How to Change a Tire on a Car

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What would you do if you suddenly get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere – alone? You would definitely be in trouble if you do not know anything about changing car tires. We believe that all car owners must know the process to avoid being stranded on the road. So, let’s learn how to change a tire on a car with these steps:

How to Prepare

It is essential to complete the steps for preparation before changing the tire to avoid mistakes along the way.

  • Find the right area.

    The proper surface for changing a tire is safe from moving cars and solid for stability. Avoid working on an uneven ground like slopes to keep the vehicle from moving. For a more secure car, put heavy things such as an extra wheel, concrete blocks, rocks and bricks beside the front and back part of the tires.

    If it is nighttime or foggy, then do not forget to turn on the hazard lights or emergency flashers to prevent accidents and also signal coming cars that you need help.

  • Park the car.

    Before getting your hands dirty, make sure to apply the brake for parking and set the vehicle to “Park.” For cars with standard transmission, it must be in reverse.

  • Place the jack properly.

    The jack must be near the flat tire, specifically under the metal part of the frame. Most of the new car models with a uni-body have small marks or notches somewhere between the front and rear wheels to indicate the exact spots for the jack. For old car models and trucks with a frame, put the jack on the frame’s beam between the front and back tires.

    If you thoughtlessly place the jack near the flat tire, you would possibly encounter damages. For example, there are vehicles with a big plastic area underneath. If the plastic makes contact with the jack’s power, it would crack. Do not fret; the owner’s manual includes the answer to where exactly you must put the jack in times of need.

  • Slightly raise the jack.

    Just because you have to use a jack does not mean that you have to lift the car. Just raise the jack, enough to support the vehicle when you start changing the tire. Ensure that the jack stands straight.

How to Remove Lug Nuts

The first part in changing a tire is removing the lug nuts. However, this is not an abrupt process. Check out the following steps to an ace removal of nuts:

  • Loosen the nuts.

    The key to loosen the nuts easily is by turning them counterclockwise. But first, you must take off the hubcap. Now, do not remove the nuts yet. Just focus on breaking the tire’s resistance. The main reason why we must not lift the car yet is to make sure that you would be able to turn the nuts, not the wheel.

  • Use the right wrench.

    You can actually use the wrench provided by the car’s manufacturer. You may even use a typical cross wrench. Also, some wrenches have a different size for each end. To know if you are using the right wrench, check if it slips directly around the nut. Then, see if the wrench does not rattle while you are turning it.

  • Lift the tire.

    Finally, it is time to crank the jack higher to elevate the tire. This makes it easier to remove the tire completely and change it with a new one. Once you notice that the jack is not straight, lower it to change its position. Then, just raise it again.

    For a sturdier lift, bring a jack stand all the time inside the car as well. It is always better to safe than sorry.

  • Remove the nuts.

    Again, in a counterclockwise motion, turn the nuts until they are completely removed. However, the counterclockwise thing is not applicable for some vehicles such as old GM and Chrysler cars because of their reverse threaded nuts.

How to Change a Tire on a Car

From the removal of the flat tire to the installation of the spare one, take a look at the following steps on how to change a tire on a car:

  • Remove the flat tire.

    If the tire does not come off easily because of the rust, you can hit its inner section with a mallet made of rubber. Some pros suggested hitting the outer section of the tire with the spare tire.

    After removing the tire, we recommend putting it directly under the car for extra support in case of a jack failure.

  • Install the spare tire.

    While putting the spare tire over the hub, make sure that its rim aligns with the bolts of the wheel. Afterwards, install the lug nuts. Be careful while putting the spare tire on the hub because you might install it backwards. That is even more possible when your car has acorn lug nuts. To avoid the wrong installation, check if the valve stem of the tire does not face the car. You must also let the nut’s tapered side face the wheel.

  • Tighten the nuts.

    In turning the nuts to lock the tire again, you do not need any tools. Just by using your hand, you can already make sure that the nuts are snug right in their designated spots. When tightening the nuts, however, you must use the wrench.

    For a balanced tire, do not focus on one lug nut alone until it tightens. Remember to tighten all the nuts in a “star pattern.” That means you must do one turn for a nut then immediately do the same thing to the other one across from it. Same goes for the next nut and so on. Do equal turns for each nut simultaneously until the last one in your pattern is tight.

    If you are very meticulous, you can tighten the nuts once more after putting the car down.

What’s Next?

As expected after tightening the nuts, lower the jack until the tire settles on the ground. Put the hubcap on. Store your tools and the old tire inside the car to make sure that nothing will be left behind.

Regarding the old tire, take it to a mechanic to repair it. After all, you need another spare tire. If the old tire is already beyond repair, then you really need to buy a new one to serve as spare.

Summary

Learning how to change a tire on a car is surprisingly easy. As a plus, the tools needed are also basic: wrench, car jack, and jack stand. Just remember to keep your car armed with tools and a spare tire all the time since anything can happen on the road. Prioritize stability when you have to change a tire to avoid getting yourself hurt. Stay away from uneven and soft surfaces before starting the fix.

For other useful auto tips, find out how to wash a car and how to make a car go faster. If you want to know some useful products for your vehicle, check out the best car phone chargers and effective air fresheners in today’s market.