Tips for Changing a Flat Tire
A flat tire is one of life’s little unwanted expectancies that can ruin a good day. If you are in your own driveway, it may not be that big of a deal, but if it happens while you are on the road or in a parking lot, it can be a real headache. While changing a tire is not that difficult, there are some things you need to know that can help you successfully change a flat tire on your car.
- 1. Familiarize yourself with the equipment you need to change a flat tire on your car. Check to make sure that you have a working jack, a tire iron that fits the lug nuts on your car, and a spare tire for your car. If you have a special nut on your tire called a “locking nut,” you will also need the socket that matches it. This socket typically comes with your car when you buy it and is used to remove the special nut.
- 2. Check to ensure that the car is in park and the emergency brake is set. Do not attempt to change a flat tire on a hill. If there is a slight slope, place a rock, brick, or other heavy object behind the tire that is opposite of the one you intend to change.
- 3. Use the tire iron to loosen the lug nuts on the flat tire. Do not remove the lug nuts completely. This will come after you have jacked the car off the ground. Note that the lug nuts may not turn easily and you should be prepared to really put your strength into getting them to loosen up.
- 4. Place the jack under the solid part of your car. Check the operating manual of your vehicle to see which area of the underside of the car the manufacturer recommends.
- 5. Raise the jack until it meets with the car’s frame. Continue raising the jack until it lifts the tire off of the ground. It does not have to be off the ground very far. You just want it off the ground enough to allow you to remove the tire.
- 6. Remove the lug nuts from the wheel. Set the lug nuts in a secure location or put them in your pocket until you need them again. Remove the flat tire from the wheel.
- 7. Line each hole of the spare tire up and over the wheel studs. Use your foot to help hold the tire in place. Place the spare tire onto the wheel.
- 8. Replace the lug nuts in their proper positions. Tighten them by hand. If you use the tire iron, do not attempt to over-tighten them. A sudden push could force the jack to move out from under the car.
- 9. Lower the jack slowly and remove it from under the car. Use the tire iron to tighten the lug nuts as tight as you can.
- 10. Store the flat tire in the trunk where the spare tire was. If your car came equipped with a “doughnut,” which is a smaller tire that is specifically made for use as a spare tire, you may find that the tire will not fit back into the original spot. Secure the flat tire in the trunk or place it in the back seat of your car.
- 11. Retrieve the tire iron and the jack from the ground. Secure them in your car. Remember to remove the rock or object that you placed behind the opposite tire. Make a final walk around the car to ensure that you have not left anything behind. You have now successfully changes your first flat tire.