How to Change a Flat Tire in 9 Easy Steps

Realizing you have a flat tire is incredibly frustrating. It’s also a little intimidating, especially if you’ve never changed a tire before. At Christian Brothers Automotive Springfield, we want to make sure you know how to handle the situation. Follow our 9 easy steps to changing a flat tire, and, as long as you have a spare tire, a wrench and a jack, you’ll be good to go!

1. Find a place to change your tire

It’s important to have your car parked on a flat, stable, safe surface. If you have to pull over on the highway, try to get as far away from traffic as possible. Never pull over in the median, always make your way to the shoulder. Once you’ve found a safe place to pull over, put your car in “park” and set the parking brake. If possible, place a heavy object or a wedge in front of the front tires and behind the back tires to keep the car from rolling. A rock or piece of concrete will work well.

2. Bring out the spare tire and jack

Near the tire that needs to be changed, there is a metal frame. Secure the jack here. On most cars, there will be a mark behind the front wheel or in front of the back wheel where the jack should be placed. If unsure, read your owner’s manual. It’s best to remove the spare tire first so the car is as light as possible. Crank the jack until it’s supporting, but not lifting the car.

3. Loosen lug nuts

If your car has a hub cap, remove it now. Then, turn the lug nuts counterclockwise until they are loose, but not off. Loosening the lug nuts while the tire is still on the ground ensures you are turning the nuts instead of the wheel. A cross wrench is best, but a standard wrench will also work. The nuts will be difficult to turn, so don’t be afraid to use your body weight to break the nuts free. Stomp if you need to – the car can take it!

4. Continue to crank the jack

Raise the car until the tire is off the ground. Go slowly to make sure the jack is lifting straight up and the car is stable. If the car seems unsteady, lower the jack and adjust its position. Once the tire is off the ground, remove the lug nuts completely.

5. Remove the tire

Caution: The tire will be heavy. If the tire is stuck on from rust, try hitting the inside with a rubber mallet. You can also hit the outside of the tire with the spare to get the old tire lose.

6. Put on the spare tire

Align the rim of the tire with the wheel bolts. Then, put the lug nuts back on. To keep the tire balanced, tighten them first by hand. Make sure each nut is tightened equally. Do not use too much force yet, as the tire is unstable until it’s back on the ground.

7. Lower the car until the tire rests on the ground

Do not fully lower the car until the lug nuts have been tightened completely. Once the tire is resting on the car, use the wrench to continue tightening the lug nuts.

8. Lower the car completely

Bring the car completely to the ground and finish tightening the lug nuts. Don’t be afraid to step on the wrench again to make sure the lug nuts are secure. Replace the hub cap if applicable. Remove the jack and put the old tire in your trunk.

9. Bring your car into Christian Brothers Automotive

At Christian Brothers Automotive in Springfield, we’ll give you an estimate on tire repair. We’ll then replace the spare with the repaired tire. If the tire was blown out or cannot be repaired, we’ll provide a replacement and properly dispose of the old tire.

We understand the inconvenience of a flat tire, but hope these 9 easy steps will help you navigate the situation. Just remember to have an auto repair shop replace the spare tire – it’s not safe to drive on a spare for an extended period of time. If your car gets a flat tire, call Christian Brothers Automotive in Springfield, MO for a repair or replacement today!