. The correct order is:
Remove the flat tire.
Put the spare on.
Start 3 bolts to support weight of car should the car fall off jack.
Install all bolts.
Tighter bolts in this order: 1...3...5...2...4 or you risk warping wheel
Let jack down.
Re-torque bolts as described above.
Put flat in trunk.
Put jack in trunk.
HandyBob4 years ago
Once removed, you could place the flat tire next to the jack. In casethe jack gives out, the car falls on the tire and doesn't damage thebreak pads.
swiitanen (author)  HandyBob4 years ago
I would imagine that the brake rotors would be more at risk for damagethan the pads, but either way a very useful tip.
Thanks
They are. The brake pads are up there on the caliper, the rotor is cast iron on most cars, it can break.

Think safety first, imagine you're reaching under the car for a tool that just rolled under it when the jack collapses. Not likely, but possible.
Lftndbt4 years ago
Nice detail.

Looks like your spare, could do with a lil' air also. ; ) 
Roljo4 years ago
 It's Great that you show how this is done, there is alot of people who do not know how... but by looking at these pictures, you should never!
put your spare on the front of your car... too dangerous! even though you always see people do it, don't!  the spare wheel is not meant to support the weight of the motor and forces created when going around corners and there is not enough grip on the tire which could lead to a loss of control and accidents. Please take off your back tire and put it on the front and put your spare on the back. this might take a little longer to do but might "spare" you some other problems.

Thanks.
swiitanen (author)  Roljo4 years ago
Excellent point Roljo, and thanks for the comment. Hopefully this document can at least guide people through the process, whether it is a front or rear flat.

If you find yourself with a flat in a dangerous setting, such as the side of an interstate, it might be a good idea take as little time as possible to switch out the flat and spare to relocate to a safer place.

However Roljo is correct, riding with a spare up front, especially when you have a front mounted engine, can be just as dangerous or even more so than riding with a spare for an extended period of time.