No one ever wants to deal with a flat tire. For most drivers, it seems more like a hypothetical eventuality. We tend to treat it like something that might happen to other drivers from time to time, but not as something that we might ever have to deal with. However, sooner or later, we end up with a flat, and more often than not, we have no idea what to do in this situation – how to change the tires or how long does it take to install new wheels?
So, if your time has come, and you’ve finally found yourself stuck on the side of the road thinking, “How do I change a flat tire?” — don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. If time is pressing, you’ll find the short version directly below. But if you’ve got time to hear the details, read on for a full breakdown of the process. We’ve even got some helpful tips and tricks to make it easier for you!
If you think your tires are still in order, please, check: How To Tell If Your Tires Need To Be Replaced
The Short Answer
First, pull over to a safe part of the road, turn on your hazard lights, and engage your parking brake. Loosen the lug nuts on the flat tire with a wrench, and then lift your vehicle using a car jack. Finish unscrewing the lug nuts and then remove the flat from the car.
Next, put the spare tire in place and replace the lug nuts. Lower the car slightly and begin tightening the lug nuts. Then, lower it all the way back down and make sure the lug nuts are tightened all the way. If the spare is attached securely enough, you’re all set to proceed to your destination!
The Step-by-Step Process
How do I change a tire? Follow this step-by-step guide, and you’ll be well on your way!
1. Safely Get Your Vehicle Off the Road
You want to find a safe place to pull over, so you can change your tire without becoming an obstacle for oncoming traffic. Make sure you pull over as far from the road as possible.
If you can, try to park on a straight stretch of road, not a curve, as this can make you less visible to other drivers. Also, make sure the ground where you pull over is flat enough to keep your car from rolling while you change the tire.
Turn on your hazard lights so that your vehicle will be visible to other drivers, even in the dark. Engage your parking brake to prevent the vehicle from rolling during the procedure.
2. Gather the Necessary Materials
At the very least, you will need a wrench, a car jack, and a spare. Depending on the conditions, you may also be well served by a rain poncho, a flashlight, gloves, and a tire gauge. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual may also come in handy.
3. Partially Loosen the Lug Nuts
The lug nuts are what is securing the tire to the car. You’ll need to remove lug nuts to change the tire. Using the wrench, begin by turning them counterclockwise until they are loose enough to turn by hand, but not entirely.
4. Lift the Vehicle Up
Using the jack, get your vehicle to lift high enough off the ground for you to change the tire. Make sure the jack is not placed where it will contact plastic molding, as it can damage your vehicle if placed improperly.
5. Replace the Tire
Remove the lug nuts completely and take the flat tire off of the vehicle. Then, replace it with the spare, and put the lug nuts back. Tighten them only slightly, not all the way. They need to be tightened slowly to make sure the tire is evenly secured.
6. Lower the Vehicle and Finish Tightening
The final step in this ‘How Do I Change a Tire’ guide is to lower your vehicle part of the way and continue tightening the lug nuts in increments to keep the tire affixed evenly. When they are evenly tight, lower the vehicle all the way to the ground and then tighten them further until they are completely secure. And that’s it!
Consider checking Using A Manual Tire Changer
7. Replace the Hubcap
At this point, you can put the hubcap on the spare (if it fits). If it doesn’t fit, store it in your trunk.
8. Check the Spare’s Pressure
Use a gauge to ensure the spare has a pressure of at least 60 psi. If it’s less, drive with caution and add air ASAP.
9. Go to a Professional
Spares come in handy, but they should only be temporary fixes. You’ll need to get your flat tire to a professional right away. They’ll repair the flat or help you find a new tire.
After you’ve finished changing the tire, make sure you store the flat tire carefully in the trunk and try not to damage it any further. It’s possible that the tire can be repaired and used again. When you have time, take the flat tire to a mechanic and see what the prognosis is.
If the original tire cannot be repaired, you’ll need to get a new spare tire as soon as possible. If another one of your tires needs to be replaced, and the only extra tire you have is the flat one in your trunk, you’ll be in trouble. You always want to have at least one functioning spare tire in your vehicle at all times, just in case.
There you have it! Everything you need to know to get that flat out of the way, the spare tire securely attached, and to get you safely back en route to your destination. If your problem is beyond the scope of this article, you may want to request assistance from AAA or an auto mechanic. But hopefully, if you follow these steps, you’ll be back on your way in no time!
Here is our guide about changing tires but if you are still unsure or have not time for it, you might be interested in our next article – How Much Does It Cost To Get Tires Changed
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