4 Tips For Changing a Tire

Mar 3, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)

No matter how careful you are, you will probably get a flat tire at some point in your life. It's important to know exactly what to do when it's time to change one. You can always call roadside assistance if it comes with your vehicle or insurance, but knowing how to change the flat yourself can save you time and money. The following tips should help you the next time you have to change a flat tire on your car, no matter where you are.

Keep Supplies on Hand

Knowing how to change a flat isn’t going to do you any good if you don’t have the proper tools for the job at all times. You will obviously need a spare tire, but you also want to have a car jack and wrench. To make your life easier, you can buy all the items together as a kit and leave them in your trunk. If you want to be even more prepared, throw in a tarp, tire blocks, a tire gauge, gloves, and a flashlight.

Know the Basic Method

Before we get to specific tips that will make changing a flat easier, you need to understand the basic process. You start by using your wrench to loosen the lug nuts that attach the tire to the vehicle, without actually removing them. Once they are loose, use your car jack to lift the vehicle about 6 inches off the ground. Now you can finish removing the lug nuts and remove the tire. Put on the spare and replace the lug nuts without tightening them completely. Lower your car back to the ground and finish tightening the lug nuts.

Use Leverage

The problem with the basics is that is sounds like the changing your flat is always going to be easy. Sometimes, you will run into issues such as the lug nuts being too tight. When this happens, you can use leverage to your advantage to try to get your wrench to loosen them. Try standing on the arm of the wrench or even (carefully) using a rock to hit it like a hammer.

Find the Right Spot

It is worth noting that you shouldn’t just change a flat tire anywhere. In ideal circumstances, you should find a safe, level spot that minimizes the risk of cars colliding with you. If you can make it to the next exit on the freeway, for example, it can make life much easier. Try to avoid changing your tire on a curve since cars won’t be able to see you until they’re too close for comfort. Don’t forget to turn on your hazard lights and set the parking brake as well.

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