How to Change a Flat Tire Properly
When you’re on the road, a flat tire is always a possibility. It can strike anytime, anywhere, and in the most inopportune moments. If you have the worst of luck, roadside assistance could be a long way off or simply not available. So whether you're a long-time driver or a college student with a student permit, it pays to know how to change a car tire in the correct manner. It will save you loads of time instead of that roadside assistance that may never come. Follow these steps, and you’ll be cruising down the road again in no time.
Check the air pressure and condition of your spare tire once or twice a month. A spare tire with not enough air does you no good. As for items to bring with you in case of a flat tire, check out this list:
Items you'll definitely need:
- Lug wrench
- Portable air pump
- Wheel wedges
- Early warning device
- Vehicle owner's manual
Items you might need:
- Raincoat (not only for weather protection, but also for keeping your clothes clean)
- ½ inch plank of wood (for securing and stabilizing the jack)
- Flashlight with working batteries
Whether completely necessary or not, it's best to have all of these items stowed in your car. You never know when you're going to need to use them.
Park your car in a safe location
When you start to feel the flat tire, don't panic--and don't make abrupt stops or turns. Reduce your speed slowly and start looking for an open and flat area on the side of the road. Avoid parking on curves and shoulders--stay on straight stretches of road instead so oncoming drivers will have an easier time spotting you from a distance.
Changing a flat tire step by step
Once parked, performing the following steps:
- Put on the parking brake.
- Put out the warning device.
- Place wheel wedges.
- Remove the hubcap if your wheel has one.
- Loosen the lug nuts with the lug wrench (don't take them off completely!).
- Place the jack under the vehicle frame (Refer to your vehicle owner's manual on where to place the jack).
- Lift the vehicle with the jack.
- Remove the loosened lug nuts.
- Remove the flat tire.
- Mount the spare tire.
- Install the lug nuts and tighten by hand. Don't secure them with the wrench just yet.
- Slightly lower the vehicle until your spare tire touches the ground. Don't lower all the way.
- Tighten the nuts with your wrench. When tightening the nuts, follow a cross-pattern, in which you follow up one nut by tightening the one on the opposite side instead of an adjacent one. If your wheel has five nuts, tighten them in a star pattern.
- Lower the vehicle completely, then re-tighten the lugs one last time.
- Replace the hubcap.
- Check the tire pressure. If the tire needs air, use your portable air pump to fill it to the manufacturer's recommended pressure. Refer to your vehicle manual for this information.
- Check all your equipment and supplies and return them to your vehicle.
- Drive to the nearest service center and have your tire checked by an authorized mechanic.