The chances of having a flat tire are high because they are susceptible to damage and wear. Knowing how to change a tire is important to keeping a car in safe running condition. It also promotes confidence and opens a path to self sufficiency. Being prepared for a flat tire saves money and time that is sure to be useful down the road. Learning how to change a tire will make any trip safer by getting the job done right.
The first step is to make sure safety is the first concern. Safety is the most important thing to consider when changing a tire and there are several things that must be done before taking on this project. The spare tire needs to be checked on a regular basis to ensure the air pressure is what it needs to be and an emergency kit should be in the car containing items that are designed for unexpected tire changes. Checking the car before a flat occurs is a necessity to make sure that all the right equipment is there and is in good working order. This equipment includes wrench, jack, gloves, plywood, flares, and wheel chokes.
The second step is to know what needs to be done if a flat occurs on a roadway. It is important to pull off as far as possible to avoid any traffic that can impede the change. Hazard lights are designed to be seen from a distance, which makes them a good first step in the tire changing plan. The changing surface needs to be flat and solid so the vehicle will remain stable. Many people carry a piece of plywood so the jack can rest on a flat surface. Putting an object in front of and behind the tires is also advised to prevent the car from rolling. If there is nothing in the car to put behind the tire, there may be a rock or something solid on the ground nearby. Applying the parking brake prevents the car from moving and is a must for both standard transmissions as well as automatics. Making sure the car is in gear or park should be done in preparation of changing a flat.
The third step to change a tire including removing the jack along with a wrench that is used to remove the lug nuts. A cars owner’s manual shows where the placement of the jack should go during a flat change and referring to it is always advised, but it is usually right in back or in front of the tire. There are different jacks and wrenches that are available, but most cars come with one that is made for the vehicle.
The fourth step is to loosen the nuts. The wrench is turned counter clockwise to loosen the lug nuts, which allows the wheel to come free. Lug nuts are often difficult to break loose so putting extra pressure on them may be necessary. All the nuts need to be loosened before the jack is used to begin lifting the vehicle. The jack lifts the car off the ground enough so that the tire and wheel can be completely removed.
The fifth step occurs once the jack has fully lifted the car. When the jack has lifted the car, the lug nuts can be completely removed allowing the person to remove the tire. The tire that has been removed should be placed under the car as a safety measure in case the car slips off the jack.
The sixth step is to put the spare tire on and begin attaching it to the car by aligning the holes with the bolts. The nuts should be put on and hand tightened clockwise one at a time moving in a star pattern to ensure that each bolt is going on straight and equally tight. The jack should remain stable at this time, so do not tighten the nuts too tight until the car has been lowered. Stop lowering the car before the weight is completely on the tire, tighten the lug nuts some more, continue lowering the jack, and remove it from under the car. Then do a final tightening step taking them to their full tightening capacity.
The seventh and final step is to put the old tire in the trunk to be taken to a tire store for repair.