Changing Tires: The Basics

Despite what the movies will have you believe, anyone can change a tire. It’s a skill that every vehicle owner or driver should learn, because any driver can find themselves on the side of the road with a punctured tire that has gone flat. Although tires have evolved over time to include tubeless tires that do not have an inner tube and thus can run while deflated, it’s still best to change a flat tire as soon as possible. 

Changing Tires

Why You Need To Learn To Change Your Tire

You may be thinking that nowadays there are several services, such as the American Automobile Association (AAA), which you can call for help in situations when your car breaks down or you need to change a tire. However, you can’t always guarantee that you will be able to reach them. So unless you want to be frantically searching online for guides on how to change a tire on a truck or car, then learn ahead of time.

One of the main concerns people have about changing a tire is the physical effort required. Most people are nervous about carrying a spare tire, and the strength required for other parts of the process. In reality, a spare tire usually weighs around 25 pounds, unless you’re driving a heavy duty truck. Also, the tools used in changing a tire reduce the needed physical effort substantially.

Steps To Change A Tire

Here are the basic steps to follow when changing a tire.

  • Park your car in a safe area on the side of the road. This means stopping in a straight part of the road and avoiding stopping in the curve of a turn. Try to find a spot where the road is flat.  
  • Turn on your hazard lights and apply your parking brake to keep the car from rolling. Ideally, you should also use wheel wedges (or heavy rocks, in a pinch) to keep your car in place. 
  • Remove the hubcaps if you have them. This depends on the type of hubcap you have, so you need to consult with your owner’s manual ahead of time. 
  • Use a lug wrench (the X shaped wrench) to loosen the lug nuts on the wheel. This may require a lot of physical effort – you can use your entire body weight if you feel the need to. Do not remove the lug nuts yet, you should only loosen them.
  • Place your jacklift under the frame that’s next to your flat tire. Your car might have an area of exposed metal to guide you. Use the jack to raise the flat tire about 6 inches from the ground. Once raised, avoid putting anything under the car – not even your hands.
  • Now you can remove the lug nuts completely – you can do this by hand. You can then remove the flat tire and replace it with the spare. 
  • Tighten the lug nuts before and after lowering the vehicle, and remove the jacklift. Replace the hubcap and stow away everything you used.