Changing a tire does not have to be as intimidating as it seems. Here are easy steps to help you, next time, if you don’t already know how to do it.
1. FIND A SECURE LOCATION Find a flat, hard and level surface, where you will not have to worry about the car rolling. If you are near a road, please distance yourself from traffic and turn on your hazard lights, for your safety.
2. PARK THE VEHICLE Apply the parking brake and put your car in “Park” position. If you have a manual transmission, leave it in gear.
3. IMMOBILIZE THE VEHICLE Place a heavy object behind the tire diagonally to the opposite of the one that needs to be changed, in order to secure the vehicle, so that it will not move, during the tire change.
4. GATHER EQUIPMENT You’ll need the jack, spare tire and tire iron/wrench. Place the jack under the vehicle frame (between front and back tires), near the flat tire, ensuring that it is in contact with the metal frame, since many vehicles have plastic molding along the bottom and you want to avoid cracking it.
5. RAISE JACK Raise the jack ONLY to the point where it is supporting the car, making sure that it is level and perpendicular to the ground.
6. HUBCAP AND LUG NUTS Remove the hubcap and ONLY loosen the lug nuts, by turning counterclockwise, in order to ensure that you are NOT turning the tire. You may need to use your body weight to assist, but be careful to not strip the lug nuts.
7. CRANK THE JACK Crank the jack high enough to remove the flat tire, making sure that the jack remains stable at all times.
8. LUG NUTS Remove the nuts completely, turning counterclockwise.
9. TIRE Remove the flat tire and place it under the vehicle in case of jack failure, in order to prevent car damage. Sometimes tires get a little rusty, making it difficult to remove, so hit on the inside or outside, in order to loosen it.
10. SPARE TIRE Place the spare tire on the hub, making sure that it is aligned with the wheel bolts, then replace the lug nuts. NOTE: Make sure that the tire is placed on correctly, with the valve stem facing outwards.
11. LUG NUTS Tighten the lug nuts by hand, until they are all snug. In order to ensure that the tires are balanced, it is recommended NOT to tighten the lug nuts one at a time, but instead, to use what is called a “star pattern”. With the wrench, give the lug nut a full turn, then go to the one across it and do the same, repeat until all of the lug nuts are equally tight, but NOT fully tightened. You will tighten them further, once the car is lowered.
12. LOWER JACK Lower the vehicle, without placing full weight on the tires, tighten the lug nuts, further.
13. LOWER CAR Lower the vehicle to the ground, completely. Finish tightening the lug nuts, fully and replace the hubcap.
14. FLAT TIRE Place the old tire in your trunk and take it to a tire shop. Some tires can be patched up for less than $15. If the tire cannot be repaired, then you can simply by a new one.