It’s important to know how to change a tire correctly. There is always a chance that you won’t be able to rely on your cell phone to call for help for a roadside emergency. Your battery could be dead on your phone, you could forget it altogether or it’s possible you could be in a dead zone without a signal. A flat tire can happen anywhere. But its ok, because changing a tire is not that difficult. Below we have put together some simple to follow guidelines for changing a tire and some safety precautions you should take note of in case you find yourself with a flat.
Items you’ll need to change a flat tire
You should be able to find these items in your vehicle:
- Tire Jack
- Lug Wrench
- Spare Tire
If for some reason you cannot find these items in your car they should be purchased immediately. Also from time to time, you should check the tire pressure to your spare time, to make sure it is properly inflated. Ideally, you should check all of your tires Air pressure about once a month, including the spare, or before you take an extended car trip or attempt to carry an extra heavy load.
There are a few more items you should consider keeping in your vehicle at all times in case of an emergency situation
- Flashlight with working batteries
- Poncho or Rain Suit
- A thick Block of wood to secure the jack if needed like a cut off a piece of a 2×6
- A Pair of Gloves
- Tire Chocks
How to change a flat tire
1. PICK A SAFE LOCATION
The moment you realize you may have a flat tire, do not panic and make any abrupt turns or harsh braking. Slowly reduce your speed and start looking for a safe place to pull over with level ground or a parking lot. Do not attempt to pull over in a curvy road or a road without an adequate shoulder for you to get out of the way of traffic. Even though driving on a flat tire could potentially harm your rim, it is worth it to not get hit by a car that is not paying attention.
2. TURN ON YOUR HAZARD LIGHTS
Turn on your hazard light as soon as you think there may be a problem and leave them on for the duration of the time that you are on the side of the road to alert drivers passing by of your location.
3. USE THE PARKING BRAKE
This is a step that can easily be overlooked but is extremely important. The parking brake helps ensure that after the vehicle is lifted in the air, it does not roll off the jack. Even on level ground if you apply enough pressure to the tire jack you could inadvertently apply pressure to the vehicle that would cause it to roll.
4. CHOCK THE TIRES
Wheel chocks are an additional step towards preventing the vehicle from rolling. They should be positioned on the front and back of a tire on the opposite side of the car. Meaning if the flat is in the back, chock a tire in the front of the vehicle. Or vise versa. Adversely, if you do not have chocks available you can use a couple of large rocks or bricks as long as they are big enough to block the car from rolling over them.
5. REMOVE THE HUBCAP
It’s important to take care of steps 5 and 6 before lifting the vehicle or you may end up wasting time and having to lower the vehicle to remove the tire. If your flat tire has a hubcap covering the lug nuts it will need to be removed. Depending on the style of hubcap it may require that you remove it by using the lug wrench to unscrew the plastic lug nut covers to be able to remove the hubcap. Typically you can remove the hubcap by using the flat end of the lug wrench to pry it off at this point. You may have to consult the owner’s manual if it appears to require a different method of removal.
6. LOOSEN THE LUG NUTS
Using the Lug wrench place it on the lug nuts of the flat tire and one by one, break them loose but do not remove them yet. Turn them about a ½ to a full turn in a counter-clockwise direction. This may require you to use all of your body weight to break them loose. Apply pressure to the outermost part of the lug wrench to take advantage of all of the leverage the lug wrench has to offer.
7. JACK UP THE FLAT TIRE
To properly lift you may need to consult the owner’s manual. But some vehicles make it pretty obvious where the intended correct position of the jack is. Once you have determined the correct position of the jack if you have a thick block of wood its best to prevent the jack from settling but using the block of wood under the jack. Slowly raise the flat tire off the ground until it raises off the ground a few inches. Never put any part of your body underneath the vehicle.
8. REMOVE THE FLAT TIRE
It is now time to remove the lug nuts and the flat tire. Since you loosened them earlier, you should be able to remove them by hand at this point. Remove the flat tire and safely position it somewhere will it not roll away.
9. PUT ON THE SPARE TIRE
Now it is time to put the spare tire on the vehicle. LIft and rotate it slowly until the lug bolts are all through the wheel. Thread the lug bolts on by hand and tighten them all the way down by hand.
10. LOWER THE VEHICLE AND TIGHTEN THE LUG NUTS
Slowly lower the vehicle using the jack, and remove the jack and the block if you were using a block to prevent settling. Now, fully tighten the lug nuts using the lug wrench and the full weight of your body. Replace the hub cap if applicable. Double-check the air pressure in the spare tire to make sure it is safe to drive on.
11. STORE AWAY ALL EQUIPMENT
Remove the wheel chocks and place all equipment in your vehicle wherever you store your equipment.
12. TAKE YOUR FLAT TIRE TO A TIRE SHOP
Temporary spare tires are not intended to be driven for long distances or high speeds. You do not want to be stuck on the side of the road without a spare tire. As soon as possible make sure to take the flat tire to a mechanic or tire shop for evaluation.