Here’s How to Change Your Own Tire

Here's How to Change Your Own Tire

( – You’re cruising down the highway, a cool breeze in your hair, and then… a huge thump and your car starts shaking. Darn! A flat tire. You remember the quizzes back in driver’s education class, but that was well over 20 years ago! Problem is, you can’t remember the details, and you don’t have AAA. You’re in luck! Here’s your refresher course.

Pull Over and Find a Safe Location

The first thing you need to do after experiencing a flat tire is to get off the road to a secure location. Bridgestone Tires warns that failing to do so could result in injury to you and your vehicle. Try not to drive very far with a flat, it could damage the rims and lead to permanent damage. If you’re on a high-traffic spot with no way to get completely off the road, drive to the next safe location.

Be Sure These Items Are in the Trunk

If you’re experiencing a flat tire away from home, you’ll want these tools and items in your trunk. If you don’t have them now, be prepared from here on out. This is what you’ll need:

  • Spare tire (donut)
  • Lug wrench
  • Owner’s manual
  • Jack
  • 2”x6” wood piece
  • Wheel wedges

Having all of these items accessible and in good working order can help make the job go smoothly.

Get Prepped

Once the vehicle is secure, it’s time to remove the bad tire, install the donut and get back on the road. Take these steps:

  • Turn on hazard lights and apply the parking brake.
  • Find your spare. According to Driving Tests, most are located under the trunk’s floor.
  • Place wheel wedges in the front if the bad tire is in the rear and vice versa for the back. (You can use a stone or a brick in a pinch.)
  • Remove hubcaps or wheel covers with a flathead screwdriver or the lug wrench.
  • Loosen lug nuts by forcing them counterclockwise until their resistance breaks. (Don’t remove them.)
  • Place a piece of wood under the jack, under the frame where the tire is flat. Metal side up. Raise the vehicle up at least six inches.
  • Remove lug nuts and proceed to take the tire off. Grip by the treads and pull toward you. Set aside and mount the spare tire on lug bolts.
  • Tighten lug nuts then lower the vehicle with the jack. Tighten lug nuts completely.

Now it’s time to replace the hubcap and put everything away.

Have the Tire Repaired or Replaced

Once you’re back on the road, be sure to drop the tire off at a repair shop or have a new one installed. From there, the technician can balance and rotate your tires and ensure there are no underlying issues.

Keep in mind that incorrectly inflated tires or bad struts are just a couple of issues that can cause tires to wear unevenly and go flat.

Changing your own tire doesn’t have to be complicated. Once you get the gist of how to do it, you’ll be a pro in no time. Before you know it, you’ll have your tire fixed and be off on your next adventure!

~Here’s to Your Success!

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