How to Safely Change a Flat Tire

By Kyle Loreti | December 20, 2017

There’s nothing worse than being on your way to work or an important event and realizing you’re driving on a flat tire. The true horror comes when you remember that you don’t know how to change a tire. If you have roadside assistance through an extended warranty provider like DriveSmart, you can give them a call and someone will be there to help you in a jiffy. But what if you don’t? Your brain is spinning in circles. What do you need? What do you do? Here are a few tips to make this stressful experience a little less traumatic.

Change a tire: Be prepared.
1. You can start by being prepared. Always keep these items in your car to change a tire with: a jack, lug wrench, fully inflated spare tire, vehicle owner’s manual, wheel wedges, and flashlight. As well as an emergency kit.
Change a tire: Safely pull over.
2. Once you realize that you have a flat tire, stay calm. Find a safe and sturdy place to pull over while staying clear of busy roadways.
Change a tire: Use wheel wedges.
3. Before you begin changing the flat, be sure to turn off your engine and apply the emergency brake. You should also place wheel wedges behind the wheels opposite of the side that’s being raised to keep your car from rolling.
Change a tire: Slightly loosen lug nuts.
4. Next, remove the wheel cover/hubcap by using the flat end of the jack or lug wrench. Use the lug wrench to slightly loosen the lug nuts (counter clockwise). Do NOT remove them yet.
Change a tire: Secure and use the jack.
5. Your owner’s manual should have instructions on where to secure the jack and how to use it. Crank it up until you have enough room to change the tire.
Change a tire: Remove the lug nuts.
6. You can now use the lug wrench to remove the nuts, making sure to place them somewhere you won’t lose them. Pull the tire towards you to remove it.
Change a tire: Align spare tire.
7. Align your spare tire with the wheel bolts and add the lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts (clockwise) enough to secure the tire, but not completely tightened.
Change a tire: Lower car and remove jack.
8. You can now slowly lower your car to the ground. Remove the jack and tighten the lug nuts as much as possible.
Change a tire: Get a new tire.
9. Congratulations – you’ve successfully changed a flat tire! Just remember that smaller spare tires should not be driven on for long distances, so be sure to get a new tire as soon as possible.