How to Change a Flat Tire Safely and Quickly
Story by Eric Christensen
Follow these steps to change a flat tire on your car:
1) Stay calm and slowly decelerate. Find a flat, safe area to work where the flat tire is on the side of the car opposite the street, if possible.
2) Put your car in park, turn off the engine and engage the parking brake. Take a deep breath and relax.
3) Gather your spare tire, car jack and lug wrench. If unsure of their location, check your owner's manual.
4) Remove the hubcap if necessary. Turn lug wrench counterclockwise to loosen lug nuts using a star pattern (move to the lug nut across the tire from the one just loosened). If necessary, stomp on the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts. But don't remove the nuts.
5) Locate a small notch or mark to the inside of the wheel well, or find a metal portion of the car's frame to position the jack. Avoid plastic molding because the jack will crack it. Raise the car using the jack.
6) Remove the lug nuts, collecting them in the hubcap or in your pocket.
7) Remove the flat tire. If the tire is stuck, kick one side of the tire to loosen it.
8) Place the spare tire onto the hub.
9) Tighten the lug nuts by hand, once again using a star pattern. Do not fully tighten the lug nuts just yet.
10) Lower the car only until the tire can't spin. Use the lug wrench to completely tighten the lug nuts, once again using the star pattern. Replace the hubcap if necessary.
11) Fully lower the car. Remove the jack. Place it and the flat tire in your trunk.
12) Drive to a mechanic to repair or replace your tire. Avoid high speeds if you are driving on a "donut" spare tire.
Check your car now to be sure you have
everything you need, just in case.