Flat tires can be inconvenient and dangerous if you’re unprepared. Knowing how to change a car tire is an essential skill for any driver. In this blog post, we’ll cover the step-by-step process of changing a car tire so that you’ll feel confident and capable in case of an emergency.
1. Find a Safe Place to Pull Over
Pull over to a flat and level area away from other traffic. Avoid stopping near any bends that may reduce visibility for other drivers.
2. Use Your Hazard Lights and Parking Brake
Before doing anything else, apply the parking brake and place the car in park or first gear, activate your hazard lights, and place a tire chock (if available) under the wheel opposite to the one you are replacing.
3. Check for Materials
Before you start, make sure you have the necessary equipment ready:
- A spare tire
- A lug wrench
- A jack
- A tire pressure gauge (to check tire pressure)
- A tire chock (if available)
- An owner’s manual for your vehicle
4. Loosen the Lug Nuts
Grab your equipment and locate your vehicle’s factory jack points indicated in your owner’s manual. Use a lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts on the flat tire; do not remove them entirely yet.
5. Lift Your Vehicle Off the Ground
Place the jack underneath the correct factory jack point and raise it high enough until you can take the wheel off easily.
6. Remove the Lug Nuts and the Tire
Remove all of the lug nuts and gently pull off the old wheel straight towards yourself until it comes off completely.
7. Place the Spare Tire on the Car
Mount on your new spare wheel by aligning its rim into holes at the wheelbase.
8. Replace the Lug Nuts
Use your fingers to tighten the lug nuts back on loosely but do not fully tighten yet as they may need adjusting after lowering down the vehicle onto the ground later.
9. Lower Your Vehicle and Begin Tightening
Slowly lower down the vehicle using the jack until the spare tire hits the ground and start tightening the lug nuts in increments, alternating in a cross-cross pattern as shown in the image below, to ensure the tire goes on straight.
10. Lower Your Vehicle Completely and Finish Tightening
Lower the vehicle down fully using the jack until all four wheels are firmly placed back onto the ground, then with help from someone else, hold each corner of the newly mounted wheel steady while another person fully tightens up each nut using the same criss-cross pattern.
Extra Tips for How to Change a Tire
Clean up your tool and put your old tire in the trunk. It might be repairable depending on what’s wrong with it. It’s worth taking it to a mechanic to assess whether a repair is possible. If not, buy yourself a replacement spare straight away. It’s essential to always have a spare tire in the event of a breakdown.