Finding yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire is often a very scary and unnerving experience, especially if you don’t know how to change a tire. Throughout the life of a vehicle, it is almost certain that at some point or another it will get a flat tire. The problem with flat tires is that they always seem to happen at the worst possible time and the worst possible place.
Knowing how to fix a flat tire can not only help you to feel safer but can also mean the difference between you having to try to flag down some passerby for help, something that can be quite scary in itself.
There are lots of reasons why your car can get a flat tire. The most common cause of a tire going flat is by it being punctured by some sharp object like a nail. Roads are littered with sharp metal objects that have fallen off vehicles, meaning that every day we run over loads of objects that have the potential to cause a puncture. Other causes of flats include tires being too worn, faulty valves and even the car having spent too long standing without having been used.
The good news is that changing a tire is really easy when you know how. Added to that, modern tires are now manufactured to higher standards than ever, meaning that flat tires actually occur far less frequently than they used to. Should the worst happen, you will need to be prepared. So here is a detailed guide of everything you need to know how to change a tire.
A bad workman may always blame his tools but when he doesn’t have any at all he is no good to anyone. When it comes to our vehicles, being prepared for breakdowns is the best insurance policy there is. Whether it is for a flat tire, a flat battery or for an accident, you should always have the necessary tools on hand to fix the problem.
In the case of a flat tire, you should make sure that you have the following tools ready to go in your car just in case you ever need them:
The most important part of the whole process of changing a flat tire is to remain calm and not to panic. When people begin to panic their heart begins to pump faster and their blood level begins to rise. Side effects of this stress include a lack of clear thinking which increases the chance them making a mistake.
The best way to combat stress is to take a few deep breaths and try to relax your mind. Without a clear head, it is possible that you will make a mistake that could end up making things worse. Now that you are calm, you are ready to change the tire.
When you finally jack your car up you will understand exactly why you need to park your car on level ground before you begin to change the tire. If possible, try to find a place where the ground is level and is covered with a thick layer of tarmac or concrete etc. This is important as it will give the jack a firm base on which to stand and therefore reduce the chance of an accident happening. If the ground around the car is relatively soft then you should find a thick piece of wood to put under the jack to act as a secure base.
Please make sure that the car is parked well off any busy roadway so that you are in no danger from passing cars. You should also take care to make sure that the car is locked in position by using wooden blocks or stones. These should be placed on the opposite wheels to the one that you are going to be working on. So if the flat is on the front, you will need to block the back wheels and vice versa.
The next step is to use the screwdriver to gently prize free any covers or nuts that may be protecting the wheel. Sometimes covers can be a little temperamental, so if you find it is stuck then slowly work around the edge freeing it off piece by piece until it pops off.
While the car is still firmly on the ground, you should loosen off the wheel nuts part of the way. To do this you will need to use the tire iron and undo them in a counterclockwise direction. You may find yourself needing to rock some nuts back and forth in the case that they are very tight. Be sure to only loosen them two of three full turns and not to take them off completely.
Note: Wheels that are made from aluminum are easy to damage so you should take special care not to strike them with the tire iron as you undo the nuts.
You are at the stage where you will need to raise your car so that you can remove the wheel and replace it with the spare. This is also the most crucial part of the whole process as it needs to be done correctly to ensure safety.
Start by consulting your car’s manual to find out exactly where you should place the jack. Manufacturers have designed cars to allow for jacks to be used on specific areas of the superstructure. You want to be sure that under no condition do you attempt to jack the car up on its panels or in places that cannot support the weight.
Remove the jack and the spare tire from the trunk. Place the jack on a solid surface under the correct ‘lift point’ on the car. Slowly wind the jack up until it reaches the bite point when touching the car. At this point, you only need to wind the jack enough to make sure it is in the correct position and won't slip out of place.
Before you continue any further, you should do one last check to make sure that everything is ready to go. Firstly, check the blocks under the wheels to make sure that the car won't be able to move at all. It is also a good idea to double check that the jack is set to raise the car from the correct place and that the base of the jack is level and not tipping to one side. As long as you have remembered to loosen the wheel nuts off a little, you are now ready to go.
You only need to continue to wind the jack to raise the wheel off the ground. Keep in mind that the jack will feel harder to screw once it starts to lift the car. When operating the jack, make sure that you are standing clear of the car and are not stretching your legs underneath it, just in case it does slip.
As you wind the jack, keep an eye on the base to make sure that it is not twisting or sinking into the ground. If you see the jack begin to move, stop winding it and immediately lower the car back down. Reposition the jack and start again.
When you have raised the car off the ground enough that the wheel is able to spin freely then you are ready to change the tire. You don’t need to jack the car up as high as it will go, but rather only high enough that you can work on the tire without being impeded.
The next step is to undo the wheel nuts the rest of the way by turning them in the same counter-clockwise direction. To start with you can use the tire iron but after they are loose enough you can use your fingers.
Once you have done this you can now remove the wheel. You might find yourself having difficulty to get it off, especially if the wheel has been on the vehicle for a long time. If this happens, do not try to aggressively wiggle the wheel back and forth just in case it causes the jack to slip. Instead, you should use a piece of wood or a wooden hammer to gently tap around the rim of the wheel until it comes free. Take care if you have alloy wheels not to damage them.
The wheel should slide nicely off the hub leaving you free to replace it with the spare tire. Be really careful as the wheel will be covered in dirt and brake dust. This is where your handy set of overalls comes in.
To put on the spare, you only need to reverse the process that you just completed in taking off the old wheel. Take the spare tire and place it on the hub. Take care to line up the wheel’ bolts with the holes on the spare wheel. After you have done this, you can now put the nuts back on and do them up. Begin by screwing them on by hand and once they become difficult to tighten, use the tire iron to tighten them further.
You will notice that at a certain point the wheel will begin to spin as you apply force to the nut. You will need to lower the car to tighten them beyond this point. Tighten all the nuts until you reach this point and you are ready for the next step.
You are now ready to lower the car back to the ground. To do this you only need to unwind your car’s jack in the opposite direction to how you raised it. Some types of jacks do have a special one twist release, but these are hydraulic jacks that are usually only used by auto shops.
Now that the car is securely back on the ground, you can fully tighten up the nuts. Never forget to do this as they may come undone while the vehicle is in motion, something which will result in the wheel eventually coming loose and causing a massive accident.
Tightening the screws up will require some real back work, so be prepared for this.
You are now free to place the wheel cover back onto the wheel. This usually needs you to bang it a few times with a fist until it is securely attached. You should listen for a ‘click’ sound that means it is securely back on. As with the wheel nuts, you need to remember to double check that the cover is on securely, otherwise it will come loose and you will lose it somewhere on the road.
Taking great care not to let the dirty tire and tools mark the inside of your car; put everything back in the car in the place where you removed it. Remember, brake dust and oil can be extremely difficult to remove from interior carpets and cloth.
You are now ready to go. If you have replaced a flat tire, we strongly recommend only driving the car as far as you have to. If you are not able to drive to a repair shop to get it fixed immediately then do so at the next possible convenient moment. Because if you don’t and get another flat, then this time you really will be up a creek without a paddle. and as you finish changing car tire try to know how to change car oil so you can save some money next time you want to change you car oil. see it here.