How To Change A Tire: Everything You Need To Know About Flat Tire To Get Rolling Again

It is indeed frustrating to be stuck on the side or worse in the middle of the road due to a flat tire. This situation could definitely be inevitable. If you are among those that are into driving your car a lot often, there will indeed be a chance that you will get a flat tire. This is bound to happen to almost everyone, sooner or later.

Though you are prepared and you are assured that tire failure might be reduced to happen because of the advanced tire technology, still, there are numbers of road hazards such as glass, nail and cavernous potholes that could be present and they have the ability of inflicting punctures which might be severe enough capable of ruining your day. So, in such cases, being able to know how to change tire will be a great help.

Well, every driver should definitely know how to change the tire. Though you have the best roadside insurance coverage, you might still find yourself experiencing a very frustrating situation too far from civilization. Good to know that once equipped with proper information about changing a tire, things will be favorable on your side.

Quick infographic about main steps of changing a tire:

Source: http://www.dailyinfographic.com/changing-a-car-tire-infographic

Continue reading to learn every single detail you need to know about changing car’s tire.

Know Before You Go

You don’t actually have to proceed to change your tire without being prepared at all. There are definitely certain things that must be familiar with before going into the process. Prior to going wherever your destination will be, being equipped with important details about the car parts, particularly the tire, will help you on achieving hassle-free journey.

First, why not check the owner’s manual of the car’s proper tire-changing procedure allowing you to be familiar once a flat tire happens? After that, consider having a quick rundown of all the needed supplies and tools. Some of the most common items that should be included are lug wrench, jack and a spare tire, obviously.

Most of the cars these days would have a small and space-saving doughnut spare tire but there are still cars that come with full-size spare. You might as well include a can of tire sealant and an air compressor too. In whatever case you might be, there is a need to remember that the sealant or doughnut would have very specific speed as well as mileage restrictions. With that, they are intended only to be a stopgap measure leading you to a service center. And also, you must never forget to check the inflation pressure of the spare once you check the other tires. Before you go and start driving, checking the car first should be considered.

What Are The Tools Needed To Change A Tire?

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For most, changing tire could be a simple task and almost numbers of cars would come along with the needed equipment in order to perform the procedures as being part of the basic car-maintenance package. In connection, the manual should also include instructions on where the tire changing tools are located along with the proper procedures. You might consider car tire repair kit in order to be ready when unwanted circumstance happens to your tire.

Indeed, a basic tire changing kit normally includes:


A jack

A lug wrench along with a socket on one end and also a pry bar on the other end

A spare tire

And for additional tools, based on the model, make and year of the car, a kit should include:


Alignment studs

Extension bars as for lowering the spare tire

A wheel lock

1

Jacks


Jacks might come in different varieties and they are floor jacks, bumper jacks, bottle jacks and scissor jacks. The bottle jack is considered to be more powerful however less compact and would use only hydraulic fluid in lifting the car. And the scissor jack is known to be the most common type and would use a mechanical scissor mechanism in lifting the car.

2

Lug Wrench


This one is a large socket wrench having a socket which matches the size of the lug nuts on the wheels. Mechanical advantage will be provided because of the handle’s length. And the pry bar on the other end would be used in removing the hub cap and also to pry the rim off the wheel hub once stuck with dirt or rust.

3

Spare Tire


Spares could either be temporary or full-size spares. Donut or temporary spare is a lot easier to store and also easier to be managed on the hub. It is safe and would usually limit driving speed to less than 50 miles every hour and also a range of less than 60 mph.

On the other hand, the full-size spare would offer more numbers of advantages aside from safety. However, it could be hard to store particularly in smaller vehicles. It could also weigh more and could be harder to manage into the wheel hub at the ground level.

Always remember to have these tools in your car in order to be prepared once you get a flat tire. Being equipped with these tools will save you a lot of time and effort.


Before You Jack It: Important Tips To Read First

You have a flat tire! What to do now? Again, before proceeding to change the tire, certain things must be considered. If you ease the car to the side of the road, consider turning on the hazard lights then grab the safety triangles and place them on the shoulder with a certain distance behind the car. And there is a need to make sure that the car is in the park as well as the emergency brake is also set.

