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The Hood Magazine

Do-It-Your-Self: Change a Flat Tire

Apr 01, 2020 ● By Discount Tire

By: Discount Tire

There comes a time when every driver ends up with a flat tire – it's an inevitable occurrence you should always be prepared for when you're on the road. Changing a tire by the side of the road is something you hope you’ll never have to do, but if the time comes, here’s how to do it right: 

1) Park in a safe location 

Changing a tire on the side of the road or highway is dangerous and should be avoided if possible. Once you find a safe location, turn on your hazard lights and turn off your vehicle. Be sure to avoid soft ground and have a solid, level surface that will restrict the vehicle from rolling.  

2) Stabilize your car and remove hubcap 

Never change a tire on an incline or hill; always seek a flat surface. Use heavy rocks, bricks, or wooden wedges to block the wheels at the opposite end of the car from the end that will be raised to further prevent the vehicle from rolling. Once your vehicle is secure, it is time to find your lug wrench, jack and spare tire. 

Remove your vehicle’s hubcap before beginning the tire change. If your hubcap is held on by the lug nuts, you can leave it on. If not, you can pry off the hubcap using a screwdriver, the flat end of the jack handle or your lug wrench. Skip this step if your wheel does not have a hubcap. 

3) Loosen the lug nuts and jack up the car 

Before you use the jack to lift the tire, loosen the lug nuts that keep the wheel attached to the assembly.Undo the first lug nut by rotating the wrench one turn counterclockwise. After loosening all lug nuts, use your jack to lift the vehicle until the flat tire is fully raised off of the ground. Consult your vehicle’s owner manual for instructions on the best place to position the jack and how to operate it. Never position yourself to where the car can land on your feet, hands or body while it is lifted.  

4) Remove tire/wheel and attach the spare 

Once the lug nuts are removed, pull the wheel and flat tire off the hub. Place the flat tire under the car near the jack. This way, the tire can possibly catch the vehicle if the jack slips.  

Now that the flat has been removed, attach your spare tire. Be sure to align it with the wheel bolts and push it securely onto the assembly. Install and hand tighten the lug nuts until each lug is as tight as can be done by hand. 

5) Lower the car 

Slowly lower your vehicle to the ground. Now you can fully tighten the lug nuts using your wrench, properly securing each lug nut in place. After the lug nuts have been fully tightened, remove the jack and additional objects. Don’t forget to place your tools and flat tire in the trunk! 

6) Remember spare tires have limits 

Many spare tires are smaller and less capable than regular tires; therefore they will not serve as a permanent replacement for your flat. Spare tires should only be used for short-distance driving. Do not delay in finding a replacement tire.