How to Change a Flat Tire

It’s a problem that every driver will run in to at some point: don’t get stuck on the side of the road because you don’t know how to change your tire. It might be easier than you think to put on your spare and drive to a repair shop that can fix your tire properly. It will also save you a ton of money over calling a towing service.

  • Find all your tools that should be located somewhere on the car. By way of preparation it’s useful to know where your jack, tire iron or wrench, tire blocks, and screwdriver are ahead of time.
  • Make sure the vehicle won’t roll away while you’re working on it. Use a wooden wedge, simple bricks, or purpose-built wheel chocks at the opposite end of the vehicle that is meant to be raised to stop it from rolling and tipping off the jack.
  • Pry off the wheel cover that’s hiding the axle nuts. It’s useful to have a screwdriver to insert between the wheel and the cover.
  • Take the wrench and find the correct end and loosen the lug nuts. Remember left/counter-clockwise loosens, so apply your weight to the left side of the wrench. Loosen them enough with the wrench until you can move them with your hands.
  • Your vehicle should have a jack included with instructions. Make sure you read them thoroughly. If you have a scissor jack, insert the wrench or rod and crank it up. If you have a hydraulic jack, pump up and down evenly over the entire stroke from top to bottom.
  • Completely remove the lug nuts and take off the flat tire.
  • Replace the flat tire with your spare and replace the lug nuts. Tighten them so that the wheel is seated properly but you don’t need to go crazy because it’s best to tighten the nuts on the ground.
  • Lower the car. With a hydraulic jack you should simply be able to release the pressure and the jack will slowly lower the car to the ground. With a scissor jack you’ll simply do the opposite of what you did to raise the car.
  • Tighten the lug nuts and replace the hubcap.
  • You’re ready to roll!

Hopefully this guide will help you get back on the road quickly and easily.

November 7, 2012 by Jamie Rettig