Have you ever had to pull over to the side of the road because you had a flat tire, only to wait hours for someone to come help you? Wait no more! Anyone can change a tire, all it takes is preparation and a little effort. As long as your automobile is equipped with a spare tire, a wrench and a jack, you won’t have to wait the next time you get a flat tire. Instead, you’ll be able to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself.
1. Locate a flat, stable and safe place to change your tire. Make sure you are on a solid, level surface. If you have to stop on a highway, try to park as far away from traffic as possible.
2. Put your car in “Park” and apply the parking brake. It’s also a good idea to place a heavy object in front of the front tires and behind the back tires to keep it from rolling. A rock or piece of concrete will work well.
3. Take out the spare tire and the jack. Secure the jack under the metal frame near the tire that is about to be changed. There is usually a mark behind the front wheels or in front of the rear wheels that indicate where the jack should be placed. Read your owner’s manual if you are unsure where to put the jack.
4. Raise the jack until it’s supporting, but not yet lifting the car. Make sure the jack is firmly in place and that it is flat on the ground.
5.Remove the hub cap and loosen the lug nuts but do not take them all the way off. This can be done by turning the nuts counterclockwise. If you loosen the nuts while the wheel is still on the ground, it will ensure that you turn the nuts instead of the wheel. You can do this with a wrench or, better yet, a cross wrench. The nuts will be difficult to turn, so if you need to stomp on the wrench to break the nuts free, go right ahead, just make sure you’re turning it the right way.
6. Crank the jack in order to lift the tire off of the ground. Make sure that the car is stable and that the jack is lifting straight up. If there are any inconsistencies with this, lower the jack back down and fix the problem.
7. Remove the lug nuts completely. Make sure you are turning them counterclockwise.
8. Remove the tire. The tire might be stuck due to rust. If it is you can trying hitting the inside of the tire with a rubber mallet or you could hit the outside of the tire with the spare tire itself.
9. Put on the spare tire. Align the rim of the tire with the wheel bolts and then put the lug nuts back on.
10. Tighten the nuts by hand and then use a wrench to secure them the rest of the way. In order to keep the tire balanced, make sure each nut is equally tight by equally turning each one. Do not use too much force when turning, since the car is not yet stable on the ground.
11. Lower the car without applying all of the weight onto the tire. This will allow you to tighten the nuts a little more.
12. Lower the car completely to the ground and remove the jack. Finish tightening the lug nuts until they are completely secure and put the hub cap back on.
13. Place the flat tire in your trunk and bring it to Christian Brothers Automotive. We’ll give you an estimate of how much it will cost to repair the tire. If the tire cannot be repaired, we will dispose of it properly and provide you with a replacement.
We know having a flat tire is very inconvenient, but we hope that these 13 easy steps will help you next time you find yourself in this dreaded situation. Once you do change your tire, remember to go to your local Christian Brothers Automotive location because it’s not safe to drive on a spare tire for an extended period of time.