Introduction: Simple How to Change a Tire
These simple steps will save you the cost of calling an auto shop or tow truck to change your tire. This can also save you a great deal of money if you get a full set of 4 new tires, and change them yourself instead of at the auto shop. Changing a tire should take about 30 minutes. You will not need any additional materials other than the ones that come with your vehicle.
Step 1: Find a Flat Area
You need to park your car in a flat paved area. This is important so the jack doesn't sink into the ground, and so the car does not roll while the tire is being changed.
Step 2: Park
Be sure your car is in park. Fully engage the parking break. This will prevent your car from rolling while the tire is being changed.
Step 3: Turn Off the Car
Make sure the car is turned off while changing the tire.
Step 4: Turn on Hazard Lights
Turn on your hazard lights if you are on a roadside or shoulder. This is not necessary if you are in a parking lot.
Step 5: Wedge the Tires
Find objects to wedge the tires. Wood blocks, stones, and bricks work well. They must be wedged well enough to prevent the car from rolling while jacked up. Wedge the front and back of each tire. If you only have enough resources to wedge one tire, wedge the opposite tire from the one that you are changing.
Step 6: Find the Jack
The jack for the car is usually located in a compartment, usually in the floor or wall of your vehicle.
Step 7: Remove the Hubcaps
Most hubcaps are removed by taking a screwdriver, crowbar, or other flat tipped object. You then press between the hubcap and the tire and the hubcap will pop off. Sometime you will need to do this around the edge of the hubcap. Many aluminum hubcaps are removed by a notch near the center of the tire, and not around the outside edges.
Step 8: Loosen the Lug Nuts
Place the wrench on the lug nut, and then stand up and place your foot on the wrench so when you step it will rotate counter-clockwise. Repeat for the other lug nuts until they are all able to be loosened with your fingers, but do not loosen them further.
Step 9: Find the Jack Locations
Your car's manual may show jack locations. The locations should have a divot the size of the top of the jack where it can rest without wiggling. Often times the shown jack locations are some of the first parts to rust on a car, so you may need to find an alternate location. Any location near the wheel that is solid metal and not plastic or rusted will work.
Step 10: Jack the Car Up
Do this by rotating the jack with one of the parts included in the jack kit. Start slowly to ensure the jack doesn't shift or cause rusted parts to crumble. Jack the car up until the wheel is about an inch off the ground.
Warning: If you drop something under the car while it is on the jack, use a stick to retrieve it. Do not reach under the car.
Step 11: Remove the Tire
Remove the lug nuts and place them in a safe place like a pocket. The tire should slide straight off.
Tip: If the tire seems stuck then you may need a sledgehammer, board, or brute force to remove the tire from the car. Be careful not to tip the tire off the jack.
Step 12: Attach the Spare Tire
Slide the spare tire into place, aligning the holes with the bolts.
Step 13: Lightly Tighten the Lugnuts
Tighten the lug nuts with your fingers in a star pattern. Only slightly tighten them each time you do this, and repeat until you cannot tighten them with your fingers anymore.
Tip: The star pattern means that each lug nut you tighten should be on the opposite side of the previous lug nut.
Step 14: Slightly Lower the Jack
Lower the jack until the wheel is slightly touching the ground.
Step 15: Fully Tighten the Lugnuts
Tighten the lug nuts with the wrench using the same technique as earlier, but in the clockwise direction.
Step 16: Remove the Jack
Lower the car until you can remove the jack, then remove the jack and place it where you found it.
Step 17: Drive Away (slowly)
Spare tires usually have a limit of around 50 Mph and do not last for very long, so you should drive carefully and get a full replacement tire soon. Don't forget to turn off your hazard lights, disengage the parking break, and remove the wedges from the tires.
Tip: Bookmark this guide for when you get your new tire.