We have all experienced it, the dreaded flat tire on our way to work or as we are motoring along a busy highway. Your left with no option but to pull over and swap the tire for the spare or wait till someone, a friend or road side service comes along to change your tire for you.
Well spare that friend from coming all the way out to help you and don’t bother with road side service, you can change your own tire quickly and safely without any assistance.
Step 1 – Pull over and put your hazard lights on, this will warn approaching motorists that you have broken down and to proceed with caution. Stop along a flat surface if it is possible.
Step 2 – Have a look for your vehicle owner’s manual, it will outline any steps you need to take that may be specific to your car make and model. If you don’t have your owner’s manual don’t fret, if you follow the following steps it will cover all car makes and models.
Step 3 – Locate your spare tire, for most vehicles this will be in the trunk of the car. You will also need to locate the lug nut wrench or wheel brace that came with your vehicle as well as you cars Jack (usually this is a diamond or scissor Jack, if changing your tire at home you will be better served using the best floor jack your budget will allow you to have). Remove the tools and spare from the trunk and place them near the flat tire.
Step 4 – If you own an automatic car, make sure it’s in park and the handbrake is securely on. If your vehicle is a manual then put the car in gear and once again make sure the handbrake is firmly on.
Step 5 – Next it’s time to loosen the wheel (lug) nuts on your car, we don’t want to undo them totally, but “cracking” them now will be much easier than when the car is jacked up in the air. Use your lug nut wrench or wheel brace and loosen each of the lug nuts half a turn. You may need to apply quite a bit of force here, so positioning your wrench so that you can place your body weight down upon it is a good idea.
Step 6 – I like to take an extra precaution here, if there is one handy place a rock and wedge it up against the back of the front and rear tires, this will help any backwards movement once the car is raised in the air.
Step 7 – Time to use your Jack and lift the offending tire off the ground. If you have your cars owner’s manual handy, it should tell you the best points to place your Jack under the car, if not make sure the Jack is on a flat, even footing and then place it on the a strong stable part of your vehicles undercarriage. Now pump the Jack until the car has lifted the damaged wheel high enough off the ground to leave a couple of inches of space between the tire and the ground.
Step 8 – Remove the lug nuts totally using your wheel brace or lug nut wrench and simply pull off (it may take a little wiggling) the flat tire. I like to place the damaged tire under the vehicle at this point as an added safety precaution.
Step 9 – Place the spare tire onto the bolts, with the tires valve pointing out to ensure you have the tire the correct way around. Place the lug nuts back on each bolt and tighten them by hand only at first, ensuring you do this in a star pattern so as to prevent any imbalance.
Step 10 – Tighten the nuts with your wrench as much as possible, remove the flat tire from under the car and slowly lower the car back down.
Step 11 – Now the vehicle is back on the ground, you will want to tighten the nuts even more. Replace the hub cap if you had one, once all nuts have been tightened and return all tools and the flat tire to your vehicle.
That’s it you’re done! Wasn’t that difficult was it? You will now want to get your flat repaired as soon as possible to ensure you always have a working spare in your car.
It’s also a good idea to have a light reflective vest in your trunk if possible, wearing this while working on your car roadside, will allow other motorists to easily see you, especially at night.
Rotating your car’s tires will ensure your tires wear evenly and you are less likely to encounter a flat. Visually inspecting your tires often and getting them replaced when they are worn will also prevent encountering flats on the road.