We had no idea how many people do NOT know how to put their spare tire on if the regular tire goes flat – until one of our technicians performed this task, all for stranded people, all on the side of the road, 4 times in 5 days! Changing a tire is actually a simple procedure. You can also consult your vehicles owners manual. Many times the information will be in there as well. The most important things to remember are safety and keeping your cool. You can do this!
First things first. Be sure you’re prepared for this unfortunate event before it happens! Make sure your spare is in good shape and properly inflated. Check in the trunk to make sure you have the proper tools for the job – the vehicles jack and lug wrench. While you’re in the trunk, make sure it’s not filled with tons of stuff so you can actually get to the spare and the tools!
If a flat tire needs to be changed, park your car on a flat surface. If a blowout happens while you’re on the road, pull your car as far away from traffic as possible. Make sure to put on the emergency brake. It’s also recommended to put a block on the tire opposite of the flat tire. Here’s a blocking example: if your right rear tire is flat, put the block on the front left tire. Next, remove the hubcap, if your car has one. Use the hubcap to hold the lug nuts.
Third, use your lug wrench and place it on the flat tire’s lug nuts. Loosen them up by turning them counterclockwise. The nuts are probably on there pretty tight, so you’ll have to use some muscle to unscrew them. Loosen the nuts a few turns, but don’t take any of them off yet! Then, place the jack underneath your car. Check your owner’s manual for the correct placement of the jack. Turn the hand crank at the end of the jack to raise the jack until it comes into contact with your car’s frame. Make sure it’s touching a sturdy spot.
Jack it up! Start cranking the jack until the wheel is high enough above the ground to remove the tire. You can remove the lug nuts from the wheel. You should be able to do it by hand because you’ve already loosened them. Once the flat tire is off the vehicle, lay it flat. You don’t want the wheel to roll into traffic!
Take your spare tire and line up the lugs, or bolts, with the holes in the wheel and slide the wheel on. Once the wheel is on, take your lug nuts and tighten them by hand until you meet firm resistance. Now you can then lower the car. Keep lowering the jack until the wheel is firmly on the ground. Finish tightening your lug nuts. They must be on good and tight so the wheel doesn’t come flying off while driving to the tire shop to get the flat fixed. As far as tightening them, use these patterns:
- For 5 bolts, use a star pattern,
- For 4 bolts, use a clock pattern (10 o’clock, 4 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 8 o’clock)