Changing a flat tire is never fun, yet here is a step by step guide to get the job done safely. Enjoy!
By: Brandon Royal
Step 1: Find a Safe Location
Find a flat, stable and safe place to change your tire. Avoid soft ground and hills. You need a solid, level surface that will prevent the car from rolling. Note: If you are on the side of a road, park as far from traffic as possible and turn on your hazard lights.
Step 2: Apply the Parking Brake and Turn on Hazards
Ensure the car is in the “park” position. Apply the parking brake and turn on your hazards. Optionally, you may also apply a wheel wedge to secure the tire for greater safety. Applying a wedge or block diagonally opposite wheel will help keep the car from rolling once the flat tire is up in the air.
Step 3: Gather All Required Equipment
Locate and remove your spare tire, lug wrench and jack from your car. Tip: You can also use your floor mat to kneel on the ground.
Step 4: Loosen the Lug Nuts With Lug Wrench (Do Not Fully Remove)
Remove hub cap, if necessary, and loosen the lug nuts by turning counterclockwise. Do NOT take the lug nuts all the way off. IMPORTANT: By keeping the wheel on the ground at this point, we can ensure that you are turning the lug nuts instead of the wheel.
Step 5: Place the Jack Under the Vehicle
Locate the proper location for the jack. Properly place the jack under the frame near the tire that you are going to change. Ensure that the jack is in contact with the metal portion of your car frame and not the plastic molding.
Step 6: Use the Jack to Raise the Vehicle
Ensure the jack is level with the ground and is firmly in place against the underside of the car. Begin to pump or crank the jack to lift the tire off the ground; yet not lifting the car! Note: You only need to lift it high enough to remove the flat tire and replace it with the spare.
Step 7: Remove All Lug Nuts to Expose the Wheel Bolts
Fully remove all the lug nuts turning them counterclockwise and remove nut. Repeat for each and completely remove all lug nuts to fully expose the wheel bolts.
Step 8: Pull the Flat Tire Off the Vehicle
Grip the tire and pull it gently toward you until it is completely free from the wheel bolts to remove the tire. Set it on its side, so that it doesn’t roll away. Note: The tire might be “snug” due to rust, therefore gently wiggle the tire and remove. Yet if the jack is placed on a flat, solid base, should not have any problems.
Step 9: Mount the Spare Tire on the Wheel Bolts
Place the spare tire on the wheel bolts. Make sure you align the rim of the spare tire with the wheel bolts, then put on the lug nuts.
Step 10: Put on the Lug Nuts and Slightly Tighten
Place and tighten the lug nuts by hand until they are all snug. Using the wrench, tighten the nuts, giving each nut a full turn. Yet avoid using so much force that you risk disturbing the jack. Note: You will fully tighten the lug nuts again once the car is down on the ground.
Step 11: Lower Your Vehicle
Lower the car completely to the ground, applying full weight on the newly replaced tire.
Step 12: Fully Tighten Lug Nuts and Replace the Hubcap
Tighten the lug nuts with the lug wrench, turning clockwise, as much as you can. Push down on the lug wrench with the full weight of your body. With the lug nuts fully tightened, remove the jack. Replace hubcap, if needed.
Step 13: Put the Flat Tire and Tools Back in the Trunk
Before driving away, don’t forget to put all of the items back in the trunk. Stow the flat tire, jack, lug wrench, and hubcap if applicable.
Step 14: Check Tire Pressure and Take Flat to a Tire Technician
You should check the tire pressure of the spare tire to make sure that it is safe to drive on. IMPORTANT: “Donuts” or temporary spare tires are NOT made to drive long distances or at high speeds. Therefore, drive cautiously and visit a tire technician as soon as possible.