If you are a car owner, you are responsible for making sure your car is well-maintained and safe to drive. Although most parts of car maintenance and repairs might be better done by a professional mechanic, there are important car care practices you need to know how to do. One of these things is replacing a flat tyre on your own. Do you know how to safely and properly change a flat tyre? Surprisingly, many car owners and drivers don’t know how to do it properly. If you want to learn about the proper way how to change a flat tyre, this article is for you.
How To Change A Flat Tyre Safely And Properly
Tyres tend to get flat in the most unprecedented moments. If you are lucky, you’ll be alone on a widely paved road, on a beautiful sunny day. But, if lady luck isn’t on your side, you could be in the middle of traffic, under a heavy storm, or another equally terrifying situation. Nevertheless, though it’s always better to change a tyre in a clear and steady environment, you can still make change a tire in the worst places. Below is a step-by-step process of how to change a flat tyre safely and properly.
1. Drive Safely Away From Traffic
Before working on the tyres of your car, keep in mind that your safety is your first priority. Calm your nerves in a panicky situation and clear your mind. After a few breaths, drive the car slowly away from the busy road, while staying on a paved surface. If there’s a wide shoulder or store parking lot nearby, aim for that direction. Drive slowly and carefully to avoid causing damage to the car’s wheel. Bring your car to the closest paved area as slowly as traffic will allow until you are in a safer area. But, keep in mind that saving the wheel should never come before ensuring your own safety.
2. Park Your Car, Turn Off The Ignition, Apply The Breaks And Turn On The 4-Way Flashers
When your car reaches a safe location, put the vehicle transmission on Park, turn off the ignition, apply the parking brake, and turn on the 4-way flashers. At this point, you can start changing the tyre if you have the proper tools available. But, if you don’t have the tools you need, call for roadside assistance instead. It will be close to impossible to safely change a tyre by hand in your situation.
3. Make Sure Your Vehicle Is On A Fairly Level Pavement
Since you will be jacking up the car, you have to make sure the jack is on level ground. This is critical for the vehicle’s stability and avoiding damages and injuries. Make sure you can position the jack somewhere without gravel, dirt, or sand. If you can find a wooden board or a thick piece of plywood, you can use it to serve as the base under the jack.
4. Prepare Your Spare Tyre And Tyre Changing Tools
In your most comfortable working clothes and protective hand gloves, begin removing the spare tyre, jack, and lug wrench out of your vehicle. If you have a tyre pressure gauge, check the pressure of your spare first. Then, if it has enough air in it, you can proceed to replace the flat one. In case it doesn’t appear to be useful, it’s better to seek roadside assistance to replace flat tyre.
5. Review The Jack’s Owner’s Manual
If it’s your first time using a jack, take some time to read the owner’s manual on how to use it properly. Make sure you understand how it works and where you need to position it. Otherwise, you might end up causing damages or hurting yourself in the process.
6. Chock The Wheel Opposite The Flat Tyre
Having your car on a flat surface does not completely guarantee safety. A car that is raised on one end could still roll off the jack. Use a rock, toolbox, or a large piece of wood and wedge it up against the tyre tread. By chocking at least one wheel on the axle opposite the flat, you ensure a more steady condition.
7. Loosen The Lugs
Using the other end of your lug wrench, take out the wheel cover. Then, with the vehicle is still on the ground, loosen the bolts about one turn. If you raise the tire first, you will not be able to loosen the lug nuts. However, don’t remove them just yet.
8. Raise The Tyre
Position the jack properly under the car, as the manual recommends. The location is usually at the pinch weld under the rocker panel. Then, crank the jack handle and start lifting. Stop when the body of the car starts to leave the ground. Check if the car is ready by giving it a little shove. It’s better to find out if it will fall off this early to prevent bigger problems. If it is ready, continue jacking it up until the flat tire is clearly raised above the ground. Raise it high enough for the change but not as high as increasing the chances of falling off the jack.
9. Don’t Get Under Your Car
Don’t do anything to put yourself at risk, including getting under your car. Work carefully and slowly. If at some point your car seems to be wobbly, lower the jack and repeat the process. You just might need to shift the jack to a steadier position.
10. Replace The Flat With Your Spare Tyre
Completely take out the lugs from your flat tire and tuck them somewhere safe. Then, remove the flat tyre and lay it on the ground. Next, place the spare properly and start one lug to hold it on. Then, thread in all the lugs one after the other. Avoid using the lug wrench to start them to avoid cross-threading the bolts.
11. Tighten All The Lug Nuts
Fit the bolts in a crisscross fashion and tighten them slowly until their snuggest point or when it “bottoms out”. Then, tighten them some more until the tyre spins on the hub. You want the lug nuts of your spare to be as tight as possible before allowing the tyre to carry the car’s weight.
12. Lower The Jack
Now that the flat tyre has been changed, it’s time to lower the jack. Wind the jack handle slowly to bring the car back down on the ground. Then, continue to turn the jack down until it is no longer carrying the car. Remove the jack and tuck it back to your usual storage space in your car. You don’t want to forget about it or run it over when you’re ready to drive away.
13. Tighten The Bolts One Final Time
Since the wheel turns, you must be absolutely certain the bolts will not loosen up. Tighten the nuts/bolts one last time. A torque wrench will be handy, but without it, turn the lug wrench for an additional quarter to half a turn after the lug nut/bolt bottoms out. For some cars, it might be impossible to turn it that much. Nevertheless, don’t try to step on the lug wrench or use your body weight to turn it. If arm exertion cannot turn it, it’s most likely already tight enough. If you are not confident that you’ve tightened it enough, go to the nearest repair shop when you’re done. They can confirm if the tyre has been properly placed and also check if the newly placed spare has enough pressure.
14. Repair/Replace The Flat Tire
Most spares can only be used temporarily. Once you’ve successfully bolted the spare, bring the flat to the repair shop and have it fixed. However, if the flat tyre is severely damaged, you will need to purchase a new one. Also, check if the rim can still be salvaged. Get the same brand model and size to ensure that your new tyre will fit perfectly into your car. Then, use the fixed or new tyre and keep the spare back to your car’s trunk.
While at the repair shop, you can also have your other tyres checked to see if it would be best to replace them as well. Since you’ve been using them as much as your damaged tyre, chances are they will also break or go flat at any time and you’ll have to repeat the process.
Although changing a flat tyre might seem like a long and tedious process, it is important in keeping you safe. Follow this guide on how to change a flat tyre and be confident that you will be able to complete the task safely and properly. If you want to learn more about changing tyres or want to purchase new ones, find a tyre shop near you or get in touch with our seasoned experts at Tyres Now. We offer a wide range of tyres and other products that will ensure road safety and the smooth use of your car.