How to Change a Flat Tire

Picture it: You’re on a road trip with a couple of friends, the tunes are blaring, everyone is singing along, and soon you’ll arrive at the adorable Airbnb you booked. But that’s when you hear it: the dreaded noise your car makes when it has a flat. You exchange glances with one another, hoping someone knows how to change a tire, but you can tell they know as much about your current situation as you do. Well, we’re here to change the narrative with this guide on changing a tire in 10 simple steps!

How to Change a Tire, Step-by-Step

  1. Find a safe place to pull over that has solid, level ground. Pull over as far as possible, avoiding any bends in the road. If it’s dark, get somewhere with light for visibility and safety. Use your parking brake to prevent your car from rolling.
  2. Turn on your hazards so oncoming traffic can see you.
  3. Make sure you have the supplies you need, including a jack, a wrench, and a spare tire. Other useful items include a flashlight, gloves, a tire gauge, and your owner’s manual.
  4. If your vehicle has a hubcap, you’ll need to pry it off. Next, secure the wrench onto a lug nut and turn it counterclockwise to loosen. Repeat this process for each lug nut, making sure each one is loose enough to turn with your hand, but don’t remove them just yet.
  5. Now it’s time to lift your car by placing your jack under the metal frame of your vehicle, avoiding the plastic molding. If you’re unsure of jack placement, the best resource is your owner’s manual. Once the jack is where it needs to be, use it to raise the tire you’re changing off the ground.
  6. Back to the lug nuts: Continue turning them counterclockwise until they come off; place them in a safe spot, so you don’t lose them. (Lug nuts are what keep your tire on your vehicle; with them removed, you can carefully remove your flat tire.)
  7. Next, line up your spare tire holes with the lug nut posts and push the spare onto the wheelbase as far back as possible.
  8. Put the lug nuts in place so the tire stays put, but don’t fully tighten them yet.
  9. Using the jack once again, slowly lower your vehicle so that your tire is just touching the ground to keep it in place, then tighten the lug nuts in small increments, alternating every-other nut. This ensures the tire is on straight.
  10. Once the lug nuts feel equally tight, lower your vehicle completely to the ground. Continue to tighten the lug nuts until they can no longer budge. Voilà! You have successfully changed your tire!

Extra Tips

  • Always be prepared. Routinely check that you have all the materials you need to change a tire in your trunk – just in case.
  • The last thing you want is to endanger your own life while you’re trying to change a spare, so make sure that you’re as far away from traffic as you can get, that there is a light source, and that you have plenty of room to work.
  • Before you begin changing your tire, make sure that your car is securely parked and won’t start to roll while you’re working.
  • Once it’s all said and done, make sure you replace your space!

Sources: Miller Auto Plaza, Bridgestone Tire

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