Everyone is at risk of experiencing it at some point in time. Imagine that you are traveling to an important meeting when all of a sudden you feel as though your car is being pulled to one side, and you hear the dreaded flapping sound that a flat tire makes. Unfortunately, emergency roadside assistance service cannot be provided right away, and if you wait for it, you will be late for an appointment that you had scheduled. What course of action would you take in this scenario—would you change the tire on your own or wait for assistance from roadside assistance services?
Tire changing is a talent that every driver should be familiar with and able to perform. The good news is that replacing a tire is not nearly as difficult as some people make it out to be. In this article, we will walk you through the steps of changing a flat tire, including what items you need, how to change the tire, how long it takes, and what precautions you should take when using a compact spare tire. If you get a punctured tire and follow these steps to change it, you’ll be back on the road in no time!
Items you will need
Planning ahead will help you save a lot of aggravation. Regardless of whether you intend to use them or not, you should always have the following instruments for changing tires in your vehicle:
– Spare tire: In most cases, you’ll find it in the trunk, under the floor cushion. It is possible for the spare tire to be installed in the trunk or the undercarriage of an SUV or truck.
– Jack: This raises the vehicle to a sufficient height above the ground for you to be able to remove the wheel.
– Lug wrench: This tool, along with your spare, should be stored in the wheel well; it is used to separate the lug nuts from the wheel so that it can be removed.
– Flashlight with working batteries.
– Gloves: So that you don’t hurt your palms (Changing a tire can be dirty and dangerous work).
– Flares and reflective triangles.
– Wheel wedges.
– A small cut of 2″x6” wood to secure the jack.
– If you get caught in the weather, a lightweight poncho or raincoat will make you feel much more comfortable.
The jack, lug wrench, and extra tire are all essential pieces of equipment that should come standard in your vehicle. If you have lost any of these things, you must immediately find a replacement for them. Always make sure to maintain your owner’s manual in your vehicle, as it will contain important information such as the location of your spare tires and the procedures you need to follow in order to change them.
How to change tires
The ten steps that are outlined below can help you change a flat tire swiftly and easily, even if you have no prior experience with the process.
1. Find a safe spot
You are driving along when all of a sudden you hear the loud bang of a dead tire and realize that you have a flat tire. Do not suddenly brake or move the steering wheel in any direction. Reduce your speed gradually while scanning the area around you for a stretch of road that is level, straight, and has a broad shoulder. It is essential that you have a stable and level surface in order to stop your vehicle from rolling. Additionally, it is safer to drive on straight sections of road rather than curves because approaching traffic is more likely to see you on straight roads. If you are close to a road, you should stop as far away from the flow of traffic as you can. Steer clear of areas with soft ground and slopes.
2. Secure your car
When changing a flat tire, be careful not to put your life or the lives of others in jeopardy.
Turn on your hazard lights
It is particularly essential to use your emergency flashers (hazard lights) to warn other drivers when driving in conditions with low visibility, such as when it is raining, foggy, or otherwise.
Set the parking brake
When getting ready to replace a flat tire, make sure the parking brake is engaged and that the vehicle is in the “Park” position (or in drive, if it has a manual transmission). Because of this, the likelihood of your vehicle rolling will be significantly reduced.
Apply wheel wedges
Before raising the car, make sure the wheels on the opposing side are blocked. This will prevent the car from rolling. As a result, in the event that the left front tire has a flat spot, it is recommended that the wheel blocks be positioned behind the right rear tire. Blocking the wheel reduces the likelihood that the vehicle will move while you are trying to raise it. Bricks or other substantial stones will serve as effective wheel spikes. Be certain that they are of a sufficient size to prevent the vehicle from rolling away.
3. Remove the hubcap or wheel cover if necessary
If your vehicle has a hubcap that is covering the lug nuts, you can pry it off with the pointed part of the lug wrench. Some automobiles have hub caps that have false lugs that either serve to attach the hub cap or are merely there for decorative purposes. After removing the hubcap, turn it over so that the flat side is facing up and use it as a tray to contain the lug nuts. You can skip this procedure if your lug nuts are visible to the outside.
4. Loosen the flat tire’s lug nuts
Before lifting a vehicle, the lug nuts will need to have their torque reduced. To begin, take the lug wrench and spin each lug nut counterclockwise approximately one-fourth to one-half of a turn to loosen it. However, DO NOT REMOVE THE LUG NUTS COMPLETELY YET. You can either make use of the wrench that arrived with your vehicle or a standard cross wrench. It’s possible that the openings on the various extremities of your wrench are all a different size. When the wrench is the correct size, the nut can be simply removed without any difficulty. Because the wheel lugs are almost definitely very tight, it is possible that you will need to apply force, and that is perfectly acceptable. Make use of your foot or your entire body weight if it becomes essential.
