How to fix a flat and swap out your spare.
Changing a flat tire is an essential skill to have, and it's not that difficult once you get the hang of it. You'll need a few tools and some time, but you can do this!
Find a safe place to park.
First, find a flat and level surface. You want to make sure that your car is parked on a solid, even surface so that you can lay the flat tire down without having it roll off of the jack. This will make it easier to work with your spare tire later. Make sure not to park too close to any traffic or obstacles, though!
Also avoid parking near steep slopes or water if possible—these could cause problems for your car if they are hit by someone else or are disturbed by rain runoff from storms or flooding.
Gather your tools.
Now that you've bought your tire and wheel, it's time to get ready for installation. You'll need to gather a few tools before you start:
Tire iron (or lug wrench)
Jack and jack stands
Wheel chocks or bricks placed under the tires of each side of your car (so it doesn't roll away while you're working)
Loosen the lug nuts.
Before you jack up your car, you’ll need to loosen the lug nuts. But don’t remove them completely just yet. You can use a socket wrench that fits your lug nuts and give each one a quarter turn until they are loosened enough for the tire to move around on its own. Then, when you jack up your car (more on this later), you can take off all four wheels without having to fiddle with tight lugnuts.
Jack up the car.
Raise the car using a jack stand.
Remove the lug nuts from your flat tire and then lift off the tire/wheel assembly.
Replace it with your spare tire/wheel assembly, tightening all of its lug nuts securely into place with a wrench or socket wrench.
Remove the lug nuts and tire.
Before you remove the lug nuts, make sure to loosen them with a lug wrench or socket.
If your car has a hubcap to remove before removing the tire, use a flathead screwdriver or pry bar to easily pop it off.
Hang onto those lug nuts! They'll be useful later.
Mount the spare tire.
It’s important to note that the tire being replaced is a temporary fix—it isn’t meant to last forever. The spare tire you acquired may not match your car's make and model, so always consult your owner's manual for specific instructions on how to mount the spare.
If your car has a left-side mounted spare (the driver side), mount it on the right side of your vehicle. If your car has a right-side mounted spare (the passenger side), mount it on the left side of your vehicle.
If you have two spares and both are mounted in their correct locations, simply put one on either side of the car so all four tires are evenly spaced around its perimeter.
Replace the lug nuts and lower your vehicle.
Now that you’ve got your flat tire on the ground and have removed it, it’s time to replace it.
Here's what you need to do:
Remove the lug nuts with a lug wrench or an air impact gun (if your spare is in an enclosed trunk). Make sure they are tight before replacing them and putting them back in their place.
Replace the tire with another tire and make sure all of your bolts are tight afterwards. This includes tightening all four nuts on each wheel (hubcaps included). If any of your hubcaps are loose or falling off, now would be a good time to replace them too!
Now lower down your vehicle again by placing it on jack stands if necessary—you don't want anyone driving over their car until after everything has been fixed properly—and put away whatever tools were used during this process (a jack stand, lug wrench/air impact gun etc.).
Tighten the lug nuts.
Once the tire has been removed and you are ready to put on the spare, tighten each lug nut with a torque wrench in a criss-cross pattern until they are just snug. Then tighten them another 90 degrees in a star pattern (in an X) until they become tight.
Once all of your lug nuts have been properly tightened, you should be good to go!
It's important to know how to change a tire, but if you're not comfortable or you don't have time, you can always hire someone else to fix it for you.
It's important to know how to change a tire, but if you're not comfortable or don't have time, you can always hire someone else to fix it for you.
There are many places that provide roadside assistance and will help remove and repair the tire.
Now that you know how to change your tire and swap out the spare, you can enjoy your next road trip with peace of mind. If you're not comfortable doing it yourself or don't have time, however, don't hesitate to call a professional who will be able to help.