How To Change A Flat Tire
Even if you have a AAA membership, you need to know how to change your tires. You never know when you’ll be in a situation in which you can’t wait for AAA to arrive or they can’t make it to your location.
A step-by-step video explanation:
For those of you who prefer a visual demonstration, we’ve included this video showing how to change a flat tire courtesy of the Rules of the Road DVD. Note: While the video mentions blocking the tire diagonally opposite of the one you’re changing (i.e. if you’re changing your front right tire, block your rear left one), it doesn’t explicitly mention that you should always change your tire on a level surface. So, we thought we would!
Changing a tire is easy!
Step 1: Pull off the road on a completely flat area and place the car in park. Turn off your engine and switch on your hazard lights to warn other drivers of your situation. If there is heavy traffic, use flares.
Step 2: Place a large rock or sturdy, heavy object behind the tires if you’re facing slightly uphill or in front of the tires if you’re facing slightly downhill. Next, you will need your spare tire, a car jack, and a tire iron.
Step 3: Remove the hubcap using the wedge on your tire iron. Next, loosen the lug nuts by turning the tire iron counterclockwise. Don’t remove the lug nuts yet! Simply loosen them in a star-patterned order. Loosen one and then move diagonally to the next one and so on. Tip: Most tire and auto shops use pneumatic guns to screw on lug nuts. This means it could be extremely difficult to loosen them. In extreme cases, you may need to stand on your tire iron to produce enough loosening force.
Step 4: Jack up the car. Many cars have a particular spot on the frame for placing the jack. You may need to consult your owner’s manual to find this spot. The new, fully inflated tire will be slightly bigger than the flat one, so jack up the car high enough to take this into account.
Step 5: Completely remove the lug nuts and place them aside being sure not to lose them. If you have a hubcap, place them inside the upside-down hubcap.
Step 6: Carefully remove the flat tire. Place the new tire onto the wheel with the air valves facing out.
Step 7: One by one, replace the lug nuts in the same “star” pattern that you used to loosen them. Do not tighten them completely.
Step 8: Lower and remove the jack from the car, then finish tightening the lug nuts.
Step 9: Replace the hubcap, if necessary. That’s it! You just learned how to change a tire!
Things to Remember:
- Periodically check to make sure that your spare tire is not flat.
- When a car is up on the jack, do not climb under the car for any reason.
Every driver should know how to replace a flat tire. If you’ve never replaced a tire, practice this skill by removing and replacing an existing, healthy tire. Having some practice under your belt can make changing a tire on the side of a busy road a little less hair-raising.