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Now, remove the tools and the spare from the storage places then pop off the hubcap once needed. If the car has its recent service, the lug nuts or the lug bolts will be a bit snug. With this, it is good to loosen them first prior to jacking up the car keeping the wheel from spinning once you flail away in vain. Don’t completely remove them, only get them loose. Once you lift the car, you want the wheel to stay on the studs and let it remove itself from your foot. Indeed, there is a need for you to safely jack up your vehicle and this one could provide tips on how to do so.

How To Change A Flat Tire? Step-By-Step Guide

Now that you are equipped with the needed tools, you should also be guided with the proper procedure on how to change a tire. Well, a step-by-step procedure will definitely be a great guide. Consider the steps below:

Step 1: Get Ready Before The Changing


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Look For A Place To Change The Tire

The first thing to consider is to find a stable, flat and safe place wherein you are to do the work. There is a need for you to have a solid and level surface which would restrict the car from the instance of rolling. Once near a road, you must park as far as possible from traffic and turn on the hazard lights. Also, avoid soft ground or hills.


Apply The Parking Brake And Put The Car In Park Position

Once you have a standard transmission, you should put the car in first or reverse.


Put A Heavy Object

Placing a heavy object should be considered such as concrete, rock, spare wheel or some other options you have. Place the heavy object in front of the back and front tires.

Step 2: Raise The Jack


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Take Out The Spare Tire And The Jack.

Now, place the jack under the frame which is near the tire that you will change. Make sure that the jack is having a contact with the metal portion of the frame of the car.

There are many cars that have molded plastic along the bottom. Once the jack is not in its right spot, it would crack the plastic once you start lifting. Once in doubt about the right place where to place the jack, consult the owner’s manual.

For those modern uni-body cars, there will be a small notch or mark behind the front wheel wells or right in front of the rear wheel wells wherein the jack should be placed.

And for most trucks or those older ones having a frame, look to put the jack on one among the beams of the frame right behind the front tire or in front of its rear tire.


Raise The Jack To Support The Car

You should raise the jack, but do not lift, up until it could already support the car. The jack must be firmly in place against the underside of the car. There is also a need for you to check ensuring that the jack is indeed perpendicular to the ground.

Step 3: Loosen The Nuts


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Remove the hubcap and then loosen the nuts by turning it counter clockwise. You must not take them all the way off only break the resistance. Through keeping the wheel on the ground as you first loosen the nuts there is a need to make sure that you are to turn the nuts rather than the wheel.

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Use the wrench which comes along with the car or the standard cross wrench. The wrench might have varied sizes of openings on different ends. Once the wrench is correctly-sized it will easily slip over the nut, however, will not rattle.
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Be prepared for unforeseen tire changes through keeping the exact size of the socket for the lug nuts and a breaker bar handy in the trunk.
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It could take a lot of force to break the lug nuts free. Once everything else fails, you might use the body weight or the stomp into the wrench. But, the use of body weight or stomping might lead to the risk of stripping the lug nuts since it is hard to maintain full contact.

Step 4: Lift The Tire Off The Ground


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There is a need for you to lift it high enough in order to remove the flat tire then replace it with a spare.

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Once you lift, be sure that the car is indeed stable. If ever you notice any instability, you simply lower the jack and then fix the problem prior to fully lifting the car.
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Once you also notice the jack lifting into an angle or if it’s leaning, just lower and reposition it in order it could lift straight up.
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It would be a great idea that you always keep a small jack stand handy in the car also if ever the jack gives out during a tire change. If you are to use both the small and normal jack it will keep you safe in case of jack failure.

Step 5: Remove The Nuts And The Tire


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Remove The Nuts

Simply remove the nuts the rest of the way. You have to turn them counter clockwise up until they are loose. Repeat with all the lug nuts and completely remove the nuts. There are some cars that would have actually reverse threaded lug nuts, but these are older cars and could be rare too.


Remove The Tire

Put the flat tire under the car so in the case of jack failure the car would fall on the old wheel and would let you prevent injury as well. Once the jack is placed on the flat and solid base, there would be no problems at all.

