There is nothing as devastating as having a flat tire when you are about to embark on a journey that you have been anticipating and looking forward to for a long time. Really, there is no good time to get a flat. Here are some tips on changing your flat tire safely and effectively.
NOTE: It is advised that you watch a YouTube video about how to change the tire by model and year. Also consult your user manual or dealership. You could seriously damage your vehicle and hurt yourself if you place the jack in the wrong place or do not follow the exact procedures for YOUR specific vehicle! Newer vehicles also require you to set your car in “tire jack mode”.
Here are items that you need to change a flat tire:
1. Jack: This is an essential tool that is a must for you to have when you want to change a tire. There are two types of jacks that are available. These are floor jacks and bottle jacks. The floor jack is rolled under the vehicle and with just a few quick pumps, the vehicle can be lifted. The bottle jack resembles a bottle and it is faster than a floor jack.
2. Lug wrenches: Most cars are equipped with lug wrenches that are the correct size for your car’s lug nuts. This is a piece of equipment that is used to open the nuts so that you can remove the tire from the vehicle and easily replace it with another.
3. Fully inflated spare tires: This is an obvious point that you should consider because it is basically what you need to replace the existing tire. It is essential to have the spare tire ready before taking off the existing one to get the situation remedied as quickly as possible.
4. Manual to your Car: Having your manual ready is great when you want to change a car tire. You might be in the know on how to change a tire with one car, but you must remember that not all cars are the same. That’s why the manual is there to ensure your familiarity with the car.
Apart from all these essential pieces of equipment, there are some other tools that do not come with the vehicle but are also needed during a tire change. Here are some of them:
- Flashlight with working batteries. This is to help you if you get a flat tire at night or somewhere dark.
- A rain poncho. This is also needed so that you won’t be rained on in case there is a downpour.
- It’s great to have a pair of gloves to ensure that you keep your hands clean when working on the car.
- A 2×6 cut of wood is recommended so that the jack can be secured to the ground easily.
Steps to be followed when changing a flat tire:
Once you have all these items then you are ready to change the tire. Here are some steps to follow:
- It is ideal that you get somewhere you are safe when you realize that you have a flat tire. A parking lot is an ideal place to change your tire out if you find that you have one while on the road.
- If you need to pull over while driving, turn on hazard lights. This is to ensure that other drivers see you and can avoid an accident.
- Once you have stopped you are required to turn on parking brakes to minimize the chances of your car rolling over the road.
- Apply the wheel wedges to reduce any chances of the car from rolling. If you are changing the rear tire, put the wedge just ahead of the car’s front tires. If you are changing the front tire, then put the wedge behind car to rest against the rear tires. Don’t take any chances.
- After you have secured the wheels, then you are required to remove the wheel cover if it has one. If it does not have one, then you can proceed to step six.
- Once you have removed the wheel cover, you are required to loosen the nuts using a wrench. It is okay to use a bit of force but do not remove the lug nuts – just loosen them.
- Place the jack under the vehicle. The place under the car is specifically for that function and will get you on your way to changing the tire.
- Place a piece of wood under the jack so that it can be stable and provides balance when needed. Raise the vehicle using the jack once you have secured it in the right place.
- When you reach this point, you are ready to change the lug nuts out all the way. Since you have already unscrewed them, then you are able to remove them by hand and more easily.
- After you have unscrewed the lug nuts, remove the flat tire gently towards your direction. It is recommendable that you place the tire on its side so that you can avoid it from rolling away.
- Take your spare tire and gently put the tire in the hub. Ensure that it correctly interjects with the bolt show.
- Take the lug nuts that you unscrewed and tighten them by hand. You are going to tighten them with the wrench once you have lowered the car from the jack. Check all the bolts to ensure that they are fit.
- From this point, lower the vehicle and tighten the lug nuts again. The weight of the car should not fully rest on the tire yet. Tighten the nuts as much as you can, even if it means using your body weight to do so.
- Once you are sure that the tires are safely tight, then you can lower the tires completely.
- Replace the hubcap. If the hubcap fits the tire that you have replaced, then secure it in place. Otherwise, it may be necessary to get a new one.
- After you have done all these tasks, do not forget to stow your tools in the car before driving away. Check the air pressure in your spare to ensure that it’s okay.
- It is advisable that you take the flat tire to a technician once you have driven off, so that you be on the safe side.
Getting a flat tire may seem like the worst thing ever. But if you can follow the tips and suggestions we have presented here, there is a good chance that your tire can be changed easily. Staying safe and taking it slow will help you get the best results. Don’t rush or be afraid to consult a professional if you are unsure about any of the steps. As a member of AAA you may be entitled to assistance for this process. If you need help with what tools to purchase, visit a store that sells auto parts and related tools.
Once you have observed all these tips and replaced the flat tire, you will be able to safely drive your vehicle for quite some time. Checking tire pressure frequently is a good way to ensure you prevent dealing with a flat on the road.
By following these safe strategies, you will take the least amount of risk when fixing your car. Always ensure that you keep the vehicle in good condition so that you can avoid a flat tire situation beforehand.