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Changing a Car Tire: What, Like It’s Hard?

Most of us have experienced driving down the road when we suddenly feel a tire going flat. Aside from being dangerous, it’s also inconvenient — unless you know how to change it. Rather than relying on the internet, in case (in true Murphy’s Law fashion) you’re stranded somewhere without cell phone service, it’s much better to learn how to do it yourself. 

While it may at first sound intimidating, it’s easier than you think. And it helps you avoid spending unnecessary money and time waiting on assistance. Read on to learn from your trusted team at City Auto Repair how to change your tire, including the tools you need to make it as simple as possible. 

How to Change Your Tires

When you feel your tire going out, don’t brake or turn abruptly but rather find level road with as wide a shoulder as possible. If possible, avoid pulling over at a curve where oncoming traffic won’t be able to see you. Turn on your hazard lights and engage your parking brake, and if you have your car’s owner’s manual, now is the time to consult it. 

To change your own tires, you’ll need these tools:

  1. Jack
  2. Lug wrench
  3. Fully inflated spare tire
  4. Wheel wedges
  5. 2×6” wood piece 
  1. Apply the Wheel Wedges and Remove the Hubcap

Wheel wedges go in front of or behind tires to stabilize the vehicle and keep it from rolling. If you’re changing a front tire, put the wedges behind the rear ones and vice versa. If you don’t have actual wheel wedges, large bricks will work too. 

Next, remove your hubcap with the flat end of your lug wrench, which will be easier to do before you’ve lifted your car with the jack. If your lug nuts are already exposed, you can skip to the next step. 

  1. Loosen the Lug Nuts

You can then use the lug wrench to turn your lug nuts counterclockwise, breaking their resistance. Loosen the nuts ¼ to ½ of a turn, but do not completely remove them yet. 

  1. Place the Jack

Put the jack under your car’s frame close to the flat tire. Some cars even have a place with exposed metal designed for the jack to rest against. Place the 2×6” piece of wood beneath the jack to keep it from collapsing under your car’s weight. When the jack is in the proper position, raise it until the flat tire is 6 inches above the ground. 

  1. Remove and Replace the Tire

Now you can completely remove the lug nuts. Then, holding the tire by the treads, pull it toward you until it comes away from the hub. Set it down on its side. 

Now you can put the spare on the hub by lining it up carefully and pushing gently until you see the bolts through the rim. Place the lug nuts back on the lug bolts and tighten them all the way around. 

  1. Lower Your Car

Use the jack to lower your vehicle so the spare tire rests lightly on the ground but does not support the car’s total weight. Then, tighten the lug nuts with the wrench by turning clockwise as far as you can, pushing down on the wrench with your body. Lower your car to the ground, remove the jack, and replace the hubcap. 

When to Wait for Help

If you cannot change your tire safely — if you couldn’t find a flat stretch of road or a wide enough shoulder or you don’t feel comfortable enough to change it competently — wait for help rather than attempting it yourself. 

City Auto Repair Will Never Tire of Being Your Guide 

It’s important to know how to change your own tire if the need arises, but routine maintenance is just as vital. The best way to get the most life out of your tires is to ensure they stay properly inflated, have sufficient tread, and are rotated regularly. At City Auto Repair, we’re passionate about keeping you and your family safe on the road through our expert tire services. Contact us today to set up an appointment so we can check your tires for you and rotate or replace them as needed.