Posted on July 13 2018
Much like death and taxes, flat tires are unavoidable. And of course, they always seem to come at the least convenient time...
Recently, we were up filming at the range and had a blowout coming back down the mountain. Not wanting to waste an opportunity, we decided break out the camera and record the process.
It is important to be ready for anything that life throws at you, and knowing how to change a tire is an essential life skill that everyone should have. One of the best things you can do, is to go through your owner's manual and become familiar with it. Each vehicle is different and they all have their own nuances in procedure.
How to Change a Flat Tire
- Park the vehicle on a firm, level surface. Avoid ice or slippery areas.
- Turn on the Hazard Warning flasher.
- Set the parking brake.
- Place the shift lever into PARK. On four-wheel drive vehicles, shift the transfer case to the 4L position.
- Turn the ignition OFF.
- Remove the spare wheel, jack, and tools from storage.
- Using the wheel wrench, loosen, but do not remove, the wheel nuts by turning them counterclockwise one turn while the wheel is still on the ground.
- When changing a front wheel, place the scissors jack under the rear portion of the lower control arm.
- Operate the jack using the jack drive tube and the wheel wrench. The tube extension may be used but is not required.
- To prevent the jack from settling under the weight of your vehicle and coming off balance, place a small cut of 2x6” wood beneath it before attempting to raise your vehicle. This tactic is especially helpful on asphalt.
- With the jack properly positioned, raise the vehicle until the flat tire is about six inches above the ground.
- Never put any part of your body under the vehicle during or after raising the vehicle with the jack.
5. Unscrew the lug nuts
- Now it’s time to remove the lug nuts all the way. Since you've already loosened them, you should be able to unscrew them mostly by hand.
6. Remove the flat tire
- Gripping the tire by the treads, pull it gently toward you until it’s completely free from the hub behind it. Set it on its side so that it doesn’t roll away.
7. Mount the spare tire on the lug bolts
- Now place the spare on the hub by lining up the rim with the lug bolts. Push gently until the lug bolts show through the rim.
8. Tighten the lug nuts by hand
- Put the lug nuts back on the lug bolts and tighten them all the way by hand. Once they are all on, check each one again, tightening as much as possible. You will tighten them with the wrench after lowering the vehicle to the ground.
9. Lower the vehicle and tighten the lug nuts again
- Use the jack to lower the vehicle so that the spare tire is resting on the ground but the full weight of the vehicle isn’t fully on the tire. At this point, you should tighten the lug nuts with the wrench, turning clockwise, as much as you can. Push down on the lug wrench with the full weight of your body.
10. Lower the vehicle completely
- Bring the vehicle all the way to the ground and remove the jack. Give the lug nuts another pull with the wrench to ensure they’re as tight as possible.
11. Stow all equipment
- You have before you a jack, a lug wrench, wheel wedges, your flat tire, and possibly a hubcap. Don’t forget to put all of them in your vehicle before driving away.
12. Check the pressure in the spare tire
- You should check the tire pressure of the spare tire to make sure that it is safe to drive on. “T-Type” temporary spares, also called “mini-spares,” require 60 psi (420 kPa). If the tire needs pressure, drive (slowly) to a service station immediately.