Everyone should know how to change a tire in the event that you’re caught with a flat. The process is simple enough for anyone to do on their own, but certain steps must be followed to do the job correctly. This guide provides you with a good reference when changing a tire.
Pull off the road and onto a safe, flat area. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers. Put automatic cars in park and set the parking brake; put manual cars in first or reverse gear.
Grab That Spare Tire
Collect your spare tire, tire iron and jack from the trunk of your car. It’s also a good idea to get the owner’s manual for further instruction.
Use Your Tire Iron
Use the tire iron to loosen the lug nuts. They fit tightly so you may need to use your body weight to leverage the tire iron.
Jack Up Your Car
Jack up your car according to the instructions in the manual. Most cars have slots in the frame next to each tire for the jack. It’s normal to hear creaking sounds as your car is lifted. Raise your car high enough for the tire to spin freely. Never get underneath your car while it’s jacked up for your own safety.
Use your hands to unscrew the lug nuts the rest of the way, then pull the old tire straight off the bolts.
Lift Off Spare Tire
Lift the spare tire, match the holes on the rim to the bolts and push it straight back into place.
Hand-tighten the lug nuts as tight as you can. At this point, using the tire iron will cause the wheel to spin.
Lower Car Down
Slowly lower your car back down using the jack.
Further Tighten Nuts
Tighten the lug nuts the rest of the way using the tire iron. Work in a diagonal pattern, rather than going in a circle, to ensure even pressure.
Go To Tire Shop
Once you’ve replaced the tire, drive to the nearest car dealership, mechanic or tire shop. Spare tires are designed for short-term emergency use and it’s likely that you’ll need to replace it with a full-sized tire.
Keeping an emergency kit in your trunk can help you perform this job with ease in a variety of weather and road conditions. Helpful items include gloves, tarp, flashlight with extra batteries, tire gauge and a poncho.
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FAQ’s About How to Change a Tire
What tools do I need to change a tire?
To change a tire, you will need a lug wrench, a jack, and a spare tire. It’s also recommended to have wheel wedges, gloves, and a flashlight if you’re changing a tire in low-light conditions.
How do I know if my spare tire is in good condition?
Check your spare tire regularly for any signs of wear, cracks, or low pressure. It’s important to maintain it at the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure, which you can find in your vehicle’s manual or on the tire information placard.
Can I change a tire on a slope?
It’s not safe to change a tire on a slope. Always look for a flat, stable surface to perform a tire change. If you’re on a slope and can’t get to a flat area, call for professional roadside assistance.
How often should I practice changing a tire?
It’s a good idea to practice changing a tire at least once a year so you’re familiar with the process. This will help you be more efficient and confident if you need to change a tire in an emergency situation.
How tight should the lug nuts be when I put them back on?
Lug nuts should be tightened to the manufacturer’s specified torque. This information can usually be found in your vehicle’s manual. It’s important not to over-tighten as this can damage the nuts or studs.
What should I do with my flat tire after changing it?
After changing your flat tire, place it in your trunk or designated spare tire area and take it to a professional to assess whether it can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced.
Is it safe to use a fix-a-flat product instead of changing the tire?
Fix-a-flat products can be a temporary solution for small punctures, but they are not a substitute for a proper tire change. They can also potentially damage tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS). It’s best to use these products only in an emergency and to get your tire professionally repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
How do I lift my car with a jack safely?
To safely lift your car with a jack, first ensure the car is on a flat, stable surface and the parking brake is engaged. Place wheel wedges against the tires opposite of the flat to prevent rolling. Locate your car’s jack points, which are reinforced spots designed for lifting. Position the jack under the appropriate jack point and raise the vehicle by turning the jack handle clockwise until the tire is off the ground. Make sure you never put any part of your body under the vehicle while it is supported only by the jack.
What should I do if my tire blows out while driving?
If you experience a tire blowout while driving, remain calm, grip the steering wheel firmly, and let your car slow down gradually. Do not slam on the brakes. Once you’ve regained control, steer your car to a safe location away from traffic before attempting to change the tire or calling for help.
How long can I drive on a spare tire?
Spare tires, especially “donut” spares, are meant for temporary use and should not be driven on for long distances or at high speeds. Generally, you should drive no more than 50 miles and not exceed 50 mph on a spare tire. Refer to your vehicle’s manual for specific recommendations and replace the spare with a full-size tire as soon as possible.