Blowing a tire while driving is frustrating. The driver must pull over to the shoulder so that he or she can replace it with a spare. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to change a flat tire. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), nearly one out of every five drivers don’t know how to change a flat tire. Whether it’s on a car, truck or SUV, however, replacing one is a straightforward process that most drivers can do themselves.
Pull Over to a Safe Area
After realizing he or she has a flat, the driver should pull over to a safe area to change it. Parking in the middle of the road isn’t just dangerous; it’s illegal in most states. To reduce the risk of an injury-causing accident, drivers should find a safe area with little or no traffic in which to park.
Prepare the Vehicle
With their vehicle in a safe area, the driver should engage his or her vehicle’s hazard lights and parking brake. Hazard lights make the car more visible to passing motorists while the parking brake secures the vehicle in place. To further reduce the risk of injury, the driver should also place wheel wedges underneath the tires. If a driver is changing a rear tire, he or she should place wheel wedges underneath the front side of the front tires. If the driver is changing a front tire, he or she should put them underneath the back side of the rear tires.
Use Wrench to Loosen Tires
Using a lug wrench, the driver should loosen — not completely remove — the lug nuts of the flat tire. Depending on when the tire was last it removed, loosening the lug nuts may require a little elbow grease.
Jack Up Vehicle
Once the lug nuts have been loosened, the driver should jack up his or her vehicle from the appropriate jack point on the area closest to the blown tire. The bad tire should be about 6 inches off the ground.
Remove and Replace Tire
With the vehicle jacked up, the driver can proceed to remove the lug nuts using a lug wrench. After removing the lug nuts, the flat tire should slide off, allowing the driver to replace it with a spare. The lug nuts can then be reinstalled and tightened on the new tire.
Every driver should know how to change a flat tire. It’s a basic yet invaluable skill that allows drivers to stay on the road.