Got a flat tire? Not sure how to access the spare tire? I’m here to help; follow this quick picture guide to change a flat tire and get back on the road fast!
A few years back, I was driving through Mississippi on a clear, beautiful summer day – not too hot, sun shining, radio playing, enjoying life – when, BAM! I hit a chunk of concrete that was lying in the road. I should have been paying more attention to the road! Pretty soon the steering starts to shake and the car pulls to the right… Flat tire. I pulled over to assess the situation.
I was going to miss my appointment, but fortunately, it was the perfect day to change a flat tire! I’ve had a flat tire or a dead battery in weather much worse than that, so there’s that to be thankful for! So anyway, about one hour and two pit stains later, I was back on the road with the “donut” installed, and the flat tire in the trunk.
In honor of that event, this article walks through the steps for changing a flat tire.
What You’ll Need:
- car jack
- lug wrench
Changing a Tire – Step by Step
Before you start, make sure you are in a safe place before you start changing the flat tire. You should be on flat, solid ground. Use flares, triangle warning signs, or emergency flashers if necessary.
1. Set the Parking Brake
Set the parking brake by pulling the click lever between the 2 front seats, or press the small parking brake pedal to the far left of the brake pedal. If you can find a rock or block of wood, wedge that under one of the other wheels as well in order to keep the car from rolling.
2. Loosen the Lug Nuts
Before jacking up the car, you’ll want to loosen the lug nuts. Why? Because the weight of the car on the ground will help keep the wheel stationary while you are turning the lug nuts. If the car is jacked up, the wheel may turn while you are trying to loosen the nuts.
If your vehicle has hub caps that are covering the lug nuts, take the lug nut wrench (usually located in the trunk with the jack) and use the flat end to pry off the hub cap. If your vehicle has exposed lug nuts, you don’t have to remove the hub cap first.
Now use the lug nut wrench to loosen the lug nuts. Fit the wrench onto one of the nuts, and turn it counter-clockwise (lefty-loosey!). Don’t remove it fully, just break it loose. Repeat for all of the lug nuts. You will remove them after the vehicle is jacked up.
3. Jack up the Vehicle
With the lug nuts slightly loosened, locate the jack.
Position the jack between the notches in the frame of the car just ahead of, or behind, the tire.
Then use the crank to twist the knob and extend the scissor jack. Lift the car high enough that the wheel is an inch or so off the ground.
4. Remove the Flat Tire
Now use the lug nut wrench to remove the lug nuts all the way and set them someplace safe. Once they are all removed, pull the tire off of the studs.
Sometimes the tire is ‘rusted on.’ In this case, kick the tire to get it loose (don’t kick so hard you knock the car off the jack!).
5. Put on the Spare Tire
Now take the spare tire out of the trunk. If you can’t find the spare tire, consult the manual (some spare tires are located under the car, for those, locate a nut on the floor in the trunk, usually under the rug – loosen the nut with the lug nut wrench to lower the wheel to the ground).
Lift the spare tire onto the studs, and put on one of the top lug nuts to hold it in place. Then put on the remaining lug nuts. Don’t tighten them fully yet. We will do the reverse of what we did to take them off. Just tighten all the lug nuts until they are nice and snug. The spare tire should be tight; you shouldn’t be able to wiggle it by hand.
6. Remove the Jack
We’re now ready to lower the car. Use the crank to lower the scissor jack down. Watch the tire as it takes on the weight of the car. If anything comes loose, you can lift the car again.
Once the car is fully lowered, remove the jack and stow it.
7. Tighten Lug Nuts
Use the lug nut wrench to tighten the lug nuts as much as you can. Tighten them in a star pattern if possible, meaning tighten one nut, then do one on the opposite side. Keep tightening in this manner until all the lug nuts are tight.
After everything is stowed in the vehicle, including the flat tire, carefully drive the car to a shop to have the flat tire repaired. Bear in mind that many spare tires have a maximum speed, so check your owners manual to find out what the maximum speed you can drive on the spare tire is.
Thank you for reading this article! I appreciate you, and I hope you found this helpful!
Did you use this information in an emergency situation? Was it helpful? If so (when you are back to safety!) please let me know about it in the comments section at the bottom of the page!
In case you don’t already have them, the following items may be helpful for changing a tire: