Flat tire problems have a habit of happening when least expected. Every driver should, therefore, have the necessary skills and knowledge of changing a flat tire. Fortunately, changing a flat tire is not rocket science. You can do it if you have the required items and the willingness to do a little work. You’ve probably seen someone else do it but if you haven’t, here’s a quick guide on how to change a flat tire.
Planning ahead will always save you from some frustrations. You will need this set of items to help you accomplish the task with ease:
- A jack
- Lug wrench
- Fully inflated spare tire
Always throw in some additional items that do not come with the vehicle just to be equipped.
- Waterproof flashlight with working batteries
- Reflective triangles and flares
- Wheel wedges
- Flat tire repair kit. This is optional but comes in handy when you can’t get to repair shop immediately.
- Rain poncho
Remember to always keep the vehicle’s owner manual in the car. It gives important guides in case something goes amiss.
Find a Safe Location
The moment you realize you have a flat don’t break abruptly or turn. Slowly reduce the speed and check the surrounding for a flat, straight stretch of a road with wide shoulders. An empty parking lot would be an otherwise ideal place but who knows where the tire will burst? Avoid hilly areas or near traffic.
Step By Step Guide How to Change a Fat Tire
Once your car is on a stable level ground, engage the parking breaks and follow these simple steps:
- Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers that you are on the side of the road. It is advisable to turn on the hazards as soon as you realize you have to pull over because of the flat.
- Remove your spare and assemble all the required items and tools.
- If you are on the road, place reflective triangles behind your vehicle for safety.
- Apply wheel wedges against tires opposite of the flat to make sure the car doesn’t roll when on the jack. Place the wedges on the front tires if you are changing the rear tire. And if the flat is in front, place them behind the rear tires.
- Remove the hubcap covering the lug nuts if your vehicle has them.
- Use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts. Do not remove them completely but just break their resistance. You can use your foot or all of your body strength because it might be straining.
- Put the jack under the vehicle. Many vehicle frames have exposed metal at the bottom specifically for the jack.
- Raise the vehicle with the jack until the flat tire is approximately 6 inches above the ground. If on a soft ground, place a wooden plank beneath the jack to prevent it from settling under the weight. Remember to NEVER put any part of the body under the car.
- Remove the lug nuts. You can probably do this with your hand since they are already loose.
- Remove the flat tire from the hub. Use both hands and pull it towards you then put it somewhere safe.
- Mount the spare on the exposed lug bolts and push it gently until the bolts are exposed through the rim.
- Tighten the lug nuts using only your hand.
- Lower the jack carefully until the spare tire touches the ground. Then remove the jack.
- Now tighten the lug nuts with the wrench. You can use your weight to make sure it is totally tight. For even alignment, you should tighten the nuts following a star pattern, so you don’t tighten nuts that are immediately adjacent to each other.
- Replace the hubcap or wheel cover if you have one.
- Stow all equipment. Make sure everything is back in the car.
- Check the pressure of the spare. If you don’t have a tire gauge, drive to the nearest gas station to check and make sure it is safe.
When you are done and the spare is safe and secure on your car, take the flat tire to a repair shop for a fix as soon as possible. It is not advisable to drive over long distances at high speeds on a spare tire.
Safety is always paramount. So, if you have difficulties with this task you can always call for back up.
If you ever get a flat tire and ether lack the tools to change it or simply don’t know where to start, you can always get our tire change service or we can help by towing your car to the nearest repair shop. We serve most of the major cities in the US. Simply pick your city at our homepage and call our tow truck service. We’ll respond to your call in the shortest time possible, wherever you are.