How to Change a Flat Tire: Step by Step
It can happen to anyone, no matter how old or new your vehicle. And, it can happen in the most unlikely of places in the most inconvenient conditions. A flat tire is something which everyone should understand how to fix or change, especially in situations where you're not a member of a traveling club that can come out and fix it for you or you're in a remote area where you can't call for support. Read these hints of what to do from pulling off to the side of the street, to driving with your doughnut.
While most contemporary steel-belted radial tires provide thousands of miles of trouble-free driving, there's still a possibility your tire might get punctured by debris, experience a blow off, or just go flat. When any of these incidents occur, you want to be ready.
Occasionally you will realize you have a flat tire when you head into the driveway to start your vehicle. But more frequently, a flat tire occurs while driving. If one of your tires is punctured by street debris while driving, the first thing you will need to do is bring your vehicle to a complete and safe stop out of traffic's way. It is really important not to panic when this happens, but rather to stay calm. It might be a response to slam on the brakes. Don't! This will make matters worse. Simply put on your blinker and pull over on the side of the street. Once stopped as far of the street as you can get, put on your flashers.
Before you try to do anything, you need to ensure that your vehicle is on a flat surface. Otherwise, you should attempt to maneuver your car up the street a little ways to get a better area. Step one is to ensure that your vehicle is in PARK. (if you're panicking, you might overlook this obvious step as you exit your vehicle!) If you're driving a car with a manual transmission, then put it in REVERSE. All passengers must exit the car too and stay a safe distance from the street.
Your first step is of course to be certain that you have the requirements you need: a jack, spare tire and tool kit. Every car should have these. (This implies not removing them when you're attempting to locate space for luggage!) You'll want to remove these things from the trunk or hatchback and set them on the ground beside the flat tire.
Next, jack up the car. Jacks will vary by type of car, but odds are your owner's manual will provide you instructions on how best to use the one that came with your car. Before you jack of the vehicle, if you're able to get some stones, place one behind the wheel on the other hand (diagonal). This will make certain your car doesn't move during the procedure. Then, increase the vehicle just enough for the tire to clean the floor.
Begin to remove the lug nuts with the socket wrench. Be sure that you don't lose these! Take the wheel cover off, then remove the flat tire. Next, put on the spare tire, replace wheel cover and fasten with the nuts. Tighten them as far as possible. Next, lower the car just so the wheel touches the floor. Gather your tools up and flat tire and replace on your trunk.
It's never suggested to drive your vehicle on a spare tire for long distances. So, as soon as you're ready to safely pull back on the street, you might want to head right house and make plans for dropping off your car to get a new tire. If on holiday or on business, you may wish to stop at the closest garage to have a new tire put on, or to get it repaired.