Flat Tire

A flat tire might seem like one of those tasks best left to the tow truck driver or the mechanic at the repair shop, but changing a flat tire is something anyone can do. While it is not an easy task it is one that you can accomplish usually with just the supplies that came with your vehicle. Here you will learn how to properly change a flat tire but first you must learn the basics of caring for your main tires as well as your spare tire.

A flat tire can be easily avoided by properly maintaining your tires. Simply by routinely checking and adjusting the tire pressure of your tires, including the spare tire, you can extend the life of the tire and reduce the risk of getting a flat or even blow-out while driving.

Tire Pressure:

Maintaining proper pressure in your tires is one of the more simple preventative maintenance procedures.Tire Gauge By maintaining proper pressure you not only extend the life of your tires and reduce the risk of getting a flat but you can also increase your fuel mileage. You can check the pressure of the tire by using a tire gauge found in almost any store, including most gas stations. Gas stations equipped with a station to put air in tires usually have pressure gauges attached. Proper pressure differs among different types of vehicles and different types of tires. To ensure your tires are properly inflated consult your owner's manual which will guide you to proper inflation. When checking your tire pressure be sure to compensate for outside temperature as this can effect the reading. If your vehicle has recently been moved for a distance of one mile or further wait three hours for the tires to cool off to ensure an accurate reading. If you do not have the time to wait for the tires to cool, it is generally said that when hot, the tire pressure will read around five pounds per square inch (psi) higher then what it actually is.

Supplies

Supplies All vehicles come with the proper equipment to change a flat tire. You should become familiar with each piece of equipment prior to getting a flat tire so you can change the tire safely and with ease. The necessary equipment needed to change a flat is a jack, tire iron and wheel blocks.

These tools are located in your vehicles trunk along with the spare tire. The tools may be in compartments along the side of the trunk and the spare tire is usually located under the trunk floor. Some vehicles, such as SUVs and trucks have the spare tire on the undercarriage and it must be lowered.

As you prepare to change the damaged tire you should locate all the tools and spare tire and lay them out next to the vehicle.

Step 1

Step 1First you want to make sure your vehicle’s emergency brake is engaged and the gear set to park. Next you want to locate the jack placement nearest the damaged tire and place the jack there. Before raising the vehicle loosen each lug nut slightly, making sure not to loosen too much, so that it will be easier to remove the lug nut once the vehicle is raised.

Some newer vehicles have wheel locks. A wheel lock is a special lug nut that cannot be removed using a standard tire iron. Vehicles with wheel locks will have a ‘key’ along with the tire iron so that only the owner or other authorized persons may remove the wheel. To remove the wheel lock simply attach the ‘key’ to the tire iron and then loosen the wheel lock.

Step 2

Step 2Raising the vehicle is a relatively easy task. It is imperative that the jack is placed in the correct location or you can seriously damage your vehicle. By referencing the owner’s manual you will be able to locate the jack placement. Before raising the vehicle place the wheel blocks around the wheel diagonal to the one being change, this will ensure the vehicle does not move while raised up. After placing the jack begin turning to raise the vehicle so that the damaged tire can be removed.

When raising the vehicle make sure to raise it enough so that not only the damaged tire can be removed but the spare tire can be installed. It is important to make sure the jack is not disturbed while the vehicle is raised so that no damage is caused.

Step 3

Step 3After raising the vehicle use the tire iron to loosen the lug nuts removing them from the vehicle. Make sure to place the lug nuts in a safe location, a plastic bag or inside the vehicle. If any lug nuts are lost during the process do not drive the vehicle and call a tow service. After removing the lug nuts remove the damaged tire by simply pulling the wheel towards you.

The damaged wheel can be placed in the truck where the spare tire usually is. While the damaged wheel is most likely larger then the spare it won’t fit perfectly but it is only temporary. While the vehicle is raised and the wheel removed do not bump the vehicle or enter or exit the vehicle as it may become unstable and slip off the jack.

Step 4

Step 4After removing the damaged tire and placing it in the trunk of your vehicle next you want to place the spare tire on the vehicle. After the tire is on replace the lug nuts and tighten them using the tire iron. It is important to tighten the lug nuts in a clock wise rotation skipping every other lug nut, continue in this pattern until all lug nuts have been tightened. Tightening in this rotation ensure that the tire is evenly situated and will not come loose while driving.

After tightening the lug nuts lower the vehicle and remove the jack placing it back in its compartment. At this point it is still not safe to remove the wheel blocks as the spare tire still needs further tightening.

Step 5

Step 5When the vehicle is lowered and sitting on all four tires then tighten the lug nuts in the same rotation as before. Make sure all the lug nuts are secure. At this point the wheel blocks can be removed and placed back in their compartment. Now that the spare tire has successfully been installed it is safe to drive your vehicle.

It is important that you drive at a reduced speed, generally about 60 mph is recommended for a distance of no more then 50 miles.