If you’ve never had the experience of being stranded with a flat tire, you’re very fortunate. For most of us, flat tires are a reality of driving, and this type of unexpected inconvenience can disrupt an otherwise smoothly running day.
While many people subscribe to services and auto clubs that assist with flat tires while you relax by the side of the road, knowing how to take care of your own flat tire can save time and frustration when you’re in a hurry. This is just one of the standard DIY car maintenance tips that vehicle owners can do themselves to save money and time.
In today’s world, cars are designed so that tire changes are fairly simple for anyone to accomplish. The following information will prepare you for the next time you experience a flat.
How to Change a Flat Tire
The following step-by-step guide explains how to change a flat tire on the side of the road:
- Pull over: Find a safe, flat place to park your car where you are not in danger of being hit by passing traffic. A parking lot is ideal, but if you can’t find one close by, find an area with a wide shoulder and avoid parking on any turns where approaching cars can’t see you.
- Turn on the hazard lights.
- Loosen lug nuts. You will need your wrench. Turn the lug nuts to the left to loosen them, but do not fully remove them yet. You might have to remove a hubcap to get to the lug nuts. If the lug nuts are too tight, try using a rock to hit the arm of the wrench to get them moving.
- Jack up the car. Be sure to place the jack in the correct spot under your car frame, as explained in the car manual. You need the jack to lift your car securely without being in danger of tipping over. Lift the vehicle about six inches.
- Take the lug nuts completely off. Now you can remove the lug nuts that you previously loosened. Some people like to lay the lug nuts out on the ground in a star pattern, the same way that they look on the tire so they know they have all of them. Once the lugs are off, you can pull the wheel off the car. Pull it directly toward you and brace yourself to accept its weight.
- Put the spare tire on the car. Push the spare tire onto the car in place of the flat.
- Replace the lug nuts. Twist the lugs to the right, just enough to hold the spare in place. You’ll tighten them more in a minute.
- Lower the car. Using the jack handle slowly put the car back on the ground. Once the car is on all four wheels, remove the jack and put it back to its holding place.
- Tighten the lug nuts. This is important. Make sure all lug nuts are tightened as far as they will turn to be sure your spare is on the car safely. Be sure to tighten the lug nuts with the car on the ground. Start with one lug and tighten it about 50 percent before moving on to the lug opposite it. Once that one is tightened 50 percent, return to the first lug nut and tighten it all the way. Continue around the wheel until all lug nuts are 100 percent tightened. You probably don’t need to worry about putting too much pressure on the lugs when tightening them. Mechanics use a tool that is much stronger than the average person to install and uninstall them.
- Clean up your work area. Be sure to gather all of your tools and equipment and place them in the vehicle before getting back on the road.
What if my flat tire caused an accident?
If you’ve been in an accident and you feel it was due to a flat or faulty tire, Robert Levine and Associates can help. Call 800-LAW-1222 for a free consultation on a defective tire car accident claim or fill out our contact form.