Swapping out a flat tire yourself will save loads of time. Follow these steps, and you’ll be back out on the road in no time.
Thump, thump, thump.
That’s the sound of the tire that just blew as you were traveling 70mph down the highway. Now what? Well, hopefully you’re prepared because tires can blow anytime, anywhere.
Step 1: Be Prepared
You should know if your car has a spare tire or a “fix-a-flat” kit. A lot of new cars don’t come with a spare tire for various reasons, so check to make sure you have one.
You also need to check this spare tire every semi-regularly. A tire without any air in it does you no good, so check the air pressure and condition before road trips or longer drives. As for items you might want, a flashlight/headlamp, tire gauge, and paper towels should suffice.
Step 2: Pick Your Spot
It’s not always easy to get to a good spot for changing a tire safely. Try search for a hard surface with separation between the road and the car.
Step 3: Check and Remove All of Your Tools
This step is a moot point if you already perform regular checkups on the spare tire and toolkit that comes with it. But if not, make sure all the tools are there and the tire is filled to spec.
Step 4: Get the Lugs Loose
Start by chocking a wheel opposite the side of the car you’re going to jack up. A piece of wood or rock on the side of the road would do if you don’t carry an actual wheel chock in your car. This makes sure the car doesn’t roll anywhere once you have it in the air.
If there’s a second person in the car with you, then they can get out and be your spotter at this point. Changing a tire on the highway isn’t a safe shot, and a split-second warning of a vehicle coming your way can be a lifesaver.
Then, lay down and grab your lug wrench. You may need to pry off a lug nut cover, but most of the time you can get right to business. Loosen, but don’t remove all the lug nuts. You may need a lug key adapter for one or all of the lugs depending on your vehicle.