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How to Change a Flat Tire

Updated on December 28, 2016

Changing a Flat Tire

When we moved house in October 2012 I had the misfortune of getting a burst tire which I had to replace as well as having to change the tire itself.

It was a flat tire but because the tire actually burst and went flat, I had to change the tire first before I could get a new one.

Find out how to change a flat tire and be on the road again.

It's a very good idea to keep a few tools in your motor vehicle, those necessary for changing a flat tire, especially if you travel long distance.

I've had to change flat tires at various times in my life, sometimes on a long distance journey; it's essential to keep an inflated spare tire in your vehicle, for when these mishaps occur.

Motor Vehicle Jacks

There are occasions when one has to change a flat tire; the less often you need to change a tire the better.

If you've had a flat tire at some time it was surely an inconvenience and must have caused frustraion.

So how does one change a flat tire? It's actually not that difficult if you have the right tools available and your vehicle is parked on a flat hard surface, like a road, except people use the road for driving on so you will have to put out some warning markers at the back and front of the vehicle on the road first.

My tire burst on the edge of a jagged tar road in a hole in the pavement but it was not far from where we moved to, so I was able to make it home first and change the tire there.

You've Got a Flat Tire, Now What?


Changing a Flat Tire

What you need for this job is an inflated spare tire, a motor vehicle jack, a wheel-spanner and possibly a piece of flat wood or other flat object to put under the jack if the ground is not a flat surface. Instead of using a wheel-spanner there are electric nut removers that one can purchase. If you have a sensitive skin like me, I recommend you wear a strong pair of gloves to protect your hands. You also need a bit of muscle strength to undo the nuts holding the wheel on, (using the wheel-spanner) or use the electric tool that garages use to undo nuts. However, you'll need to be near an electric power source to use this tool.

First, find the correct place or a suitable place on the underside of your motor vehicle to place the jack. (It must be placed close to the flat tire) There are different types of jacks, so whatever type you’re using, raise the jack to a height that it’s just ready to lift your vehicle up off the ground but no further. It must however be raised enough so that it’s firmly against the underside of your vehicle.

Next, remove the hubcap and nut-caps, then using the wheel-spanner, (or special electric nut removing tool) loosen the nuts on the bolts in an anti-clockwise direction, with the emphasis on ‘loosen’ and don’t remove them completely. This is done because you can do it more easily when the tire is still on the ground. When the tire is off the ground it rotates and thus it’s difficult to loosen bolts on a moving tire.

The surface I changed my burst tire on was fortunately a flat tar surface, which makes it easier when using a motor vehicle jack, which won’t topple over on a hard flat surface.

Working with Jacks, Nuts & Bolts

Now jack your vehicle up off the ground high enough so the wheel is not touching the ground (or tar surface). You've already loosened the nuts, now remove the nuts completely, and then remove the entire wheel from its mounting. I forgot to mention; don't go nuts when you get a flat tire, it can be fixed.

Then place your inflated spare tyre on the wheel mounting, allowing the bolts to go through the holes on the center of your wheel and screw the nuts back on using your hands: one hand to keep the wheel in place, or your knee or a friend or your wife, (I mean for them to hold the wheel in place) and the other hand to screw the nuts back on until they are just starting to get tight.

Now tighten the nuts with the wheel-spanner a bit more but not too tight. Then lower the motor vehicle jack so that the tyre touches the surface it was on but don't lower the jack completely. Now tighten the nuts more but not entirely, and then lower the jack completely so your vehicle sits normally with your changed tire on the surface it was on. Now tighten the nuts completely but don't strip them. (Not so tight that they damage the thread of the bolts).

That's basically it; you'll have to get your flat tire repaired at a garage though and it shouldn't cost much. Unfortunately my burst tire cost me quite a lot as I had to get a new tire because it was badly damaged. Changing a flat tire is not too difficult if you have the right tools available. It's also easier if you have somebody with you to help out.

Of course changing the actual tire itself can be done with various tools, but this is normally done by your local garage when you purchase a new tire; if you have a spare tire in your vehicle, it makes sense to put the entire wheel with the spare tire, on to the mounting where you had your flat tire.

If you feel you're not strong enough to change a flat tire, you may be fortunate enough to have Road Side Assistance Cover, whom you can call; they will come to your aid and change your tire for you.

Happy Motoring!

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    • Dave Lynch profile image

      David Edward Lynch 4 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      @TransplantedSoul: Thanks for your comment, a flat tire is not much fun, I'd rather call for help these days.

    • TransplantedSoul profile image

      TransplantedSoul 4 years ago

      I have had to do this once, but many years ago. I hope that it does not happen again (soon).