Changing a Flat Tire – What You Need to Know

A flat tire seems to be one of those things that always happen at the most inconvenient times, like when it’s raining or you’re late or you’re outside of cell-phone reception range and you can’t call AAA. But the truth is most motorists would be at a loss if they had to change flat tire on their own. We at PaydayLoansCashAdvance want you to be prepared for flat tire changing so we’ve found the safest and best advice on the topic.

Be Prepared

The best time to prepare for an emergency is before it happens. Flat tire changing is much less intimidating if you’re familiar with the process and have the correct tools. Make sure your vehicle is equipped with the following:

  • A car jack, complete with a handle or crank
  • Lug wrench
  • A properly inflated spare tire (check the pressure in yours every six months)
  • A hands-free flash light
  • Emergency warning devices such as hazard cones or flares

The flashlight and emergency warning devices are items you’ll need to supply yourself, but your car should have a jack, lug wrench and spare tire. If you can’t find them consult your owner’s manual. Some models tuck these items away neatly in “secret” compartments within the trunk. Make certain the jack’s handle fits correctly and that the lug wrench fits snugly around your wheel’s nuts. You’ll also find the instructions for using the jack in the owner’s manual. Read them now and locate the proper placement for the jack.

Flat Tire Changing Step by Step

  • Get off the road safely. Turn on your hazard lights as soon as you realize the tire is flat. Slow down and pull to the side of the road as quickly as possible. Driving on a flat is unsafe and will damage the tire’s rim. Look for a spot that’s level, firm and out of the way of traffic.
  • Turn off the engine and set the parking or emergency brake. If you drive an automatic transmission, place it in “park.” If you drive a stick, place it in “reverse.” Have the passengers get out of the car and stand in a safe place away from traffic.
  • Place one warning device approximately 100 steps in front of and in back of your car or follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Keep your eye on the traffic as you change flat tire and keep yourself safe.
  • Remove the hub cab from your wheel if there is one. Use the flat end of the wrench or jack handle to pry off the hub cap. Slightly loosen the lug nuts by placing the end of the wrench over the nut and turning counter clockwise. If the nuts are too snug push down on the wrench with your foot for extra leverage. Loosen each nut but don’t remove them yet.
  • Screw the handle onto your jack and follow the use instructions found in your owner’s manual. Placing the jack in the wrong spot can cause damage to the car’s chassis. Follow the instructions carefully. Do not place the jack under the car’s axle or suspension. Place a large rock or block of wood directly behind the tire that’s across from the flat to prevent the car from rolling. Raise the car approximately 1 inch, just enough to clear the ground. Do not climb under the suspended car for any reason.
  • Completely remove the lug nuts, and put them in a safe place so they don’t get lost. Remove the wheel by grasping it on both sides and pulling straight out until it clears the lug studs.
  • Roll the spare into position; make sure you have the side with the label facing you. Visually align the holes with the lug studs and lift the spare into place, fitting the holes over the studs. Replace the lug nuts following the specific sequence recommended in your owner’s manual.
  • Crank down the jack until it’s no longer holding any of the car’s weight. Remove it and the block under the adjacent tire. Tighten the lugs once more, following the proper sequence.

You’re done! Your flat tire changing skills have saved the day, and saved you a load of money by avoiding an emergency tow. Put your tools away, collect your warning devices and invite your passengers back into the car. Use caution as you reenter traffic. If your spare tire is smaller than a regular tire or not in the best condition, drive slowly to the nearest tire repair store and get your flat fixed right away.

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