How to Change a Flat Tire on a Car?

Knowing how to change a tire is a necessary skill for all drivers. When you rely on a cell phone to save you in a roadside emergency, there’s always a chance you’ll forget to charge it, be out of reach, or leave it at home. Flat tires can happen anywhere, and a cell phone is no substitute for knowing how to change a flat tire.

Fortunately, changing a tire is not that difficult! Just follow the guidelines below to be prepared if you have a flat.

Items you need to repair a flat tire:

These items should have come with your vehicle:

  • Jack
  • Ring spanner
  • Fully inflated spare wheel
  • Vehicle Owner’s Manual

If you have misplaced one of these items or your car did not come with these items, you should buy new ones immediately. And make sure you regularly inflate the spare tire to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended PSI.

You should check the spare tire air pressure every time you check your other tires. Remember to check the pressure every month and before long trips or carrying additional loads.

How to Change A Tire?

1. Find a Safe Location

A flat tire in your driveway is an inconvenience. Getting a flat tire while on the road is stressful. A tire change should always begin with caution. Follow these important steps when a flat tire occurs:

  • First, find a safe place to change tires. Pull into a quiet side street or store parking lot and park on a flat section of pavement. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings when exiting your vehicle and throughout the process.
  • If you are on a busy road or highway and your tire blows out, slowly slow down and find a safe place to stop away from traffic, such as the shoulder of an off-ramp. 
  • If there isn’t an exit nearby, find a long straight section of highway and pull over in the emergency lane or on the shoulder of the road, as far away from traffic as you can.

2. Turn On Your Hazard Lights

It is important for safety reasons that your disabled vehicle is visible to others. Turn on your hazard lights as you bring your vehicle to a stop.

If it is an evening or late night, try to find a well-lit area and turn on the dome light inside your car. Your hazard lights or “flashers” will help other drivers see you on the side of the road.

3. Apply the Parking Brake

Once stopped, always use the parking brake when preparing to replace a flat tire. This will minimize the possibility of your vehicle rolling.

4. Apply Wheel Wedges

Wheel wedges are located in front of or behind the tires to ensure the vehicle does not roll while you repair the flat tire. When changing a rear tire, place it in front of the front tire. If your flat tire is in the front, place the wheel chocks behind the rear tires.

Bricks or large stones work just as well as “real” wheel wedges. Just make sure they are big enough to keep the car from rolling.

How to Change a Tire

5. Remove the hubcap or wheel cover

If your vehicle has a hubcap that covers the wheel nuts, it’s easier to remove the hubcap before jacking the vehicle up. If your lug nuts are exposed, you can skip ahead to Step 6.

Use the flat end of your wrench to remove the hubcap. This works for most vehicles, but some hubcaps require a different tool to loosen. Refer to the owner’s manual for information on how to properly remove the hubcap or hubcap.

6. Loosen the lug Nuts

Use the wheel wrench to turn the wheel nuts counterclockwise until you break their resistance. You may have to use force, and that’s fine. Use your foot or all of your bodyweight if necessary.

Loosen the wheel nuts about a quarter to a half turn, but do not remove them completely yet. Keep this if you want to remove your tire/wheel from the vehicle.

7. Place the jack under the vehicle

The correct place for the jack is usually under the vehicle frame next to the flat tire. Many vehicle frames have molded plastic at the bottom with a free area of exposed metal, especially for the jack. To raise the vehicle safely and avoid damage to the vehicle, follow the jack placement instructions in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

8. Raise the vehicle with the jack

To prevent the jack from settling and becoming unbalanced under the weight of your vehicle, place a small 2 x 6 inch cut of wood under it before attempting to raise your vehicle. This tactic is particularly useful on asphalt.

With the jack in the correct position, raise the vehicle until the flat tire is about six inches off the ground.

Never place any part of your body under the vehicle during or after lifting the vehicle with the jack.

9. Unscrew the lug Nuts

Now it’s time to remove the lug nuts all the way. Since you’ve already loosened them, you should be able to unscrew them mostly by hand.

