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5-Step Emergency Guide to Changing Tires on Your Own

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It is essential for drivers to know how to change a tire on their vehicle. Almost every driver will experience a flat tire at least once and this skill can make the experience a little less of a hassle.

Before you begin the process of exchanging a flat tire for the spare tire, there are several preparatory steps that must be taken. First, make sure that you slowly steer the vehicle off of the road and park in a safe area. This area needs to be wide enough for you to be able to move around the vehicle without putting yourself in danger of being hit my other motorists. Make sure your emergency flashers are on so that other drivers know to take caution when driving past you as you change your flat tire. In addition to applying your emergency brake, place a large rock or stick behind the tire opposite of the flat to prevent the car from rolling. If you have a reflective warning sign, place it several feet behind your car for additional safety.

How To Change Tires

  1. 1

    To begin the process of changing the flat tire, locate your spare tire and jack in the trunk of your vehicle.

    spare tire
    Spare tire is usually found in the trunk

    Most models store these two items in a compartment underneath the floor of the trunk. Carefully lift the spare tire and place it on the ground in close proximity to the flat tire. Car jacks usually have a built in lug wrench. Remove the lug wrench from the jack and use it to loosen the hub cap on the tire that is damaged. Once the hub cap is removed, place it to the side.

  2. 2

    After the hub cap is removed and before you use the jack to lift the wheel off of the ground, use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts on the wheel with the flat tire.

    wrench
    You might need to use a lot of strength to loosen some of the nuts

    It is important to complete this step before using the jack to lift the wheel. Place the lug wrench onto each nut and apply pressure to the handle in a counter clockwise fashion. Only loosen the nuts, do not remove them completely. If you have trouble loosening a lug nut, use your foot or knee to gain leverage on the handle of the lug wrench.

  3. 3

    The next step to change a flat tire is to use the jack to lift the wheel off of the ground.

    jack
    Jacking up a car with the hydraulic jack

    Position the jack on a strong part of your vehicle’s frame. You vehicle’s owner manual will give specific information about the proper placement of the jack on your particular vehicle. Turn the jack in a clockwise fashion by hand until it meets the vehicle. Then, use the jack’s handle to continue to turn in a clockwise fashion until the damaged tire is several inches above the ground.

  4. 4

    After the vehicle is lifted, remove the lug nuts that you loosened prior to using the jack by using the lug wrench.

    lug nuts
    You don’t want to lose any lug nuts

    Make sure to keep your lug nuts in a safe location so you do not loose them while changing the tire. Carefully remove the flat tire and place it in an area away from the road. Place your spare tire onto the wheel by lining up the holes with the bolts. Place the lug nuts back onto the bolts and turn them in a clockwise fashion. Once you have tightened the lug nuts by hand, use the lug wrench to make sure each lug nut is secure.

  5. 5

    Finally, lower the vehicle off of the jack by turning the handle in a counter clockwise fashion. Remove the jack once the spare tire is securely on the ground. After the jack is removed, use the lug wrench to tighten the lug nuts on the spare tire to ensure that it is secure enough to be drivable. After the spare is completely installed, place the jack, lug wrench, hub cap, and flat tire back into the trunk of your vehicle.

Knowing how to change a tire will prevent you from having to call for assistance or ask a fellow motorist for help.

Drive carefully when your spare tire is being used! Get your flat tire repaired and reinstalled as soon as possible.

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