How To Change a Flat Tire
As a car owner, knowing how to change a flat tire is one of the most essential skills to learn to ensure that you don't end up in a bad situation. Flat tires have a way of popping up at the most inconvenient of times. Whether you’re on a road trip, on your way to a meeting, or in any other time-sensitive situation, it is prudent to know what to do should you have the misfortune of blowing one of your tires. Luckily, out of all the things that could go wrong with your car, this is one of the easiest situations to handle. Follow these short steps for how to change a flat tire and you'll be back on the road in no-time.
1. Park in a safe area
If you’re tire blows out or goes flat, you’ll feel a sudden jolt in the wheel. Maintain a firm grip over the wheel, engage your hazard lights, and gently apply pressure on the brakes. Avoid slamming on the brakes, as this may cause you to lose control over the vehicle.
Take care to find a flat space on the side of the road with enough room for you to get out and work without coming too close to passing traffic. Remember, safety is the priority here. It’s better to drive for awhile (slowly, of course) on a flat tire than it is to try to change a flat in an area where you risk getting hit by another car or having your jack slip out from under your vehicle.
Once you’ve parked in a safe spot, block the tire opposite of the flat tire with a stone, brick, or any other hard object on hand. If, for example, your front left tire is flat, block the back right one to prevent slippage.
2. Loosen the lug nuts
In most cars, you’ll find a tire iron with your spare tire beneath the storage space in your trunk. Use this to loosen the flat tire’s lug nuts by locking the socket of the tire iron in with the nut and rotating it counterclockwise. Do this until all the nuts are loose enough to remove by hand, but do not remove them just yet. It is important to always do this step before jacking up the car, as it is much more difficult to loosen the nuts if the wheel will not hold still.
3. Jack up your car
Place the jack beneath your car in the appropriate location. This is usually on the metal frame behind the front wheel, but check your owner’s manual to find the right spots to jack up your car. Once the jack has come into contact with the car’s frame, ensure that it is in a sturdy location and won’t slip once the car’s weight is on it. Once you ascertain this, crank the jack until the car is raised high enough for you to remove the flat tire.
4. Remove the flat
Unscrew the lug nuts by hand, remove the flat tire, and place it in the spare tire location in your trunk.
5. Place the spare tire on the wheel
Line up the holes in your spare with the bolts in the wheel and place the tire on so it’s flush with the wheel. After you’ve done this, put the lug nuts back on and tighten them firmly by hand.
6. Lower the car
Release the jack and slowly lower your car back onto the ground.
7. Tighten the lug nuts
Finish tightening the lug nuts with a tire iron. You’ll want these to be as tight as you can make them, as you don’t want to risk the tire slipping off while you’re on your way for a flat tire fix at the nearest service station.
There you have it: seven simple steps for how to change a flat tire. Once you’ve managed to get your spare on, it’s advisable to proceed immediately to the nearest service station, as most spare tires are not meant to be driven on for extended periods of time.