How to Change a Tire In 7 Steps

By: Michael Murray

There is nothing worse than being stranded in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire. Sometimes, a gas station or car repair shop is many miles away. Other times, you are unable to contact help in a suitable amount of time and no one seems friendly enough to stop and offer help. All of these circumstances add more to the reason of learning how to change your own tires.

Before attempting to change a tire, it is suggested to practice before you actually have to complete the job in cases of emergency. Reading the owner's manual will help prep you for the task ahead. In order to change a tire, it is important to possess a spare tire, lug wrench, and jack in your vehicle. When it comes to supplying a lug wrench, you may want to invest in the type shaped like a cross, which provides better stability and less chances of slippage.

Flat Tire Change Preparation

Before changing a tire, it is suggested to place the car on level ground (located completely off to the side of the road). Making sure you are out of the way of traffic is quite important, even if you have to drive a couple of hundred yards on a flat tire. Next, you must apply your parking brake. Cars with automatic transmissions are placed in "park," while manual transmissions are placed in first gear or reverse. Additionally, the engine should be turned off, the hazard lights turned on, and the appropriate supplies and tools gathered.

Changing the Tire

1) Remove the wheel covers (when necessary) and depending on the type of car you posses, you may need to unlock them, while others are simply popped off or unscrewed.

2) In regards to the lug nuts, they should be loosened, but not removed. Most lug nuts respond with a simple half turn counterclockwise.

3) Using your owner's manual, you should decide on the proper positioning of the jack, which will raise your car to the point that the tire barely touches the ground. The point is to take the weight off of the tire, but not make it completely lift off of the ground.

4) Rotating the lug wrench counterclockwise, you should remove each lug nut. Next, you will pull the flat tire towards you by placing your hand at the "3 o'clock" and "9 o'clock" positions of the tire.

5) Next, you will replace the flat tire with your spare, which is easily accomplished by aligning the holes in your spare tire with the bolts first, followed by firmly placing the spare onto the bolts.

6) The lug nuts are then replaced and slightly tightened. Once you lower your car back to the ground, you should finish tightening the lug nuts in a cross pattern.

7) After you are done changing the tire, put your tools back in their proper place and drive to the nearest service station as soon as possible to have your flat tire repaired and reinstalled (if applicable). You may also need to get your lug nuts tightened with a torque wrench to match the appropriate specifications for your car.

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