Drivers encounter flat tires more often than any other mechanical issues. Handled correctly, it represents only a minor inconvenience. Handled incorrectly, it can lead to serious injury and significant damage.
Changing a Flat Tire
Flat tires need the right tools and a properly inflated spare. Follow these steps to an efficient, correct and safe swap:
• If you are in an unsafe location, skip all of these steps and call for roadside assistance.
• If you are driving when you detect the flat, pull safely out of the flow of traffic and turn on your hazard lights.
• Put the car in Park or first gear for manual transmissions and set the parking brake. If available, use heavy objects to keep the tire diagonally across from the flat from moving.
• Locate your jack, jack handle and spare tire. Your vehicle owner’s manual will describe their location and also the proper “jacking points” on your car’s undercarriage.
• Before using the jack to raise the vehicle, loosen all of the lug nuts. Trying to loosen lug nuts on a freely rotating tire will challenge your patience.
• Use the jack to raise the flat tire off the ground.
• Remove the lug nuts and pull the tire off. Beware: Tires are heavy.
• Place the spare tire on and tighten the lug nuts.
• Lower the vehicle.
• For safety, check that the lug nuts are very snug.
If you feel uncomfortable with these tasks, please wait until a professional arrives to help you.