The tire might also stick because of rust. You could also try hitting half of the tire’s inside with the rubber mallet as for loosening the tire or you could use the spare tire in order to hit the outside half.

Step 6: Align The Spare Tire


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There is a need to take care once aligning the rim of the spare tire with the wheel bolts and put on the lug nuts too. You should be sure in terms of installing the spare tire correctly and not backward. The doughnut tire would have the valve stem that must face outwards or away from the car. And once the car uses acorn-style lug nut, it would be a lot easier to put those at the back as well. Only be sure that the tapered part of the nut would face the wheel if tightening it down.

Step 7: Tighten The Nuts


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You should tighten the nuts by hand first until they are all snug. There is a need for them to easily turn at first. Avoid the use of great force wherein you might risk upsetting the jack. If the vehicle is down and if danger of falling isn’t observed, you will have to tighten the lug nuts again.

Step 8: Lower The Vehicle


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Now, there is a need for you to lower the car but do not apply full weight on its tire. With the use of the wrench, tighten the nuts using a star pattern. In ensuring a balanced tire, do not tighten the nuts completely at the same time. Going into a star pattern around the tire. A nut across another, provide every nut a full turn up until they are tight equally. And after that, fully lower the car to the ground and remove the jack. You should finish tightening the nuts and replace the hubcap.

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Put The Old Tire In The Trunk

Now that you’re done with changing the tire, put the old one in the trunk and take it to the mechanic. You might consider getting an estimate for the cost of the repair. But once the car couldn’t be repaired at all, they could properly dispose it and sell you a replacement.
Along with being equipped in terms of changing tire, a guide to tire replacement could also play of great role during the process.

Following the above-mentioned steps will definitely help you in achieving your goal which is to change a flat tire especially if you are under an unwanted instance. Being guided by these steps will make the process a lot easier and faster as well. You might also watch this as for a detailed guide on how you could change a flat tire.


Changing Tire Essential Tips

For those that are still in doubt about how to properly change tires, well, there are some important tips that you should consider that would further guide you during the process. Take note of the following tips:

There could be cases wherein the wheels would seize into the hub leading to great difficulty in terms of removing the flat tire. In such case, you might consider a sledgehammer and also a 2x4 or some other piece of wood in order to remove the seized wheel rim. This might also be prevented if you are to rotate the tires.

Once wheels have locking nuts, you must keep the key lug wherein you could easily look for it. This is important in changing the tire.

Arrange the cross wrench in order for you to press down with gravity as you loosen and tighten the nuts. Why? Well, this would remove your risk to back injury and would also allow you using your body weight than the arm strength only. For the best leverage, consider pressing on the end of the wrench. You might as well use your foot, however, make sure that you keep the balance and steady yourself too against the car.

During replacing the nuts, there is a need to make sure that the tapered side will go into the wheel. This would center the wheels and will also lock the nuts in place.

Arrange the cross wrench in order for you to press down with gravity as you loosen and tighten the nuts. Why? Well, this would remove your risk to back injury and would also allow you using your body weight than the arm strength only. For the best leverage, consider pressing on the end of the wrench. You might as well use your foot, however, make sure that you keep the balance and steady yourself too against the car.

During replacing the nuts, there is a need to make sure that the tapered side will go into the wheel. This would center the wheels and will also lock the nuts in place.

Being familiar with the procedure and also with the particulars of the car before getting a flat tire could help a lot.

For a much more torque compared to the standard single-handed wrench, a cross wrench is a great choice.

A common problem once changing a flat tire could be prevented once you rotate the tires based on the recommended intervals of the manufacturer.

Occasionally check for ensuring that the spare tire has enough air pressure.

There is a need for you to make sure of getting spare tires being replaced with those new ones since they are temporary and must not be used as the permanent replacement as well.

These tips mentioned could definitely be of great help once you are in the process of changing a flat tire and will help you keep going on.

Warnings To Bear In Mind

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Aside from important tips that will guide you throughout the process of changing a flat tire, there are also warnings that should be considered to avoid unwanted circumstances. And these warnings include the following:

You should always be aware of your surroundings. If ever you are on a busy road, you should be wary most particularly by those vehicles that are driving by which might get too close. You actually don’t want to risk your life just for the flat tire, right? So, always be alert and aware! There are also some reasons why you must not consider driving with a flat tire.

