Learning how to change your own flat tire is a valuable thing to learn how to do yourself and will save you time and money if it happens to you. No matter the age of your car the steps are basically the same and most anyone can do it themselves by following these steps. Read below on how to change a flat tire yourself!
Find a Safe and Level Parking Spot- Most importantly you need to make sure you’re approaching this process in a safe manner. We suggest turning your four-way flashers on and slowing the car down to a crawl and find a place where it is flat and as level as possible. A simple job like a flat tire can be quite dangerous if you aren’t on level ground. Also make sure your vehicle is far enough off the road if you need to change a tire on the drivers side of the car where traffic is closer. Once parked put your parking brake on and leave the car in gear if it has a manual transmission.
Find Spare Tire, Jack, and Tools- All vehicles are originally equipped with a spare tire, tools, and a jack. Most times these items are found in the trunk of the car under a mat, carpet, or false floor. Trucks and SUV’s tend to have the spare tire under the bed or hanging on a carrier on the back of the truck with the tools in a compartment in the back of the truck. Use your owners manual to locate these items if you’re having trouble finding them. We suggest getting the tools, jack, and spare tire out and next to where you want to work before you take anything apart.
Remove Flat Tire- Start by removing any hubcap or wheel cover off the wheel. Most lug wrenches have a wedge end that allows you to pry them off. Then break all of the lugs loose by turning the lugs to the left (lefty loosey-righty tighty). If you are having trouble with breaking them free you can try standing on the end of the lug wrench and using your body weight to break the lugs free. Once break loose you can put the wrench aside for now. DO NOT REMOVE THE LUGS COMPLETELY! All vehicles have ideal locations to jack them up at which are covered in your owners manuals. Smaller vehicles like passenger cars there are reinforced areas on the pinch welds under the doors where you can place the jack. These spare tire jacks usually have grooves in them to fit over the pinch weld and lock the jack in place. If you can find the proper location a best bet is to find a place on the suspension or frame that is sturdy to lift from. Wind the jack up (righty tighty lifts lefty loosey lowers). Make sure you jack the car up enough that there is at least 3-4″ of space between the bottom of the flat tire and the ground as a properly inflated tire is taller than the flat tire on the vehicle. Remove the lug nuts by hand now and slide the flat tire/wheel off the car.
Install Spare Tire- With the flat tire removed you can slide the spare over the lugs. Sometimes it helps to kneel down to have the lugs at closer to eye level so you can line them up with the holes in the wheel. Slide the wheel all the way into the car until it stops and thread each lug on by hand (righty tighty). Make sure the tapered or conical end of the lug nut goes in towards the wheel. Once you have the lug nuts firmly tightened by hand you can give them an additional tightening with the lug wrench. Then let the car down by spinning the jack handle left (lefty loosey). Once all of the weight is off the jack and the car is firmly on the ground use your body weight to tighten the lug nuts completely. You can use a foot to put your weight on the wrench or just your hands and your body weight.
Now that your spare tire is changed you can take your vehicle to a repair shop to have the flat tire replaced or repaired. If you want to learn how to change your own tire using an Eastwood Tire Machine you can watch the video below!