Got a flat? Knowing how to change a flat tire can save you a lot of time and hassle. It is a skill that every man (and woman) should possess. Here’s a simple guide on how to do it:
What you will need:
-Owner’s manual for the vehicle
If you have a new vehicle, these items are usually included with the sale of your vehicle – just check in the truck. If you have an older or used vehicle you may need to purchase these items or replace them. You should also carry a flashlight, gloves, reflective triangles, WD-40, and wheel wedges.
Here’s how to change a flat tire:
Step 1: Find a safe place to pull over
In the event that you are driving when your tire blows, slow down, turn on your hazard lights, and find a safe place to pull over. Parking lots, shoulders, side streets, and straight roads are all good places to stop. Avoid stopping on the road, on busy roads, or on curvy roads where other traffic may have a difficult time seeing you. If none of the options above areas are available, make sure to put as much distance as possible between yourself and traffic.
Step 2: Secure your vehicle
Before hopping out of your vehicle, put it in park, turn it off, and engage the emergency brake. Also, turn on your warning lights to let other drivers know you are stopped and not part of traffic. If you have wheel wedges, place them behind your wheels (opposite to the side of the flat tire) before you start, to prevent your vehicle from rolling. If you do not have wheel wedges, you can also use large rocks.
Step 3: Grab your tools
If your vehicle is new, you can find where your tools are by consulting the owner’s manual; these items are most commonly stored in the truck, and sometimes in a hidden compartment within the trunk space. Grab the tire changing tools (as described above) and a flashlight, gloves, and reflective triangles. A flashlight and reflective triangles are especially important if you are changing a flat at night-time.
Step 4: Loosen up the Lug nuts
Use your wrench to loosen (NOT remove) the lug nuts. Note: If you have a hub cap or wheel cover, you will have to remove it first. You can do this by using a screwdriver, the lug wrench, or the flat end of the jack handle. Once the lug nuts are exposed, loosen them by using the wrench to turn them counterclockwise. If the nuts are too tight, you can use penetrating oil (like WD-40) to loosen them. Remember, at this stage you just want to loosen them, not remove them completely.
Step 5: Lift your car
Use your jack to lift your vehicle. When doing this, consult with your owner’s manual first to find the best place to secure your jack. DO NOT move forward until you have read your manual and read the instructions. Once you have found the spot, raise your car as high as needed to remove the tire. If at any time you feel the vehicle is not secure, reposition the jack.
Step 6: Remove lug nuts and wheel.
Use the wrench to remove the lug nuts completely. It doesn’t matter which nut you loosen first. Pick one, then continue moving around the nuts in a “star” pattern. This pattern helps keep the wheel centered. You should also use this pattern when putting the nuts back in. Place them somewhere safe and remove your tire using two hands.
Step 7: Attach your spare
Align your new wheel with the bolts and reattach the lug nuts. This time you will need to turn them clockwise, but use the same star pattern you used when removing them. Make sure the tire is secure before lowering your vehicle to the ground, but don’t completely tighten the nuts.
Step 8: Lower your vehicle
Lower your car, remove jack and blocks. Then, tighten the lug nuts completely.
Your vehicle should now be ready for driving. It is important to keep in mind, however, that most spare tires are not full size. As such, they should only be used to drive for short distances and should not go over normal speeds. If you are not sure whether your spare is full size, consult with your manual before driving too far.