There’s nothing worse than hearing the unmistakable sound of your tire popping. That “popppffshhh” means you need to slow down, pull off the road, and put the spare on until you can make it to a service center. Safety first!
Turn your hazard lights on. Put your car in park and set the parking brake before getting started.
If possible, wedge a stick or piece of wood in front and behind the opposite tire to stop the car from rolling. Make sure you’re out of the way of traffic and not in danger of being hit. Then, follow these 5 simple steps to change your tire.
Step 1: Gather Your Tools
Most car manufacturers store the essential tools you’ll need under the floor of the trunk. You should see: a spare tire, a diamond jack, and a tire iron. If you’re not sure where to find it, check your car’s glove compartment for information.
Step 2: Jack Your Car Up Off The Ground
Place the jack under the frame of your car, in the notch where it fits. Twist the attached lever clockwise to extend it. Other models use the tire iron as the turning mechanism. Find where the iron attaches and turn. Raise your car high enough to keep a small portion of the tire on the ground so you have enough traction to tug against when you loosen the lugs.
Step 3: Loosen The Lug Nuts
Remove the hubcap to access the lug nuts. Place the tire iron on one of the nuts and leverage your body weight loosen it. Be careful not to strip the lug nuts off their tread.
Step 4: Change The Tire
Unscrew the loosened lugs nuts with your hands, the pull the flat tire straight out. Align the new tire so that the holes match up with the bolts on the car. You might need to raise the jack slightly to pull the damaged tire off. Push the spare tire straight on. Tighten the lug nuts with your hands, then lower the car down just enough so a small portion of the tire is resting on the ground.
Step 5: Tighten the Lug Nuts & Get Back On The Road
Once the tire is resting slightly on the ground, tighten the lug nuts in a diagonal pattern to prevent the wheel from wobbling. After you tighten the first nut, tighten the one diagonally across from it, continuing until all are secure. Now you can lower the car all the way to the ground and remove and store the jack and the object used to keep the car from rolling. You’re ready to hit the road again!
The spare tire is only a temporary fix.
Head to a mechanic for a permanent replacement as soon as you can.