- Do It Yourself Auto Repair
How To Change A Flat Tire With Pictures
Flat tires suck! And they can happen anywhere, so make sure you are prepared!
Your vehicle should be equipped with; a spare tire, a jack, and a tire iron. Make sure that you have all of this equipment in your vehicle. Also be sure that the spare tire has air, the jack works and is an acceptable size(weight limit), and that the tire iron fits your vehicles lug nuts. Carry all of these items at all times.
If you find yourself with a flat tire do not panic. You should slow the vehicle and pull over to the closest side of the road, but do not just stop wherever you are. You can drive safely on a flat tire to a suitable stopping point, don't stop anywhere that will put you in extreme danger. Drive at a slow pace, avoiding any pot holes or large bumps, until you reach a large, open, and safe area. If you drive slowly and carefully you will not cause damage to your vehicle.
Pull as far off the main road as possible, but keep in mind that you will need a solid platform(concrete, metal, etc.) to lift the vehicle. Don't stop any the grass or dirt as your jack may sink when trying to lift the vehicle.
Placing The Jack
There are different types of jacks that you may have, most jacks either pump(up and down) to lift or turn(rotate a handle) to lift. You will need a solid ground, such as concrete. To place the jack under the vehicle you need to find a strong metal area that is near the tire that you are replacing.
You should place the jack directly behind the tire to be replaced. The jack needs to be placed on a strong metal support. Be sure that the jack can not slip out from under the vehicle. You can test this by jacking the jack up until it touches the vehicle, but not lifting the vehicle, then gently push and pull the jack to make sure it can not slip.
Where To Place The Jack
Loosening The Lug Nuts
Now while you still have the jack just touching the frame and the vehicle is still on the ground, retrieve your tire iron and loosen all of the lug nuts on that tire. You should only loosen the lug nuts at this time, do not remove the lug nuts yet.
At this time you should also retrieve the spare tire. On trucks the spare is generally kept under the bed. SUVs usually have a spare in the back storage area. Most small cars have the spare in the trunk. Place the spare on the ground near the flat tire.
Jack It Up
Now that you have loosened the lug nuts, you can begin lifting the vehicle. Jack the vehicle up at a slow pace until the tire is completely off the ground about 2 to 3 inches. Using the tire iron you may now fully remove the lug nuts.
Pull the flat tire carefully off of the raised vehicle and immediately replace it with the spare tire. Replace the lug nuts and tighten as tight as you can. Note that the tire will spin when you try to tighten the lug nuts so you will not be able to tighten them all the way yet.
Lowering The Vehicle
After you have replaced all lug nuts, you can slowly lower the vehicle onto the ground. To lower the jack, slowly turn the release counter-clock wise with the jacks handle.
Tighten The Lugs
Once the vehicle is on the ground you can tighten the lug nuts. Using the tire iron tighten the lug nuts as tight as you can in a circular(clockwise) motion. Be sure that all lug nuts are nice and tight.
You can now remove the jack from under the vehicle. Restore the jack and tire iron to their places and place the flat tire in the vehicle.
Congratulations, you have successfully replaced a flat tire!