It happens to all of us. You’recruising down the road, going about you day, until THUD! You feel that familiarbump, bump, bump and pull over to find your tire has gone flat.
Your next instinct here mightbe to panic, but if you equip yourself with the skills to change your own tire,you’ll be back on the road in no time.
Step 1: Safety
Make sure you’ve givenyourself enough room to move safely around your vehicle, away from traffic onthe roadway. Be sure to apply your parking break, turn on your hazards, put outa reflective warning signal if you have one and apply wheel wedges to make surethe vehicle is stopped securely while you work.
Step 2: Locate Your SpareTire and Jack.
Your vehicle should come withfour items you’ll need to change a tire. Those include an owner’s manual, sparetire, wrench and jack. Your spare tire can be found in your trunk with yourjack and tire wrench underneath.
*It should be noted that somevehicle manufacturers have eliminated spares to reduce the weight of thevehicle and improve fuel economy. In these vehicles you may find a “tire-inflatorkit,” which includes a small air compressor and a can of sealant.
Step 3: Remove Hub Cab & Loosenthe Lug Nuts
The jack will with come with ahandle that often has the lug wrench built in. To loosen the lug nuts, press downcounterclockwise with enough force to “crack” them loose. You may need toreposition your body as you do this to maintain the proper amount of leverageneeded.
Step 4: Jack the Car
Position the jack under theframe of the vehicle. Your owner’s manual will offer guidance about the bestplace to put the jack on your vehicle. Insert the end of the jack handle intothe jack to raise the vehicle. Turn it clockwise to go up and counterclockwiseto go down. Jacking takes time, so be patient.
Step 5: Remove Lug Nuts &Tire
Turn counterclockwise tocompletely remove lug nuts. Place them in a safe place nearby so you don’t losethem. Once they’re off, you can remove your tire.
Step 6.: Install Spare
Now you can put on your sparetire on. Center it on the wheel studs where the lug nuts go. Install the lugnuts, turning by hand first. Again, turning clockwise tightens them. Give thema turn with the lug wrench until they’re firm but not too tight, while yourvehicle is still up on a jack.
Step &: Lower and RemoveJack
Turn counterclockwise tolower the jack with its handle. You can removeit by hand once the vehicle is lowered and it no longer has contact with the car.
Finally: Tighten Lug Nuts Again
Use your lug nut wrench totighten the lug nuts again. Tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern beginning atthe bottom and moving to the top, side to side and back to the bottom,repeating until they’re tight.
Now you’ve changed a tire! It’sbest not to drive too far on your spare and you’ll certainly want to avoiddriving at highway speeds, so get your vehicle into an autobody shop for a newtire as soon as possible.
It’s good practice to keepthe supplies you’ll need in case of emergencies like these in your vehicle.Wheel Wedges and a reflective sign are a good start. We’d also suggest keeping a small plank to secure the jack, aflashlight with working batteries, gloves, and a rain poncho in your vehiclejust in case.
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