how to change a flat tire

Step By Step on How to Change a Flat Tire

Changing a flat tire is easy enough for anybody to do with the right tools and some step by step instructions. It’s also an important skill for anybody who drives to know how to perform since you may not always break down in an area where help is available.

Changing a tire is not a complicated task, but it’s shocking how many people who know how to drive don’t know how to do it on their vehicles. Read on and you’ll learn everything you need to get a flat tire changed on your car in an emergency.

Is It Hard to Change a Flat Tire?

While many drivers may be intimidated at the idea of changing a flat tire on their own, it isn’t a difficult undertaking as long as you have the right tools for the job. (Source: Honk) These are the tools you need to make a tire change easier:

If you don’t keep a flat tire repair kit to repair a flat tire, you’ll need to keep a donut or spare in your car’s trunk or storage area.

Many models of cars, trucks, and SUVs come with a spare tire already incorporated into the car’s design. Others can have a spare tire added for an additional fee. In any case, having a spare tire—either a donut or another full-sized tire—can mean the difference between being stranded or not.

Can You Change a Flat Tire By Yourself?

Cars are designed so that anyone can change a flat tire by themselves. The biggest difficulties in changing the tire involve getting the car jacked up off the asphalt so that the flat tire can be removed and getting the lug nuts off and on the wheel.

Some people with weaker upper body strength may have difficulty getting the lug nuts loose if they are put on too tightly. This is the biggest barrier to getting a tire changed alone other than having all of the necessary tools. The reason most people fail to change a flat tire on their own is due to lack of equipment (usually a carjack or a spare tire) and not because it’s difficult to do.

If you have any questions about how to get a tire on and off your car, it’s always smart to consult with your owner’s manual. This is usually located in the glovebox of the car. The owner’s manual can explain in fine detail how tires can be changed on the car as well as where the spare tire is located if you own a model of vehicle that has one.

Mach1 Services Roadside Assistance: Flat Tire Service

Many people may want to know how to change a flat tire step by step on their own, but feel intimidated about doing it when the moment arrives. Luckily, for those who are more comfortable allowing a professional to handle their car in an emergency and are wondering if ‘you can call someone to change your flat tire’: there are flat tire services like Mach1 Services Roadside Assistance.

Roadside assistance allows the driver to call a roadside mechanic out to the scene of the flat tire to change the tire for you. This is a great choice for drivers who have mobility issues that prevent them from comfortably changing their tires, or drivers who may have difficulty getting the tire on and off the car.

Roadside flat tire service is also a practical option for those who commute to work in a corporate environment. A tire change can be dirty because of the tire grease and dirt involved. For those with expensive clothing, roadside service can help prevent you from getting your hands and your clothes dirty when you have a flat.

Here are some of the other advantages of using a roadside flat tire service:

  • Safety: Changing a flat tire on the side of the road can be dangerous for a driver to attempt depending on where they broke down. Roadside flat tire services remove the risk of being struck by a vehicle from the driver to the roadside professional.
  • Security: Some drivers aren’t sure whether they can safely change their tire or not without making a mistake like leaving the lug nuts too loose or not jacking the car up correctly. Roadside flat tire services provide a mechanic that can get it done professionally so you can get back on the road without worry.

It’s good to know the steps involved in changing a flat tire, but having a subscription for roadside assistance is always a good idea for a backup plan.

Step by Step on How to Change a Flat Tire

If you need to change your flat tire yourself, first take a look at the steps to take when your car breaks down on the side of the road. Then, proceed on following the steps of a tire change carefully to prevent costly mistakes or putting yourself at unnecessary risk. Below you’ll find a step by step guide to changing a flat tire. (Source: Bridgestone)

how to change a flat tire - infographicStep 1: Prepare to Change the Tire

Once you’ve pulled over on the side of the road into the emergency lane and determined that you have a flat, it’s time to make sure that you’re safe. Set up reflective triangles and make sure that the car is pulled over as far as possible to prevent you from hanging out into the road while you change the tire. This is especially important if you’re having to change a tire on the left side of the car adjacent to traffic.

