It’s new day in the week. You on the open road headed to work, dinner with a friend, grocery shopping, or some place else when all of a sudden you get a flat tire. What do you do? This scenario happens on a daily basis to countless people. And if it were to happen to you, would you know how to change your flat tire? If not, then the Para team has got your back! Just like we have with other things like car care tips, and preparing your kids for school. Staying true to form, today we are going teach you how to change a tire all by yourself.
Let’s do this!
How to Change a Flat Tire Alone
1) Find a flat and SAFE place to change your tire…if possible!
If you need to change a flat tire, do your best to find a flat and safe place so you can avoid having your car roll away as you’re trying to change your flat tire. If you are driving on a busy road, park as far away from traffic as possible and turn your hazard lights on.
2) Put your car in the parked position
Once your car is stopped, make sure to use your parking break. Doing this will keep your car from rolling away as you change your tire.
3) Apply wheel wedges
Wheel wedges are what you put in front of and behind your tires to further make sure that your car doesn’t roll while you fix the flat tire. If your flat tire is at the back of your car, put the wedges in front of your front tires. If your flat tire is in the front of your car, put the wedges behind your back tires. Don’t have any wheel wedges? Brick or large stones will work just as good.
4) Remove the hubcap
If your car has a hubcap covering the lug nuts, it will be way easier to remove the hubcap before lifting the vehicle with the jack. However, if your lug nuts are exposed, you can skip this part and move on to step 5.
However, if your car does have a hubcap covering the lug nuts, you will want to use your lug wrench to remove the hubcap.
5) Loosen the lug nuts
Using your lug wrench, turn the lug nuts counterclockwise until you feel your lug nuts loosen. You may have to use a little muscle, and that’s ok. Don’t be afraid to use your foot or even all of your body weight if you need to. As you are loosening your lug nuts, you will want to loosen them about ¼ to ½ of a turn of your lug wrench, and then leave them like that. You wont want to remove your lug nuts completely until it’s time to remove your tire/wheel from the vehicle.
6) Put your jack under your car
Place your jack beneath the vehicle frame alongside the tire that’s flat. Many vehicle frames have molded plastic on the bottom with a cleared area of exposed metal that is specifically for your jack. Once you have placed your jack, pull out your car’s owner manual to guide and follow the instructions on how to safely lift your car and avoid any damage.
7) Raise your car with your jack
The first thing you want to do is keep your jack from settling under the weight of your vehicle and coming off balance. So, place a small cut of 2×6” wood under your jack before you start to raise your car.
Now that your jack is positioned properly, raise your car until the flat tire is about six inches off the ground.
NOTE: Never put any part of your body under your car during or after this process.
8) Remove lug nuts all the way
You are finally to the point where you can remove your lug nuts all the way. Since you already unscrewed them about half way, you should be able to easily unscrew them the rest of the way by hand.
9) Take off your flat tire
Gabbing your tire by the treads, carefully pull it toward you until it’s completely free from the hub behind it. Then, set your tire on it’s side so that it doesn’t roll away.
10) Take out your spare tire and place it on the lug bolts
The time has come for you to put on your spare tire! Simply place your spare on the hub by lining up the rim of your spare with the lug bolts. Then, push gently until the lug bolts show through the rim.
11) Tighten your lug nuts by hand
Put the lug nuts back on the lug bolts and tighten them all the way by hand. Once your lug nuts are on, check each one again, and do more tightening if necessary. Once you lower your car to the ground, you will tighten them with the lug wrench.
12) Low your car and tighten your lug nuts one more time
Using your jack, lower your car so that the spare tire is resting on the ground but the full weight of your car isn’t fully on the tire. At this point, you will want to tighten the lug nuts with your lug wrench, turning them clockwise, as much as you can; pushing down on the lug wrench with all your body weight.
13) Lower your car the rest of the way
Now you’re to the point where you can bring your car all the way to the ground and remove the jack. Give the lug nuts one more pull with the wrench to make sure they’re as tight as possible.
14) Put your hubcap back on
If your hubcap that you took from the flat tire will fit your spare, you’ll want to put it in place the same way you removed it at the beginning of this process. If it doesn’t fit though, put it away with your flat tire as you now begin to place your equipment back in your car.
15) Check the air pressure in your spare tire
Before driving away, make sure to check the air pressure of your spare tire to make sure that it is safe to drive on. you can do this by placing an air pressure gauge on the air valve of your spare tire. Most tires require 60 psi (420 kPa). If your tire has less than that, drive (slowly) to a service station immediately.
16) Take your flat tire to a car technician
Spare tires aren’t made to be driven on for long distances or at high speeds. So as soon as you can, make sure to visit a tire technician. A professional should be able to determine whether your tire needs a repair or if it’s time to replace it.
That’s it! While there’s no way to prevent flat tires from happening, knowing what to do if you ever find yourself in that situation will help you easily get out it and on with your journey down the open road.