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How to Change a Tire

Friday, June 1, 2012

Image Courtesy of Flickr

Every driver should know how to change a tire even if they have a membership with roadside assistance. You may not have time to wait for help or be somewhere roadside assistance cannot get to you. In the event you need to change your own flat or blown tire, follow these easy steps.

1. Safety First

When you notice that one of your tires needs to be changed, pull off of the road and park on the most even or flat area to which you can maneuver safely. If you are parked on a hill, make sure to angle your tires correctly and engage the parking brake. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers to your presence and turn off the engine. Flares are recommended if you are parking on the side of a heavily traveled road.

2. Gather the Tools

Remove your spare tire, portable car jack and tire iron from your trunk and place them near the flat tire within an arm’s reach. You will save yourself time by having everything you need to change your tire easily accessible.

3. Hubcap and Lug Nuts

Take the hubcap off of your tire using the wedge end of your tire iron. With the hubcap removed, you can loosen the lug nuts. Turn the tire iron counterclockwise to loosen the nuts. Follow a star pattern while working with the lug nuts.  Remember to only loosen them and not remove them completely during this stage.

4. Jack Up the Car

Check your car’s owners’ manual for the location recommended for safe and sturdy jack placement. Next, jack your car up high enough to accommodate the spare tire.  If you have a full size spare tire, you may need to jack it up higher because an inflated tire is larger than a deflated tire.

5. Remove the Flat

Remove the loosened lug nuts off of the flat tire and place them inside the hub cap to avoid losing any of them. Remove the deflated tire and place the spare onto the wheel. Make sure the air valves are facing toward you.

6. Replace the Lug Nuts and Hub Cap

Following the same pattern you used to loosen the lug nuts to put them back onto the new tire. Lower your car with the jack and take the jack out from under your car. Next, tighten the lug nuts and secure the hub cap.

By following these steps, you can change your own flat tires without assistance.