10. Remove the Flat Tire

Gripping the tire by the treads, pull it gently toward you until it’s completely free from the hub behind it. Set it on its side so that it doesn’t roll away.

11. Mount the spare Tire on the Lug bolts

Now place the spare on the hub by lining up the rim with the lug bolts. Push gently until the lug bolts show through the rim.

12. Tight The Lugnuts by hand

Put the wheel nuts back on the wheel bolts and hand tighten. Once all of them are on, double-check and tighten as much as you can. You will tighten them with the wrench after lowering the vehicle to the ground.

13. Lower Your Vehicle And Begin Tightening

Using the jack, slowly lower your vehicle until your spare tire starts touching the ground. This holds the tire in place as you begin tightening the lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts in increments, alternating every-other nut.

For example, if you assign a number to each lug nut, tighten in this order: 1, 3, 5, 2, 4, 1, 3, 5, 2, 4, and repeat. This way you’ll keep the tire on straight.

14. Lower Your Vehicle Completely and Finish Tightening

Once the lug nuts feel equally tight, completely lower your vehicle to the ground. Once grounded, you may be able to tighten the lug nuts a little bit further. Continue your tightening in the same incremental order until they no longer budge.

15. Replace the Hubcap

If the hubcap you took from the flat tire will fit your spare, put it in place the same way you removed it initially. If it doesn’t fit, stow it away with the tire when you stow your equipment.

16. Stow all Equipment

You have before you a jack, a lug wrench, wheel wedges, your flat tire, and possibly a hubcap. Don’t forget to put all of them in your vehicle before driving away.

17. Check the pressure in the spare tire

You should check the tire pressure of the spare tire to make sure that it is safe to drive on. “T-Type” temporary spares, also called “mini-spares,” require 60 psi (420 kPa).  If the tire needs pressure, drive (slowly) to a service station immediately.

Related Article: What is TIre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)?

18. Tack Your Flat tire to a Technician

Temporary spare tires aren’t made to drive long distances or at high speeds, so drive cautiously until you’re able to visit a tire technician. A professional should be able to determine whether your tire needs a repair or if it’s time to replace it.

Related Article: How to fix Flat Tire?- In 7 Steps

FAQs.

How to change a flat tire?

How to Change Tires:

  • Find a Safe Location.
  • Turn on Your Hazard Lights.
  • Apply the Parking Brake.
  • Apply Wheel Wedges.
  • Remove the Hubcap or Wheel Cover.
  • Loosen the lug nuts.
  • Place the Jack Under the Vehicle.
  • Raise the Vehicle with the Jack.
  • Unscrew the lug Nuts

What are the steps to changing a flat tire?

here’s How to Change a Tire in 10 steps

  • Find a Safe Place to Pull Over.
  • Check for Materials.
  • Loosen the Lug Nuts.
  • Lift Your Vehicle Off the Ground.
  • Remove the Lug Nuts and the Tire.
  • Place the Spare Tire on the Car.
  • Replace the Lug Nuts.
  • Lower Your Vehicle and Begin Tightening.

Is changing a tire easy?

Changing tires doesn’t have to mean a trip to the garage. It’s easier than you think. Changing your own tires is a job you can handle yourself if you already have rims attached to your tires. Anyone can do it, it just takes knowledge, practice, and confidence to build the skill.

How do you change a tire at home?

How long does it take to change a tire yourself?

Generally speaking, though, changing a tire is relatively straightforward. If you’re a handy person and you can use the most common car repair tools, you’ll be able to complete the task by yourself. It shouldn’t take any longer than 15 to 30 minutes.

Can I replace just one tire?

Typically, when you’re faced with replacing only one tire, it’s the result of an unrepairable situation such as a flat or a blow-out. Unfortunately, not all tires are repairable or worth saving. Replacing only one tire mostly depends on how much tread is remaining on the opposite tire on the same axle.

Do you need wheel wedges to change a tire?

Wheel wedges will also help prevent rolling. If you don’t have wheel wedges, bricks or large stones will do the trick. If you’re changing a rear tire, place the wedges before the front tires. If you’re changing a front tire, set the wedges behind the rear tires.

