HOW TO CHANGE A CAR TIRE IN 13 SIMPLE STEPS
7/6/2022 - 9:00 AM
Sooner or later it's bound to happen to everyone. You're driving along on your way to work or on your way to your kid's soccer game, and all of a sudden your car pulls to one side and you hear the dreaded sound of a flat tire.
Nowadays, many people have roadside assistance services. However, if not, you could be faced with the inconvenience and the extra charges from calling a tow-truck and having your vehicle towed to a local service center (one like our Monicatti Auto Service Center!) On the other hand, you could save yourself the time, the inconvenience and all kinds of money by doing it yourself! And believe it or not, changing a car tire is actually pretty easy.
Here are 13 simple steps for changing a car tire.
STEP 1 - FIND A SAFE PLACE TO CHANGE YOUR TIRE
You should have a solid, level surface that will keep your vehicle from rolling away. Avoid soft ground and hills if you can. If you are near a road, park as far away from traffic as possible and turn on your hazard lights.
STEP 2 - PUT THE VEHICLE INTO "PARK" AND APPLY THE PARKING BRAKE
Make sure your vehicle is in "park" and apply the parking brake to ensure your vehicle stays put.
STEP 3 - PLACE BLOCKS IN FRONT OF THE OTHER TIRES
If possible, depending on where you pulled the vehicle over, look for some sort of large, heavy objects (rocks, large tree branches, etc.) to place in front of and behind one or two of the other, non-flat wheels. This is another security measure to ensure the vehicle doesn't roll on you.
STEP 4 - TAKE OUT THE SPARE TIRE, THE CAR JACK & THE LUG WRENCH
In most vehicles, the spare tire, the car jack, the lug wrench and any other tools needed for changing your tire are located in the trunk. Typically, you will need to pull up the "floor" or bottom panel in the trunk to reveal where these are located.
STEP 5 - FIND THE NOTCH ON YOUR VEHICLE'S FRAME AND RAISE THE CAR JACK HERE
Place the car jack under the frame of your vehicle on the side near the flat tire that you are going to change. For most modern uni-body vehicles, there is a small notch just behind the front wheels or in front of the rear wheels where the car jack is meant to be placed. Many vehicles have molded plastic along the bottom. And if you don't place the car jack in the correct place, it can crack this plastic when you start lifting the vehicle. If you're unsure of the exact position to place the car jack, you can always check your vehicle's owner's manual.
Once you have found the proper placement for the car jack, raise it until it is firm and supporting, but not lifting, your vehicle.
STEP 6 - LOOSEN THE LUG NUTS
Using the lug wrench that came with your vehicle (and that was likely in your trunk with the spare tire and the car jack), turn the lug nuts COUNTER clockwise. Do not take them all the way off, just loosen them enough to break the resistance. By doing this with your wheel on the ground still, it ensures that you are turning the lug nuts and not the wheel itself.
If your vehicle has hubcaps over the wheels, you must remove the hubcap to gain access to the lug nuts.
It can often take a lot of effort or force to get your lug nuts loose. If you are unable to do it with your arms, you can also use your body weight to stomp on the lug wrench. However, be sure that you are turning it the correct way before attempting this!
STEP 7 - USE THE CAR JACK TO LIFT THE VEHICLE OFF THE GROUND
Turn/Crank/Pump the car jack in order to lift your vehicle off of the ground. You will need to lift the vehicle high enough to allow you to remove the flat tire and replace it with your spare.
As you lift the vehicle, make sure it is stable. If you notice any instability, immediately lower the car jack and correct the issue before attempting to lift it back up.
If you notice the car jack lifting at an angle or beginning to lean, immediately lower the car jack and correct the issue before attempting to lift it back up.
NOTE: It is always a good idea to keep an additional small car jack in the vehicle for added safety and security. In case the main car jack gives out while you are changing the tire, having the smaller jack in place will keep you safe.
STEP 8 - COMPLETELY REMOVE THE LUG NUTS
Using your lug wrench and turning it COUNTER clockwise, completely loosen and remove all of the lug nuts from the flat wheel.
STEP 9 - REMOVE THE FLAT TIRE
Once all of the lug nuts have been loosened and completely removed, pull the flat tire off of the vehicle.
STEP 10 - PLACE THE SPARE TIRE ON THE VEHICLE
Align the rim of the spare tire with the wheel bolts and then slide the spare tire onto the vehicle. Be sure to install the spare tire the correct way and not backwards. The valve stem of a tire should face outwards, away from the vehicle.
STEP 11 - TIGHTEN THE LUG NUTS UNTIL THEY ARE SNUG
Using the lug wrench, tighten all of the lug nuts until they are snug, but not overly tightened. To ensure the tire is balanced, tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern and tighten them equally. Going in a star pattern (see example below), give each lug nut a full turn before moving on to the next one, keeping them all equally tight.
STEP 12 - LOWER THE CAR TO THE GROUND, FINISH TIGHTENING THE LUG NUTS & REMOVE THE CAR JACK
Turn/Crank/Pump the car jack in the opposite direction in order to lower your vehicle back down onto the ground. Once the car jack is completely down, remove it from under the vehicle. Then, using the lug wrench again, completely tighten the lug nuts as much as you can.
STEP 13 - PLACE THE FLAT TIRE, THE CAR JACK AND THE OTHER TOOLS BACK INTO THE TRUNK
Once the spare tire is firmly on your vehicle and the vehicle is back down on the ground, it's time to clean up! Place the flat tire into the trunk, where the spare tire was, along with the car jack, the lug wrench and any other tools you took out. And TA DA! YOU just changed your tire! CONGRATULATIONS!
Once you have finished changing your tire, contact an automotive service center, like our Monicatti Auto Service Center, and take the flat tire to them. Most small punctures can be repaired rather inexpensively. However, if the tire is no good, they can dispose of it for you and sell you a replacement.
If changing your own tire still feels a bit too difficult, have no fear, we can assist you at MONICATTI AUTO SERVICE CENTER! Give us a call at 1-844-463-6722 or fill out our ONLINE CONTACT FORM to schedule an appointment TODAY!
(NOTE: Information loosely taken from an article on wikihow.com)