How to Change a Flat Tire

Due to debris in the road a tire can pick up a nail or screw which may penetrate the tread and enter the inner layer of the tire allowing its compressed air to leak out. There are mainly three types of flat tires which is; very low on air pressure (almost flat) but it is still able to roll, completely out of air, finally the most dangerous a high speed blow out.

Safety first

High speed blowouts can be hazardous, if you hear and feel a tire blowout controlling the car will become more difficult. If this happens let off the throttle while keeping the steering wheel and car steady. Gentling apply the brakes until you have slowed or stopped. The idea is to get the car and yourself to safe level ground even if you need to drive for a short distance to do so.

Drive slow and use caution, the vehicle will act a little funny, if you are on the freeway head for the nearest off ramp. In most cases once the tire has been run flat for any time it breaks down the inner layers rendering it useless so don't get hung up on trying to save the tire. Never change a flat tire directly on the side of the road make sure you are a safe distance from the "text zone" (anywhere 6 feet outside the lane, either way), no tire is worth injury. Roadside flares are a good idea to warn approaching motorists to slow down. If you cannot get to a safe place dial 911 wait for help from the highway patrol or local police.

Change a Flat

  • Park car on level ground
  • Open compartment to remove spare, jack and tire iron
  • Remove wheel cover (if equipped)
  • Break lug nut loose (1 turn)
  • Position jack under car and raise
  • Remove the lug nuts
  • Take off flat tire
  • Install spare tire
  • Reinstall lug nuts
  • Lower jack until wheel touches ground
  • Tighten lug nuts
  • Lower jack
  • Stow flat tire, jack and tire iron

Let's get started

(A flat tire emergency road side kit including a set of gloves is highly recommended.)

  1. Park the car on level ground and set the parking brake, also block the tires (2 blocks of wood). This is to keep the car from rolling when being lifted with the jack. Never lift a car on uneven ground it can cause the jack to buckle and the car to roll off of the jack. The jack must be on solid ground, if you are on a soft roadside shoulder use large piece of flat wood to set the jack on before lifting.
     
  2. Located the spare tire (mentioned in your vehicles owner’s manual) and check its inflation, some cars have a space saver spare which requires no air. In the same vicinity as the spare tire the car jack and lug wrench should be available and held down with a mounting screw which is hand tight.
     
  3. Remove wheel cover of the flat tire (if quipped) using the tire iron break the lug nuts lose, 1 turn (counterclockwise). Make sure the lug wrench is completely on the lug to avoid rounding, push downward with the lug wrench facing left horizontally. A bouncing motion works best you can also use a foot on the wrench.
     
  4. On the jack should be instructions on how and where to lift the car, also in the vehicle's owner’s manual there will be instructions for your particular vehicle. Never assume where the jack is placed because you can damage the vehicle lifting it incorrectly. Some vehicles have an arrow on the lower body pinch molding (bottom) that shows exactly where the jack is to be placed. Position the jack under the lifting area and start to turn the jack screw clockwise. This will raise the jack into position, continue winding the upward until the wheel clears the ground.
     
  5. Continue removing lugs nuts (on German cars the lug nut is combined with the wheel stud, so the tire will fall off once the lug studs are removed).
     
  6. Grasp the tire firmly and gently slide it off the wheel studs and place is under the car for additional safety until the spare tire is in place (do not hit the jack).
     

  7. Carefully lift (knees) the spare tire onto the wheel studs (German cars you will need to thread a stud lug) and hand thread a lug nut to hold the tire in place, install the remained of the lug nuts and snug.
     
  8. Lower the jack slightly until the tire just touches the ground which will hold it from rotating while you finish tightening the lug nuts. Push downward with the lug wrench facing right, do not pull upward.
     
  9. Continue to lower the jack and then remove.
     
  10. Stow the flat tire, lug wrench and jack and you are all set. The spare tire is a temporary item in most cases so have a new tire installed or the old tire repaired.

Let's see!

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