5. Raise the car with the Jack
Find the jack for your vehicle and position it so that it is underneath the chassis of your vehicle alongside the flat tire. Find out where you should safely position the jack by consulting the owner’s instructions for your vehicle. If you jack up a car in the wrong place, it can come crashing down, injuring you and damaging your car in the process. Follow these instructions very carefully to avoid this happening.
The vehicle needs to be jacked up at this point. The vast majority of car jacks on the market today are of the screw-type scissor jack variety. This type of jack only requires one to turn the knob located at the end of the lift by using the metal hand crank that is included with the jack. Raise the jack until it is able to make contact with the chassis of the vehicle. Maintain the process of extending the jack. Raise the vehicle gradually by rotating the handle of the jack in a clockwise direction until it is raised approximately 6 inches off the ground.
A KIND REMINDER: Under no circumstances should you place any part of your body under the vehicle while it is being raised with the jack, and you should always be on the lookout for warning indications that the vehicle may topple over.
While you are lifting, check to see that the vehicle is still secure. If you detect any signs of instability, you should lower the jack and address the issue before continuing to raise the vehicle. It is always a good idea to keep a small jack stand handy in the car in case the jack fails while you are changing the tire. Keeping this item in the vehicle is a good idea. If for some reason the regular-sized jack fails, having both the small jack and the normal-sized jack will keep you secure.
6. Finish removing the lug nuts & the flat tire
Now is the moment to loosen the lug nuts completely, so get started. Because you have already started to remove them, you ought to be able to complete the task by hand. You should store them somewhere secure where they cannot roll away, like an upside-down hub cover, because you do not want to misplace them.
After that, you need to take the punctured tire off of the hub. Grab the flat firmly with both hands, and then drag it in the direction of your body with care. Be cautious! It could be quite weighty. Put it to the side in a secure location so that it won’t slide away. If rust is making it difficult for you to remove the tire, you can try loosening the joints with a liquid penetrate or by hitting the tire with a rubber mallet.
7. Put on your spare & tighten the nuts by hand
This is the part of the process that requires the most physical labor on your behalf. You will need to prop up the tire while you make an effort to align the openings in the wheel with the protruding wheel studs that are situated on the brake hub. A tip that could be helpful is to balance the tire on your foot as you shift it into position. This could speed up the process.
Begin the process of replacing the lug bolts, then tighten them by hand. (turning clockwise). Do not thoroughly tighten each nut on its own until you have checked the tire to make sure it is balanced. As you work your way around the tire in a star pattern, turning one nut at a time across from the next, give each nut a complete turn until they are all equally tight. It is important to avoid applying so much force that you risk moving the jack, so put the wrench away until after the vehicle has been lowered. You will retighten the lug nuts once the vehicle has been lowered and there is no longer any danger of it dropping.
8. Lower the car & tighten the lug nuts
Using the jack, slowly and cautiously lower the vehicle back down to the ground until it is completely flat. (turning or moving the jack handle the opposite direction used to raise it).And at that point, when the vehicle is fully supported by the ground, you can remove the lift.
After making sure the vehicle is firmly planted on the ground, use the lug wrench to completely tighten the lug nuts. Make a crisscross pattern while turning the bolts in a clockwise direction. For the proper order of events, please refer to your user’s handbook. It is possible for the tire to become unattached if the lug bolts are not adequately tightened.
Note: There are distinct steps to follow in order to properly tighten 4-lug and 5-lug wheels. By tightening the nuts in the correct order, you can ensure that the wheel will be mounted correctly and that the strain will be distributed equally across the wheel.
9. Replace the hubcap & stow all equipment
If the hubcap that you removed from the flat tire can be used on the spare tire, you should replace it in the same manner that you originally removed it. Put it away with the tire when you put away your equipment if it does not fit; if it does fit, put it away with the equipment.
Put the jack, lug wrench, and any other miscellaneous items away, and replace the punctured tire where it originally belonged, whether that be in the wheel well or somewhere else. If you think the problem with your flat tire can be fixed easily, put it in the trunk of your car and take it to a technician so they can take a closer look at it.
10. Check the pressure in the spare tire
You need to check the tire pressure of the spare tire, and if you don’t have a tire gauge, you should attempt to get to a service station as soon as possible so that they can check it for you and make sure it’s safe.
How long does it take to change a flat tire?
If you follow the steps outlined above, changing a tire shouldn’t take more than 15 to 30 minutes. If you transport your tire to a professional, the process may take longer. Just be sure you do not leave out any procedures.
Important details about compact spare tires
Be aware that these “space saver” tires are only intended to be used as temporary spares; the sidewall of each tire will indicate the maximum acceptable speed for these tires. (usually 50 mph). Don’t go any further than that!
Because a temporary spare tire does not have the same handling characteristics and durability as your regular tire, you should only use it for the amount of time necessary to get to your house or the closest service station or tire store. There won’t be a problem for you as long as your vehicle has a full-size extra tire.
Do you have any additional advice on how to replace a flat tire? Please share with us so that we can make this process simpler!