Noticing your vehicle has a flat tire (or even worse, having a blowout when you’re driving) is never a good time, but, knowing how to handle it can mean the difference between a total nightmare and a minor inconvenience.
Luckily, changing a tire is pretty easy to do, even for a complete novice. Follow these seven steps and you’ll feel like a tire-changing pro in no time!
1. Prepare Yourself Ahead of Time
There’s nothing worse than being stranded on the side of the road and realizing that you’re missing a critical tool or you aren’t sure how to use your jack. Before you find yourself in this situation, check to make sure you have a spare tire, lug wrench, car jack, and wheel chocks. You’ll also want to have a flashlight and warning devices.
Review your vehicle’s manual if you’re not sure where to find these items, and practice ahead of time so you feel comfortable using them.
2. Focus on Safety First
While you might be inclined to get off the road as quickly as you can, you’ll also want to make sure that you pull over in a safe place. Avoid stopping your car on grass or any area that has an incline. If possible, look for an area that is well-lit and make sure you’re well out of the way of oncoming traffic.
Once you’re parked, turn off your engine, engage your emergency brake, and place wheel chocks or heavy rocks on the side of the vehicle opposite from the side that’s being raised. This will help keep your vehicle from rolling.
3. Loosen Your Lug Nuts (Slightly)
Before you jack up the vehicle, slightly loosen up the lug nuts by turning the lug wrench counter-clockwise one turn. Note that if you have hub caps, you’ll need to remove them first. You can usually pry them off with a flat screwdriver or use the lug wrench or your jack handle.
4. Jack Up Your Vehicle
Next, use the jack to lift the vehicle up approximately six inches, or however high you need it lifted so you can easily remove the tire. Consult your owner’s manual for instructions on how to use the jack and make sure to follow them carefully.
5. Remove Your Lug Nuts and Wheel
Once your car is raised, remove the lug nuts and pull the wheel off the vehicle. Make sure to put the lug nuts somewhere safe where you won’t lose them, like inside the door of your vehicle.
6. Put on Your Spare
Align the wheel bolts and place your spare tire onto the vehicle. Put the lug nuts back on and tighten them with your fingers (don’t use the jack just yet).
7. Lower Your Vehicle and Tighten the Lug Nuts
Lower your vehicle slowly and gently back to the ground. Move the jack out of the way, then use the lug wrench to tighten the lug nuts. You might want to use your foot and body weight to ensure the lug nuts are as tight as they can be.
Finally, gather up all of your tools and put them back in the trunk. Once you get home, you’ll want to store them properly so they’re ready to go next time you need them.
Drive Carefully On That Spare Tire!
Remember that spare tires are smaller than your regular tire. They’re only meant to be driven short distances and you should avoid driving at high speeds. You’ll want to get a new full-size tire put on your vehicle as soon as possible.
The HAUS can take care of everything you need and get you back on the road in no time! Contact us to schedule your appointment today!