Changing a Flat Tire

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated February 17, 2012)

Of all the car repairs that a car owner needs to be aware of, then perhaps the single most important one is how to change a flat tire. For some reason, many new car owners believe that it is a task that is inordinately difficult to accomplish. In truth, it is perhaps one of the easiest tasks that a driver can perform. To make sure that you do it the right way, simply follow these simple directions. Be aware that this task will get your hands dirty, and quite possibly your clothing as well.

  1. Identify the flat. It may sound rather silly, but the first thing that you will need to do is identify where the flat is. In some vehicles this can be a little more difficult than in others, so you may need to do some hands on work to be able to do this. If the tire feels particularly squishy (or has a hole) then it is the flat.
  2. Break the tension. Use the cars tire iron, and loosen up the lug nuts on the vehicle. Be careful that you do not completely remove the nuts at this point in time though. The extra weight of the car will help hold the wheel in place while you turn the tire iron and allow you to give some extra torque to your turns.
  3. Jack up the car. Before you begin to jack up the car, make sure that you either put the car into park or that it is in gear. This will help prevent the car from rolling away and shifting on you as you jack the car up. Locate the jack point for the car, and place the jack underneath it. Raise the car up until you have about two inches of free space underneath the tire.
  4. Remove the tire. Continue to remove the lug nuts from the wheel. As you remove the lug nuts set them aside in one location so you do not lose them. Once you have the lug nuts off, you can actually remove the damaged tire itself, and set it off to the side.
  5. Replace the tire. Take your spare tire, and align the holes on the rim with the posts on the wheel. Place the tire onto the posts, and push it back as far as you can.
  6. Tighten up the bolts. Begin replacing the lug nut bolts onto the nut posts. Tighten them by hand as much as you can, and then stop.
  7. Lower the tire. After you have hand tightened the lug nuts, lower the car until it completely rests on the ground. Do this slowly and carefully, since you do not want to risk damaging the wheel that the tire is attached to.
  8. Retighten the bolts. Tighten the bolts on the wheel again. However, this time you will want to do it in a specific pattern. Always tighten the next bolt that is directly across from the one that you just finished. By the time that you are finished, you should have tightened them on in an almost star pattern.
  9. Inspect the rest of the tires. Before you begin to put away all the tools that you just used, take the time to inspect the rest of your tires. Check to see that there is still a decent amount of wear left on the tread, and that they do not appear to be too damaged in any way. If you notice any excessive damage, then take the car into a tire shop to get them replaced as soon as you can.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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