As for your safety, placing an object like a large rock or log under the vehicle right after jacking should be considered, however it should be done before removing the tire. Put it in order for it to stop the car from dropping if ever the jack is dislodged or if it shifts due to some reasons while the wheel is removed. You might consider placing it near a part of the frame or to other supporting parts that is not too far from the wheel.

Most of the undersized donut tires or spare tires are not intended for speeds of almost more than 50 mph or for long distances. If you are to exceed this speed, it could lead to problems such as failure of the spare tire. You just have to drive carefully and slowly to the shop and have the tire replaced or repaired.

You must never use makeshift jacks or cinder blocks. A car could be very heavy and once you use anything else, you might also put yourself and the car at risk.

Being aware of these warnings will help you achieve maximum safety as you do the process of changing a flat tire. These warnings should never be ignored rather these should be kept in mind at all times. As the owner of the car, you should also be aware of some warning signs that your car already needs a tire replacement

Watch this in order to be guided on whether how to change a flat tire using the tools you have in your car.

A Quick Fix

But in some cases, removing a tire to fix a flat might not always be needed. There could be a quick fix for a certain case. Those very small punctures in the tire’s crown and not on the sidewall could most of the time repaired using aerosol tire sealants. What are these sealants? Well, they would inject air and also a sealant compound in the tire at the same time inflating the tire and definitely repairing the leak. This is so easy and quick, right?

When To Call A Rescue?

If you don’t have emergency roadside assistance coverage, changing your own tire could be cost-effective. However, safety is definitely important. So, with that, calling for a rescue is also a wise move. Bear in mind some important factors once deciding whether to do it yourself or you will already call for a backup.

Road And Traffic Conditions


There is a need for you to consider whether you could pull the car over in a safe place or away from the oncoming traffic and a smooth and flat surface. Once you are on a busy freeway, dirt road, narrow shoulder or on a slick surface, you must think carefully prior to pulling out the jack and decide whether to ask for a rescue or not.

Weather Conditions


During a snow or once it is dumping or the wind is howling, you might lose your grip on your equipment. The blazing heat could also put your health or even your safety at risk. With such instances, calling for a tow should be considered.

Passenger Safety


Once traveling along with your friends, family or even with your beloved pets, take stock of the environment and the safety of everyone as well. Once the conditions seem to be not ideal then don’t take unnecessary risks just for you to have great savings.

Equipment Condition


There is a need for you to be sure that the spare is inflated and in good condition as well in order to be properly prepared. Once you miss any other tools or equipment needed, or once the jack is rusty and when the flashlight batteries are dead, don’t have any second thoughts and consider calling a tow truck and ask for help.

Indeed, it is your decision whether to call for a backup or not. If you believe that you are fully-equipped not just with the needed tools right in your best tool chest but also with the needed knowledge and information about the process of changing a flat tire then doing the task by yourself is a wise option. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to do the task and the situation told you to call for a help then hesitate to do it so.

FAQs

What is a hubcap?

What can I do if I can’t turn the lug nuts?

Where should I put the jack so that it won’t break the plastic frame of the car?

Do newer cars need a key to change a tire?

What are all the needed materials in order to change a tire?

How do I lower the tire from under the GMC truck?

Do all cars come with a spare tire?

Indeed, knowing essential information about a flat tire will lead every individual to the ability to change it without hassles. Along with that, being equipped with the needed tools and being guided with the steps to follow, everything will just be so easy and convenient. In fact, changing a flat tire is so simple, but only to those who are equipped with right knowledge and tools.

On the other hand, for those who lack the needed tools, it’s never too late! Just make sure to have those important tools now in your car, read this article and you are guaranteed to be hundred percent ready if ever a flat tire comes your way!

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Lucas Knight
 

Over the past 10 years, Lucas Knight has been a motorcycle rider. He has built up an incredible passion for travelling by motorbike and always wishes to contribute to motorcyclist community. This is the reason why he created MotorManner.com where his passion is turned into useful and interesting information to the motorcycle lover. Follow his facebook and twitter or subcribe to his website to receive more useful information in motorcycle world.

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