flat tire with man staring at it
DIY Auto Repair

What to Do If You Get a Flat Tire

Are you one of the 60% of Americans who can’t change a tire? This is one of those basic car repair tasks that anyone can do, so now is the time to learn. 

You never know when a flat will happen, so being prepared is the best way to get you and your car back on the road. You don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road with no signal and unable to Google it. 

Keep reading to learn how easy it is to change a flat tire.

Get Prepped 

Before you start working on your tire, you need to make sure you’re safe. Pull the car off the road and turn on your hazard lights. Make sure your vehicle is on flat level ground. 

Now gather your tools. You’ll need a jack, lug wrench, and spare tire. 

Loosen the Lug Nuts 

You need to loosen the lug nuts with your wrench. Since they are often quite tight, they might be difficult to get off at first. Loosen the nuts, but don’t take them off all the way. 

Jack the Car 

Before you use your jack, check your owner’s manual to know where to place the jack. There are specific spots on the car frame meant to support the weight of the car. Not placing the jack in that spot can create a dangerous situation. 

Once you have the jack placed, crank it up until the tire is off of the ground. You’ll know you’re high enough when the tire spins freely. 

Replace the Tire 

Remove the lug nuts and pull the tire off of the car. Then place the spare tire on the vehicle.

You’ll need to line up the holes in the tire with the lug nut posts. Replace the lug nuts and hand tighten them down to secure the tire.

Finish the Job 

You can now lower the car and remove the jack. Use your lug wrench to fully tighten the nuts.

You should plan on driving to a tire shop to have new tires put on your car. It’s unwise to drive on a spare tire long term. 

Call a Service 

If you don’t want to get your hands dirty changing your tire, you can always call roadside services to come and change the tire for you. Most of these services require you to have a spare or replacement. 

This service can help you if you don’t have a spare. They’ll tow your car to the nearest shop where you can buy a new tire or have your flat fixed. 

Change Your Flat Tire

Sounds easy, right? Just a few tools and a little elbow grease, and you too can change a flat tire. The next time you feel that dreaded pull of a tire without air, you can pull to the side of the road with confidence that you know what you’re doing. 

Check out our auto repair manuals section and download the manual for your car.