Have you ever been driving along and suddenly, your tire goes flat? It’s happened to all of us at one point or another. But don’t worry, changing a flat tire is easier than you might think. With this step-by-step guide, you’ll be back on the road in no time!
The first step is to find a safe place to park your car. If you’re on the side of the road, make sure to pull as far off as possible so that other drivers can see you and won’t run into you. Once you’re parked, put your hazard lights on so that everyone knows to use caution. If you have a reflective vest or triangles, set them up behind and in front of your car so that people will know to be careful.
If you’re not on the side of the road, find a level spot where you can safely jack up your car. Once again, make sure to put your hazard lights on. If possible, find a spot where there’s plenty of light so that you can see what you’re doing.
Before you do anything else, you need to loosen the lug nuts on your flat tire. If they’re too tight for you to loosen by hand, that’s okay—you can use the lug wrench to help. Just remember that you’ll need to re-tighten them by hand later, so don’t make them too loose!
Pro tip: While loosening the lug nuts, place the end of the wrench over the top of each nut and push down with your foot while pulling up on the wrench handle. This will give you more leverage and make it easier to loosen them.
After the lug nuts are loose, it’s time to jack up your car so that you can remove the flat tire and replace it with your spare. Find the appropriate location for your jack—consult your owner’s manual if needed—and then place it underneath your car. Slowly start cranking the jack until your car is high enough off the ground that you can remove the flat tire. Pro tip: Once the flat tire is off, place one or two large rocks or pieces of wood behind an opposite wheel for extra stability before lowering your car back down onto all four tires again.
Now that your car is safely jacked up, go ahead and remove the flat tire by unscrewing all of the lug nuts (which should still be loosened from earlier). Be careful as you remove it—flat tires are heavy! Once it’s off, line up your spare tire with the empty space and screw on all of the lug nuts until they’re tight. You may need to use the lug wrench for this as well—just remember not to make them too tight or else you won’t be able to remove them later!
Once your spare tire is securely in place, slowly lower your car back down until all four tires are touching the ground again. Then, go ahead and re-tighten all of those lug nuts as much as possible by hand—you don’t want them coming loose while you’re driving!
And that’s it! You’ve successfully changed a flat tire and now you’re ready to hit the road again. Just remember to check your spare periodically (at least once a month) and inflate it as needed so that it will be ready when you need it most. With this guide handy, flats are no problem!