Nothing is more annoying than a well-planned trip that is ruined by a flat tire. One time, someone accidentally left (or dropped) a nail by accident and I had to remove a nail in my tire. Good thing I wasn’t driving too fast and the tire did not burst.
All motorists should know how to change a tire – no matter if you are a man or a woman, young or old. Knowing how to change a tire saves you from the hassle of being towed or extra costs. Besides, being delayed by a flat tire during a trip is annoying enough; changing your tire lessens the delay of waiting for a tow truck or roadside assistance. You never know when someone might need a hand changing their tires, too.
What You Need
Before everything else, make sure to park your vehicle on a leveled surface that is not slippery. If you are on the road, make sure you are parked on the roadside so as not to block traffic. Bring out your early warning device and place it a few meters away from your car to warn oncoming vehicles.
The following tools should be complete and in good condition:
Spare tire – should be inflated according to correct air pressure and does not show signs of wear and tear
Torx Bits (optional)
Early Warning Device
Heavy bricks or wheel wedges – act as wheel stoppers
Tire pressure gauge
Remember to follow these safety tips before changing tires. You don’t want to ruin your trip any further by being involved in an accident.
Ask all passengers to alight from the car. This action also helps lighten the load.
Place the one brick or wheel wedge on the front wheel and another at the back. The bricks or wedges prevent your car from rolling. NOTE: When using a wedge, the wheel should not rest on the slanted edge because it might roll off.
Ensure that the hand brakes are properly engaged. If you have an automatic transmission, place the gear to “Park.” For manual transmissions, shift it to first gear or reverse. This step helps prevent the wheels from moving.
What to Do
Let’s proceed to the steps on how to change a flat tire:
Once you have followed the safety tips above, bring out the spare tire and the jack. These should all be inside your car’s trunk. Lift the carpet inside the trunk, and you will find the spare tire and jack in there as well as the tools.
Inspect the spare tire if it is inflated properly. Use a tire pressure gauge to check. If it is not properly inflated, you need to bring it to the gas station or mechanic. If the spare tire is good to go, you may proceed to the next step.
Place the jack firmly against the underside of your car. Some car models have a small notch where the jack fits. If there is none, just ensure that the jack is in place on a solid metal. The jack should also be perpendicular on the ground and not on a slippery or uneven surface.
Remove the hubcaps by using a lug wrench or a Torx bit. Usually, the hubcap is fastened to the mags by a small screw that cannot be removed by an ordinary screwdriver. Most cars have a special Torx bit screwdriver for the hubcaps. It looks like a small L-shaped piece of metal that is either black or grey.
Loosen (do not remove) the rest of the nuts using the lug wrench that comes with your car. Turn the nuts counter-clockwise, just enough for you to manually unscrew them later on. The reason why we do not fully unscrew them is so that the wheel should still be in place before we elevate the car.
Mind you; the screws won’t be easy to loosen on the first try. You may need to step on your wrench to start loosening them. Be careful not to use your full body weight to avoid damaging the lug nuts.
Crank the jack to lift the tire a few inches away from the ground. Lift it up just enough for you to remove the flat tire and replace it with the spare. For heavier vehicles, better to have a small jack stand handy in case the jack gives out.
Once the tire has been lifted, remove all the lug nuts completely. Remove the flat tire and place it under the vehicle for good measure. In the event that the jack gives out, the vehicle falls on the flat tire and prevents injury or damage.
If rust is present in the tires, it may take more effort to remove it. Use a heavy object such as a rubber mallet or the spare tire to give it a nudge.
Once you have removed the flat tire, place the spare tire on the hub and carefully align the rim with the wheel bolts. Take care to install the spare tire and lug nuts the right way and not backward. For doughnut tires, the valve stem should face outwards. If your vehicle has acorn-style nuts, the tapered nut faces the wheel.
First, tighten the nuts by hand. Lower the car but not so much as to apply the vehicle’s full weight on the recently changed tire. Now, completely tighten the lug nuts using the wrench.
Lower the vehicle to the ground completely. This should allow you to remove the jack from underneath the vehicle. Perform final touches by tightening the lug nuts with the wrench again and replacing the hubcaps.
Bring the flat tire to a mechanic right away. Once the tire has been repaired or replaced with a new one, install it in the place of the spare tire. Spare tires should only be used as a spare. Always check the spare tires air pressure for emergency use.
Now that you have learned about how to change a tire, you can practice giving it a go. Don’t wait for that flat tire to happen, what better way to practice than at home with a trusted family member or friend. Better to be prepared now than panic later!
If you found this article helpful, please share it with other motorists and car owners. Who knows, this article might just save a life! We’d also love to hear your feedback and comments!