Useful Car Tips

How to Change Your Tire: A Step-by-Step Guide

August 09, 2018
No matter how it happens, it always occurs at just the exact wrong moment. There’s no mistaking the bumbling up-and-down, side-to-side wobbling motion that tells you one of your car’s tire is flat. It’s true that a lot of people invest in roadside assistance to take care of problems just like this. After all, isn’t it easier to call someone? If you’re a true DIY-er, we’ve got you covered. Changing a tire isn’t as hard as it may seem, and after a few practice runs, you’ll probably be able to change out your flat and be back on the road by the time the tow truck shows up.

Changing your Tire in 4 Simple Steps

The process of changing a tire consists of 4 main steps: jacking your car up into the air, removing the flat tire, mounting the spare tire, and lowering your car to the ground. Now, unless you’re a pit crew member at NASCAR, it’s a lot easier said than done. Let’s go through those steps one by one.

Step 1: Jack your Car Up

Nearly every car on the road is equipped with a jack. Usually they’re stored in the trunk of the car, so be sure you know where your jack is. After you’ve retrieved the jack, you’ll want to place it underneath a sturdy holding spot on the bottom-side of your car. Usually there is a mounting point directly behind the front wheels, or directly forward of your rear wheels. Remember, the entire weight of your car will be poised on this point, so choose wisely.

Step 2: Removing the Flat Tire

After your car is lifted up in the air, retrieve the tire iron that should match your wheel’s lug nuts. Working in a star pattern, loosen each lug nut until the wheel begins to slump. When all lug nuts have been loosened sufficiently, remove them and carefully stow them where they won’t get lost. Lift the tire off the wheel studs and place nearby on the ground.

Step 3: Mounting the Spare Tire

Putting your spare tire on is simply a reverse process of what you’ve just done. Aligning the bolt holes is perhaps the hardest task in this part of the process, but once you’ve achieved it, tighten a lug nut onto the top stud until it will hold the weight of the spare. Then, working in a star pattern again, tighten the lug nuts by hand. You might need to reposition the spare to allow it to adhere to the back of the hub assembly.

Step 4: Lowering your Vehicle

After you’ve tightened the lug nuts as tight as you possibly can, gently—repeat: gently—lower the car off the jack. Be careful to never place your body underneath the weight of the car, and watch the car’s motion as you lower it to a resting position. When the jack is free from the car’s weight, simply remove it and stow it back in your trunk for its next use. Now, tighten the lug nuts again, this time placing your weight on the tire iron. If there is a nearby tire store, carefully drive over and ask them to inspect your handiwork. Mention you completed the work yourself and they might be so impressed that they’ll offer to sell you a replacement. Changing your own tire is a simple 4-step process that requires little in the way of auto know-how. Practice yourself or with your children and feel confident in knowing you can conquer any flat tire.
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