Don’t slow your roll: How to change a tire
Have you ever gotten a flat tire? It’s one of the worst feelings, when you’re sitting there in your car on the side of the road ‘spinning your wheels’ instead of getting to work, or worried about showing up late at some other event.
If you don’t have the time (or the patience) to sit and wait for help, we’ve got some information you can use! Today we’re sharing a basic step-by-step list with all the info you need on how to change your tire – not only so that you’re prepared in an emergency, but so that you don’t get too far behind the curve of your schedule.
Save and print out this list to keep in your glovebox, or share it with a friend who might need it in case of an unexpected pit stop. Here are the 10 basic steps to change a tire:
1) Don’t forget to carry a spare, the car jack, a lug wrench and the manual that came with your car – if you still have it. This goes without saying, but it’s amazing how many times people forget to have the right tools on hand. (You should also carry jumper cables, but that’s a topic for another time.)
2) Drive your car slowly to a flat stretch of road out of the way of traffic. These are both incredibly important first steps to make the upcoming job safer. Don’t go too far off the road, though. Driving on the rims is a bad practice, and you don’t want to get stuck.
3) Don’t forget to put on the parking break, your hazards, and set out emergency triangles if you have them.
4) Take off the hubcap first. (Your car manual will have directions for this. ) Use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts, but don’t take them off yet – you want the wheel to stay attached at this point. Turn the nuts counterclockwise to take them off.
5) Position the jack. You’ll want to lift the car about four inches off the ground by turning or pumping the jack handle. Important safety tip: NEVER put any part of your body under the car!
6) Remove the lug nuts and pull off the tire. You can put the lug nuts in the upturned hubcaps, so they don’t get lost.
7) Put on the spare tire. Screw on the lug nuts in a star pattern – NOT clockwise – to get the alignment right.
8) Use the jack to lower the car just enough to put the tire on the ground, then fully tighten the lug nuts.
9) Now you can fully lower the car and remove the jack. Tighten the nuts again. Put some muscle into it.
10) Go ahead and drive your car, but get to a mechanic as quickly afterward as possible. You don’t want to be driving around on your spare longer than absolutely necessary.
Final Pro-Tip: You should be keeping phone numbers for emergencies in your car – not just programmed into your phone. You’ll want the number for a towing company or service, and an emergency contact that can pick you up in a worst-case-scenario. Also, it doesn’t hurt to practice changing a tire ahead of any trouble. That way, you’ll have the confidence that you can do it if you ever have to!