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Dec 20, 2016

Your Guide To Changing Tires

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Anyone who has ever been stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, or on the way to the airport, or doing anything of importance, knows the stomach sinking feeling that it engenders. This is especially true if you don’t know how to change a tire. Changing a tire should be one of those things that we teach to children in high school because it really is an invaluable life skill. If you don’t know how to change a tire, but would like to learn how, read the steps listed below.

How To Change A Tire

Step 1: Find flat ground.

It is paramount that you find a flat, safe space to change your tire. This is especially true if you are changing your tire on the side of the highway and there are cars zipping past you, putting you at risk.

Step 2: Apply the parking brake and park the car.

A caveat to this is required if you have a standard vehicle. In that case, your vehicle should be in first, or in reverse.

Step 3: Secure the tires.

Secure your tires by placing whatever heavy objects you have at your disposal (rocks, spare tires etc.) at the front and back of your tires.

Step 4: Align the jack.

Place the jack under the frame directly near the tire that you are going to be changing. Make sure that the jack is touching the metal part of your vehicle’s frame. This is important because if it is touching plastic, you will crack it. Many modern cars have notches which indicate exactly where the jack is supposed to go.

Step 5: Raise the jack.

Raise the jack until it is supporting the weight of the car, but not lifting it entirely off the ground. The jack should also be entirely perpendicular to the ground.

Step 6: Remove the hubcap and loosen the nuts.

To do this, turn the wrench counter clockwise. Don’t fully remove the nuts, just loosen them enough to break the resistance. The wheel should still be on the ground while you are doing this so that you aren’t simply turning the wheel when you begin loosening. It often takes a lot of force to loosen the nuts.

Step 7: Lift the car.

Depending on what kind of jack you are using, pump it or crank it to lift the car off the ground. It needs to be high enough off the ground for you to be able to then remove the damaged tire and fit the new one on. The car MUST be stable while you are doing this. Make sure that the jack is lifting exactly perpendicular to the ground (i.e. never at any kind of angle). The safest thing for you to do is to use two jacks (a large one for the job, and a second, smaller one in case your primary jack gives out).

Step 8: Remove the nuts.

Now you can remove the nuts entirely.

Step 9: Remove the tire.

It’s a good idea to place the flat tire under the vehicle, just in case the jack fails, because the tire can stop the car from falling. Often times the tire that you are removing is stuck due to rust, so it might require some loosening by tapping (either with a mallet, or with the spare tire) to make sure that it comes off smoothly.

Step 10: Replace the tire.

Fit the new tire onto the vehicle in exactly the same way as the old one (valve side facing towards you). Tighten the nuts by hand until they are firmly in place, and then, moving from nut to nut, tighten with the wrench (don’t tighten each nut all the way at once, work around and tighten each one little by little). Don’t use so much force that you disturb the jack. Once the tire is on, lower the car, and tighten the nuts all the way.

Voila! You have just changed a tire and can now get back on your way to wherever it is you were going. Changing a tire is something that gets easier with practice. You may find it frustrating your first time, but once you’ve successfully changed your first tire, you will wonder why you were ever so intimidated by it.


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