Imagine driving you car down a rural road on your way home from work. Your favorite song is blaring on the radio, and you finally feel a sense of ease from a busy day. At your favorite part of the song, you hear a loud pop, then the slow roll of a popped tire as you cruise to the median. First, you make sure that you’ve steered clear of any hazards. Then, you realize that your front left tire has become a disheveled piece of rubber. Hands on your hips, foot tapping the ground, you take a long sigh, but not one of relief, one of frustration. Darn! A flat tire.
Now, if you own a vehicle with run-flat tires or a low tire pressure warning system, you most likely won’t have to deal with these frustrations, if you don’t own those options, you’re in luck. We’ve got a step-by-step guide to helping you change that tire.
1. Get your tools – find your car’s spare tire, jack and tire iron. The spare is usually in the trunk under the floor mat, or in a minivan mounted on the back of the tailgate or underneath the vehicle.
2. Check air pressure- if you have an air pressure gauge check the tire’s pressure on the spare, hopefully it should be fine.
3. Remove flat tire- MAKE SURE CAR IS IN GEAR OR PARK, and that the emergency break is set. Also, make sure your car is on a flat surface.
4. Use the tire iron- (the L shaped bar that fits over the wheel lugs) to loosen each lug. They are usually very tight, so use a little force, they should loosen after a couple tries. Leave the lugs loose and move the jack under the car (shown on directions of jack). Raise the jack until it contacts the car’s frame. Continue to expand it.
5. Once the tire is completely raised off the ground, remove the wheel lugs completely.
6. Take the spare tire and line it up over the wheel studs, you’ll have to hold up the tire and try to line up the holes in the wheel. One tip is to balance the tire on your foot while you move it into position. Once done, the lugs should screw on easily. Once each of them is snug and you can't tighten them any further by hand, use the tire iron to finish the job.
7. Lower the jack- carefully, and then pull the jack away from the vehicle. Once the spare tire is on, carefully lower the jack. Pull the jack away from the vehicle. The final step is to tighten down the lugs completely. The reason you tighten the lugs now is that the tire is on the ground and it won't rotate around like it would if it was still hanging in the air.
Congrats, you’ve just changed a flat tire!!