Do you need strength to change a tire?

Be careful when driving your vehicle with a spare tire. It is not designed for long-lasting wear, so take it to a garage or mechanic as soon as possible! If you follow these few steps, you can easily change the tire on your car. You don’t need to be a mechanic or have super strength – just the right tools!

Can you drive with a flat tire?

If you don’t have run-flat tires on your vehicle, you should not drive on a flat tire, not even a short distance. A flat tire makes it difficult to handle the vehicle and this could result in an accident. In a matter of seconds, driving on a flat tire could damage it beyond repair and it will have to be replaced.

Related Article: How To run Flat Tire?

What tools do you need to change a tire?

Tools to Change a Tire

  • A manual car jack is designed to raise your vehicle high enough to remove the flat tire.
  • A spare tire.
  • A lug wrench or torque wrench.
  • Wheel wedges.
  • A portable tire inflator.
  • A tire gauge to read the recommended tire pressure.

Is it OK to replace only 2 tires?

If you are looking to replace all-wheel-drive tires, we recommend replacing all four at once. While it may be tempting to replace only two at a time, mixing new and worn tires can create a size difference from front to back, which can lead to damage to your vehicle.

Where is the best place to change your flat tire?

An empty parking lot would be an ideal place. Level ground is good because it will prevent your vehicle from rolling. Also, straight stretches of road are better than curves because oncoming traffic is more likely to see you. Never attempt to change your tire on a narrow shoulder near oncoming traffic.

Where do you put the jack when changing a tire?

Can I put a new tire on myself?

Changing tires doesn’t have to mean a trip to the garage. It’s easier than you think. Changing your own tires is a job you can handle yourself if you already have rims attached to your tires. Anyone can do it, it just takes knowledge, practice, and confidence to build the skill.

What are the five steps to changing a tire?

How To Change A Flat Tire In Five Steps:

  • Step One: Get Safe. Before you exit your vehicle, you need to pull over or find a place away from the rush of traffic on the road.
  • Step Two: Grab Your Tools.
  • Step Three: Loosen and Lift.
  • Step Four: Change the Tire.
  • Step Five: Lower and Tighten.

Can I drive 1 mile on a flat tire?

No. Do not drive on a flat tire. However, it may be necessary to travel a short distance on a flat tire when pulling over to the side of the road. But driving on a flat tire is a surefire way to put your passengers at risk and seriously damage your vehicle.

How much does a single tire cost?

The tire replacement cost of a single standard tire is about $50-$200, depending on brand and quality. SUVs and other large vehicles can rise to around $350. Large trucks, such as pick-ups, usually cost about the same. Generally, it’s a good idea to replace all your tires at once.

Can tires go flat without a hole?

Flat tires aren’t always caused by a hole in the rubber. Instead, a malfunction or leak in the valve stem can be the culprit. The valve stem is the part of the tire that you unscrew when adding air. Any damage or even dirt on this small piece could cause your tire to lose air until it’s completely flat.

How far can I drive on a completely flat tire?

In the event of full pressure loss, and limited mobility (no sudden driving maneuver) it is possible to drive for a distance of 50 miles, at a maximum speed of 50 miles per hour. The run-flat distance will be influenced by driving style, speed, type of road, weather conditions, tire condition, and vehicle load.

Should a car be in neutral when changing tires?

DON’T leave the car in neutral. You’ll obviously want to leave the engine off before you start the tire change, but the gearstick should be left in either first or reverse gear. The reason you want to do this is that the handbrake only operates on two wheels, usually the rear wheels to be exact.

How many times a month should you check your tire pressure?

Still, the recommendation for checking tire pressure is still once a month. A good rule of thumb to remember is that your tires lose about one PSI every month after you fill them, so checking every month can help you to ensure that they are always inflated to the proper pressure.

How do you pop a tire?

A tire can be easily deflated without slashing it. Car tires have valves located in them that control the airflow in and out of the tire. Use a car valve tool or long needle-nose pliers to twist and open the valve stem. Once the stem is removed, you will hear and feel the air rushing out from the tire.