Changing tires is a necessary skill for every driver. You can’t avoid ever getting a flat tire, but knowing how to replace a flat yourself will help you avoid being stuck helplessly on the road. Replacing a tire isn’t difficult if you’re prepared. In this article, we’re giving you a step by step guide to put a spare tire on a car.
Step 1: Find a safe place to park your vehicle
If you realize that a tire on your car is flat, don’t speed up, turn, or brake abruptly. Once you’re in control of the vehicle, let it slow down on its own. Find a safe place on level ground, park your car there, put the transmission in “park” or “neutral”, apply the parking brake, and stop the engine. Never try to change tires on a public road, it’s extremely dangerous since an inattentive driver can hit you or crash into your car. Once you’ve found a safe spot, you can prepare all the necessary equipment. To get back on the road, you’ll need:
- a spare tire (usually stored in the trunk)
- a lug wrench
- wheel chocks
- a jack
- a pair of gloves
You can use a brick or a heavy stone instead of wheel chocks to prevent the car from rolling. Don’t forget to consult the vehicle’s owner manual to locate the eyelet for the jack under the car.
Step 2: Loosen the lug nuts
First, you’ll have to get ready with your wheel chocks. Put them under the front wheels if a rear tire is flat and vice versa. This will help prevent the vehicle from rolling. On modern cars, the wheel sits tight in its place because of a set of lug nuts located under the hubcap. Remove the hubcap or the wheel cover if any, and slightly loosen the lug nuts by turning them counterclockwise, but don’t remove them completely. This procedure requires physical effort, so you can apply the weight of your body to make it easier.
Step 3: Jack up the car and remove the flat tire
Follow the instructions in the driver’s manual to place the jack safely and correctly. Before lifting the car make sure the jack is stable. If it isn’t, secure it either in place with a brick, piece of wood, or anything else available. Don’t try to crawl under the vehicle when it’s lifted up by a single jack. Raise the vehicle and continue to unscrew the lug nuts until they’re completely off. Now you can gently pull the flat tire off and replace it with the spare. Put the flat tire on its side under the wheel hub. Mount the spare wheel, and hand tighten the lug nuts, making sure the spare tire is firmly in place.
Step 4: Lower the car and tighten the lug nuts
Lower the vehicle so the spare tire touches the ground, but the weight of the car isn’t fully placed on wheels. Tighten the lug nuts as much as you can. Lower the car completely, making sure the bolts are tightened completely with the lug wrench. Remove the jack and replace the hubcap.
Step 5: Don’t forget about regular car maintenance
Routine car maintenance definitely includes taking care of your tires. Check your tire pressure every month, before transporting heavy cargo, and before traveling long distances. This will prevent excessive wear and tear of the tires. Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual to keep the tires properly inflated. Make sure to prepare your car for summer and winter.
Keeping all of your car’s components in good shape not only keeps your car safe, but everybody on the road as well: including the tires. If you’re looking for a car to learn about car maintenance, you can find the perfect vehicle with Salvagebid: start your search with our Vehicle Finder. To place a bid, you’ll need to register with us, provide us with a copy of your government-issued ID or passport, and place a 100% refundable security deposit. You can fill in our online form and we’ll take it from there, or give us a call at + 1 (360) 347-1300 (6:00 AM – 3:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, Monday to Friday) with any questions. Our representatives will be glad to help.