It’s also advisable to put on your hazard lights while changing a tire, especially if you’re having to change a flat tire in low visibility conditions. It is common for drivers checking on a flat to be struck by passing vehicles and killed, so anything you can do to increase the chance that other drivers will see you and slow down is a good investment in your time and money. (Source: ABC)

Before you start to change your tires, perform the following:

  • Turn on your flashers.
  • Place tire wedges behind the wheels of the car.
  • Make sure the parking brake is set.
  • Turn the car off and remove the keys from the ignition.

Once this is done, your car is safe and ready for you to change out the tire. Be aware of oncoming traffic and make sure to stay as far away from moving traffic as possible.

Step 2: Remove the Hubcap

Not all cars have hubcaps, but hubcaps are wheel accessories that cover up the lug nuts holding the wheel on the car. If your car has a hubcap, this is the point where you would use the flattened end of the lugnut wrench to pop the hubcap off. Once you’ve removed the hubcap, you should have access to the lug nuts.

Note: Not all vehicles can have their hubcaps removed with a simple lugnut wrench. For specifics on removing your vehicle’s tires, read up on the tire section of your vehicle’s owner manual. Typically when additional tools are needed to remove the hubcaps, the owner’s manual will point this out.

Step 3: Loosen the Lug Nuts on the Tire

The next step in changing a flat is taking the lug wrench and using it to loosen each of the lug nuts on the wheel of the tire to be replaced with a counterclockwise motion. If the lug nuts are especially tight, you may need to throw all of your body weig ht into it as leverage or even stamp on the lugnut wrench with your foot to break the lug nuts loose.

Once you loosen the lug nuts, leave them in place. You don’t want to remove the lug nuts until you’re ready to remove the tire from the car.

Step 4. Lift the Car With the Carjack

After loosening the lug nuts on the flat tire, the next step in changing the tire is lifting the car off the ground. Without jacking up the car, you won’t get enough clearance to be able to work the flat tire off the car and replace it with a fresh one.

Here are the steps to take to jack the car up:

  • Place the carjack underneath the vehicle. In most vehicles, the safest place to jack up the car is on any part alongside the bottom of the frame that is flat enough for the jack to be placed in a level position.
  • Raise the vehicle with the jack according to the jack instructions. Using the jack, raise the vehicle until the bottom of the flat tire is approximately six inches above the shoulder. Be sure to keep all parts of your body out from beneath the car while jacking it up in case of a jack malfunction.
  • Once the car is raised with the carjack, the lug nuts on the wheel can be loosened the rest of the way and removed with the lugnut wrench. Be sure to keep the lug nuts together in one location while you install the replacement tire so that none are lost. It’s a good idea to keep a small container with your tire change kit in the car to store them just in case.

Step 5. Removing and Replacing the Tire

After the lug nuts on the flat tire are removed, you can remove the flat tire and replace it with your spare tire. The flat tire can be stored in the same area where the spare tire is usually stored until it can be repaired or replaced.

With the new tire in place, use the lugnut wrench to re-attach the lug nuts to the lugnut bolts and use the wrench to tighten them down. Make sure that every lugnut is tightened down as tight as they can go to prevent the wheel from coming loose during operation.

Step 6. Bring the Vehicle off the Carjack

The next step after putting the replacement tire on the car is to bring the car down off the carjack. This is done by gradually releasing the carjack until the car is lowered back to the ground and the full weight of the car is resting on all four tires.

When the carjack is cranked down until it is no longer touching the car, remove the carjack and replace the hubcap on the replacement wheel (if it fits). If the hubcap doesn’t fit, store it away with the flat tire until a compatible wheel can be found. If the flat tire can’t be repaired, it can be taken off the wheel and the new tire can be installed in its place at a tire repair shop.

(Now that you’ve changed your flat tire, you might need to repair it. Check out this article on how to fix a flat tire at home!)

How Long Does It Take to Change a Flat Tire?

Another reason to learn how to change a tire if you don’t already know how is the fact that changing a tire is a speedy process as well as a simple one. Even if you’ve never changed a tire before, most vehicle tires can be replaced within fifteen to thirty minutes. (Source: Fix Auto USA)

Final Thoughts

Whether you’ve just started driving or you’ve been driving for most of your life, knowing how to change a flat tire on your own is an important life skill that can save you both hassle and  the cost for a tow truck service in the case of a flat tire while traveling. And it could also be convenient if you don’t have roadside assistance.So, even though it seems complicated, this simple task can be performed by almost all drivers with the right tools.