10 Steps to Change a Flat Tire
If you don’t know how to change a tire, getting a flat can be a nightmare. Depending on where you are, how much traffic is flying by, and whether or not you have a roadside assistance package it can be a very stressful experience.
Like parallel parking, and knowing which streets in Downtown Victoria are one-way, changing a flat tire is a handy and necessary skill for all drivers.
10 Steps to Change a Flat Tire:
- First, think safety. Yours and others’. Find a relatively flat area of the road and pull over. Turn your engine off, engage your emergency brake, and switch on your hazard lights.
- Assess the damage. If your tire is slashed, or worse, non-existent, you’re pretty much stuck and should call a friend or tow truck. But if you’ve just run over a nail and are losing air slowly, you might be able to get by with driving to the nearest automotive repair shop.
- If your tire is completely flat, it’s time to roll up your sleeves. Locate your essential equipment. You’ll need a car jack, a wrench, a spare tire and some elbow grease. Your car’s owner manual (usually in the glove box) can help you locate your tools (minus the elbow grease).
- Before raising the car with the jack, snap off the hubcap and loosen all the lug nuts slightly with the wrench. It’s best to do this while the vehicle is still securely on the ground so your wheel isn’t spinning around as you loosen the lug nuts.
- Jack the vehicle up about six inches, remove the lug nuts, and pull the old tire off of the wheel base. If tugging on the old tire isn’t enough to remove it (sometimes alloys are seized onto the hub), just give it a swift kick to loosen it. Place the flat tire underneath your vehicle beside the jack, so if the jack gives way, your wheel will catch your vehicle’s fall.
- Place the spare tire on the hub, carefully lining up the wheel bolts with the rim.
- Replace the lug nuts and tighten by hand – don’t tighten them completely until you’ve lowered the car back down to the ground.
- Lower the car partway to the ground so the tire doesn’t spin, and tighten each lug nut with the wrench, one full turn at a time, going in a star pattern (in a circle, skipping one nut each time as you go around), to ensure each nut is tightened equally.
- Lower the car the rest of the way and remove the jack. Give the nuts one last turn with the wrench, replace the hub cap.
- The final step is packing up your tools — don’t forget your old tire.
Once you are safely back on the road, you should get your car to an auto mechanic or tire shop to either get the tire repaired or to get a quote for a replacement tire. At Searles Auto Repair, we can help with all of your vehicle’s tire needs.
Along with the essential tools mentioned above, you may want to consider having the following additional tools on board in case of tire emergencies. Always be prepared, as they say.
- Work gloves
- Tarp or mat
- Tire blocks
- Fix-a-flat spray foam
- Tire gauge to measure pressure
- Emergency road markers
- Car charger for your mobile phone
Preventing a Flat Tire
Lessen the likelihood a future flat tire by regularly inspecting your vehicle’s tires, especially if you’re planning a road trip or a drive over the Malahat. Make sure your tires have enough tread and are all optimally inflated (check your tire wall for recommended tire pressure.
Finally, always drive with tires appropriate for the season. It might also be time for a wheel alignment or a tire rotation.