How to Put on a Spare Tire

How to Put on a Spare Tire

Have you ever been driving down the road and heard a loud noise and vibration in the steering wheel? Everyone gets a flat at some point in their life, so you better learn what to do in case it happens to you.

Unfortunately, most people don’t know how to put on a spare tire. However, by asking the right questions, knowing the steps, and practicing, you can learn this helpful skill quickly. 

What kind of tools do you need to change a tire? Can you put on a spare by yourself, or will you need help? Stick around to find out how to put on a spare tire and get answers to these questions. 

What Tools Will I Need?

how to install spare tire

Most cars come with the tools to change a flat already, but here are the tools you need if you don’t already have them. 

Car Jack

The first tool you’ll need to change your tire is a jack. Your vehicle should have come with this tool, but used cars sometimes don’t. If your car came with one, it might not be very sturdy, so consider investing in a more heavy-duty jack.

 how to put a spare tire back in the trunk

Tire Iron

The second tool you will need is a tire iron. This is basically a giant screwdriver for the lug nuts, or screws, on your tire. Again, your car should have come with one of these. If not, go to your local auto parts store and buy one.

Spare Tire

The last thing you’ll need is a spare. This is obviously the most important item, but the other two are still needed to perform the change. 

Why Are These Tools Important?

If your car did not come with all these tools, or if you already used your spare tire, you need to get them immediately. Having all these tools could be the difference between being stranded on the side of the road and just being a little late to work. They will all play a huge role in getting the flat tire off and the spare on correctly. 

How Do I Actually Change the Tire?

Now for the most important part of this guide: how to perform the switch.

Step 1: Pull Off the Road

Once you realize you have a flat tire, pull off the road as soon as it is safe to do so and put on your hazard lights. If you’re on the highway, make sure you pull far enough over that your car door will not be hit by passing cars. 

If you’re driving in the city, pull into the nearest parking lot.

Step 2: Prepare Your Tool Kit

Get all your tools out of your car, and place them close to the flat tire.

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Step 3: Take Off the Lug Nuts

Loosen the lug nuts (the screws on the tire) enough that it will be easy to get them off later. Do not loosen them all the way.

Step 4: Jack Up Your Car

Next, you’ll need to jack up your car. Consult your car’s owner’s manual before doing this because jack placement is different for every car. You’ll want to jack the car up until the tire is at least 6 inches off the ground.

Step 5: Take the Tire Off

how to spare tire

Once the car is raised, you will take the lug nuts off completely and take the flat tire off. This should be easy to do since you loosened the lug nuts in step 3.

Step 6: Place the New Tire On

Now that the flat is off, you will put on the spare tire. You will want to tighten the lug nuts enough that the tire is in place, but don’t tighten them completely.

Step 7: Lower the Vehicle Slowly

Lower the vehicle carefully. Make sure you don’t rush this process because you could damage the car if you do. Hang in there; you’re almost finished!

Step 8: Tighten the Lug Nuts

Finish tightening the lug nuts on the spare. The DMV recommends tightening them in a star pattern to ensure even alignment and pressure.

Should I Use the Spare on the Rear Only?

While it is best to only put a spare tire on the rear of a car, you can put one on the front of a car. If you put it on the front of your car, you will need to drive more carefully because the car’s front is heavier than the rear. This means that more pressure will be put on a front spare than a rear one.

which way does a spare tire go

Can I Drive Normally on a Spare Tire?

No, you cannot regularly drive on a spare tire. This is because they are only meant to get you to the nearest tire shop to have the flat repaired or buy a new one. 

You should not drive over 50 mph, and you should not drive more than a few blocks on a spare.


Now that you know how to put on a spare, you can now rest assured that you can get yourself out of a sticky situation and avoid calling a tow truck.

While changing your flat is very important, make sure you get to an auto shop as soon as possible to avoid a potential blowout.

Did you find our guide helpful? Then feel free to look through the others:

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