Introduction: How to Change a Tire on a Car
Have you ever gotten a flat tire? Whether your stuck on the highway or working in your garage, this document gives instructions on how to change a tire on a personal vehicle. This procedure may not be applicable for every type of car. This procedure will work for small to mid sized vehicles, for trucks and other large vehicles look for vehicle specific instructions. When in doubt always utilize professional services for car maintenance.
This procedure will require a basic background of using hand tools, and moderate physical strength.
Warning: This procedure has a chance to cause personal injury proceed with caution
Step 1: Materials Needed
There are three materials needed to be able to change a tire.
- Lug Wrench: to remove and fasten bolts on tire needs to be the same size as your tire nuts
- Jack: to raise car for removal of the tire
- Spare: replacement for tire being changed out
See picture captions for visuals of each material.
These are the minimum materials required to change a tire. Additional materials can be used for ease and safety.
- Breaker Bar: Used to add more turning force to the lug wrench
- Jack Stand: Used as a safety in case a jack fails
- Lock Tight: gel that acts as a lock sealant for bolts
These materials are not pictured.
Step 2: Find the Nuts on Your Tire
At this point you should have gathered the necessary materials needed to change a tire, and identified which tire or tires needs changing.
- The first step is to inspect the face of the tire of interest. There should be either four or five bolts evenly spaced around the center of the tire.
For cars with plastic rims only
A tire may have plastic rims or other objects, which cover the bolts of a tire. If your car has plastic rims you will need to remove them from the tire before proceeding.
- Gently pry the edge of the rim from the tire and work your way around the tire. The rim should pop off after enough of it has been pried from the edge of the tire.
Step 3: Placing the Jack
In the case of changing a tire a jack can be any apparatus that is capable of raising at least one wheel of a car off the ground.
These are the steps for finding a suitable place to set a jack.
- First ensure your car is on level ground
- Next look under the car in the corner closest to the tire being replaced.
- Then locate a sturdy looking flat piece of metal under your car in that corner
- Finally set your jack up under this spot
Step 4: Raising Your Tire
At this point your jack should be set up at it desired location and be ready for operation. Types of jacks will likely vary from person to person. Make sure you are using one purposed for a car, and refer to the operation manual of the jack for operation instructions.
Important: Lifting a car with a jack can be very dangerous. When lifting make sure that the car is stabilized, and no one is under the car. Stabilize the car by engaging an emergency brake if available. have the car in park if automatic and in gear if manual.
- First operate your jack, so that it starts raising your car. For these instructions a scissor jack was used. It can be operated by turning a screw located on the side of the device.
- Next lift your car with the jack until you can visibly see light between the tire and the ground (the picture shows the minimum you need to raise your tire)
- Optional: When you are finished raising your tire you can place a jack stand next to the jack and set it up so that it will hold the car up in case of jack failure.
Step 5: Removing the Nuts From Your Tire
The tire should be completely suspended before attempting to remove bolts from the tire. These are instructions for removing the bolts from your tire.
- First insert the hexagonal shaped lug wrench over one of the hexagonal shaped tire nuts.
- Next turn the wrench in a counterclockwise direction (it will take a lot of force to loosen a tire bolt, a breaker bar can be used to make the loosening of bolts easier. It will be fit over the end of the lug wrench and make the handle of the wrench longer. This allows more rotational force to be applied to the bolt.)
- Thread the nut in a counterclockwise direction until the nut comes off of the tire bolt.
- Repeat steps 1-3 until all nuts are removed from the tire.
Step 6: Remove the Tire
With all of the nuts removed from the tire you should be able to remove the tire from the tire bolts easily. If you are having trouble removing the tire because it is making contact with the ground consider raising the jack higher.
Step 7: Replace the Tire
Locate the tire you will be using as the replacement at this time. Numbering on bolts in the picture is for ordering tightening in an 'X' pattern.
This is the procedure for replacing the tire.
- First locate the metal holes around the center of the tire, then line these holes up with the tire bolts on your car and push the tire into place.
- Next take the nuts that were removed from the previous step place them on each tire bolt and start hand turning them in a clockwise direction until you feel resistance. The tapered end of the bolt should be facing the tire. (If the tires your replacing are permanent replacements you can add some lock tight adhesive to the tapered end of the bolt for extra bond strength)
- Finally tighten the nuts on the tire with a lug wrench as tight as you can get them. You can use a breaker bar to tighten the tire nuts. Make sure to tighten nuts in an X pattern. Failure to do this may cause improper seating of your tire. Warning: Inadequate tightening of nuts could lead to a tire falling off while driving.
Step 8: Lower Your Tire
Operate your jack, so that your tire is slowly lowered to its normal resting position. Then after all pressure has been removed from the jack remove it from under your car. Your tire has now been replaced, and you should be ready to drive.
Step 9: Closing
Hopefully this procedure has assisted in getting your car back on the road, or at least off of the side of the highway. This procedure was designed to assist in changing a tire on a car. It is important to note that this document does not necessarily cover all methods of tire removal. As a final reminder Changing a tire can be a dangerous task. If you have concerns about performing this procedure, professional services are always a great alternative.