A Step-By-Step Guide to Change a Tire
Flat tires. Nobody likes them, and nobody ever wants to have to deal with one, but the truth is they can happen at virtually any time. All it takes is something like an unaccounted for nail or even a sharp turn against a curb and suddenly you’re finding yourself on the side of the road.
Most vehicles include a small spare tire which can be used in emergency situations. However, it doesn’t do you much good if you don’t know how to put it on. If you’re stuck on the side of the road and wondering what to do, here’s a step-by-step guide to how to change a tire.
Move to a Safe Place
If you’re on a busy highway or road, the last thing you want to do is be working on your car close to vehicles moving at highway speeds. If you experience a flat tire, turn on your hazard lights to signal an issue, gradually slow down to a slow speed, and gently pull your car as far over to the shoulder as you can. You should have at least six feet of space between your driver door and the farthest right lane, but more is always better.
Jack Up the Car
Your car almost certainly includes an emergency jack that can be used to lift the affected wheel off the ground so you can remove the tire. This can be located in a few different spots, but is almost always found toward the rear of the vehicle. Consult your owner’s manual to learn exactly where it is on your car. If you don’t keep your owner’s manual with your car at all times, look it up and make sure you memorize where it is.
Next, you’ll need to locate a point on the frame of your car that’s strong enough to support the weight of your vehicle as you jack it up. Expand the jack until it’s just shorter than the distance between the ground and your lifting point, make sure the jack itself is stable, and then slowly crank the jack further to lift your car upward. Do this until your tire is a good two to three inches off the ground.
One bit of advice, and this is extremely important: do not lean against your car in any way while it’s up on a jack stand. These stands are not the most stable, and the last thing you want to do is accidentally knock your car off the stand before you’ve replaced the wheel.
** Pro Tip: Loosen but don’t remove the lug nuts before lifting the car up. We recommend this because loosening your lug nuts can require a lot of force, which can be daunting when your car is jacked up.
Remove the Lug Nuts
Your wheel is held on by a series of lug nuts, usually either five or six of them. Removing them does take some muscle, as they’re usually attached by an air gun for added security. They will be tight. In your glove box or possibly also in the area where you found your jack, you’ll find a socket and lug wrench. Attach the socket to this wrench, place it over one of the lugs, and then begin to twist the lug in a counter-clockwise motion. Don’t be surprised if this is difficult. However, with enough force it will move.
One of your lugs may be different from the others, and have some sort of an odd design etched into it. This is a wheel lock, and is commonly found on vehicles which have alloy or otherwise expensive rims. They can’t be removed without the key lug, which is usually found in your glove box. The key only goes on to this lug in one way, so don’t be surprised if it’s a bit stubborn or finicky to get working.
Replace the Tire
Once the lugs have been removed, your wheel should come off easily. It may be a bit heavy, but lift up slightly and pull towards you and it should come right off. Place it in your trunk or the rear of your vehicle, as you won’t want to be driving on it again until the tire gets replaced. Next, take the spare tire and place it on the wheel hub. The lug nuts should perfectly match the spacing on the lugs themselves so this should be a seamless fit.
Then gather the lug nuts you removed and place them on the lugs to hold the wheel in place. Don’t tighten them yet; we’ll get to how to do that in a second. However, use your fingers to make sure they’re adequately tight. Do the same with the wheel lock lug nut as well.
Tighten the Spare
Now comes a tricky part: tightening your wheel. You’ll want to do this by tightening bolts one after the other, directly across from the one you just tightened. For five-lug wheels, this means going in a “star” formation. In other words (assuming one lug is pointing directly to the top of your car) you’ll go top, bottom-left, middle-right, middle-left, bottom-right. For six-lug wheels, start with one lug, get the one immediately across from it, then move one clockwise and do the same. After you go clockwise twice, you should have tightened all six lugs.
You want these lugs to be tight. This will take muscle. Get them as tight as you can.
Release Your Car
Now that you have your new tire on, you can drop your car back down to the ground. Slowly crank your jack stand the opposite direction so that it carefully lowers back down. Once it is fully sitting on its suspension again, you can collapse it fully. Put your lug wrench and jack away, and you’re done.
When you’re driving on a spare tire, drive carefully. Keep your speed at 60 miles per hour or lower, and do not drive on a spare tire for more than 50 miles unless you absolutely have to. When you can, bring your car to your local Christian Brothers Automotive to have your old tire replaced and re-installed to make your car safe again.
Call Christian Brothers Automotive at now and let us take care of your blown tire for you!
Posted by, Christian Brothers Automotive