Changing a flat tire is one of those life skills that everyone should know. It’s not difficult if you follow a few basic steps, have the right gear and know how to use it.
Flat tires often happen in inconvenient locations. Out on the road, you’ll need to find a safe spot to pull over to make the change. Or call a heavy towing service if you’re in a tractor trailer and see if they have the services you need. ‘Safe’ means well clear of traffic and preferably on a hard, level surface. If you find yourself stopped on soft ground and will be changing a flat tire, a piece of solid board is a handy item for sticking underneath the jack before you start lifting up the car.
First, you’ll need a few things when changing a flat tire:
First to changing a flat tire, you’ll need a spare, a wheel brace for loosening the lug nuts (or an appropriately sized socket with long handle) and a sturdy jack. It’s a good idea to carry a brick or chunk of wood as well. This can be wedged up against one of the wheels on the opposite side of the car for extra safety and stability.
This is especially important if the ground isn’t quite as level as you’d like. Again, f you find yourself stopped on soft ground there’s a few things you can do. A piece of solid board is a handy item for sticking underneath the jack before you start lifting up the car.
Lift up the vehicle:
Before you get started, activate your hazard lights, make sure the car is in Park and apply the handbrake. Look for the notches or grooves on the underside of the car – these are where the jack is safely placed. Once you’re happy with the stability of the vehicle and placement of the jack, start slowly turning the wheel brace until you’ve taken a bit of the weight off the flat tire. (Make sure there is still enough weight on the tire to allow you to loosen the wheel nuts without inadvertently spinning the wheel.
Loosen the wheel nuts and remove the flat tire:
Getting stubborn wheel nuts to loosen up is less about brute force and more about using proper technique.
Getting stubborn wheel nuts to loosen up is less about brute force and more about using proper technique. Once you’ve got the wheel brace onto one of the nuts, use a quick anti-clockwise ‘jolt’ to loosen it. Face the wheel and keep both your arm and your back straight. Don’t let the brace slip off the nut. Go around and loosen each nut in turn. The trick is to keep the wheel brace more or less horizontal to the ground and let your body weight do most of the work.
Once all the nuts have been loosened, use the jack to continue lifting the car. Get it high enough off the ground to allow for putting the new wheel on. If the flat is suspended an inch or two above the ground, this is usually sufficient. Don’t lift the car any more than you need to. To remove the old tire, take off all the wheel nuts and carefully lift the wheel from the vehicle.
Put on the new tire:
Grab your bright, shiny new wheel from its recess in the boot and position it up against the wheel assembly. Line up the wheel holes first so you can lift it straight onto the car in one go without twisting and fiddling. Once the wheel is up and in position, screw on all the lug nuts and hand-tighten. You don’t want to tighten them all the way at this stage. Wait for full tightening until the car is down off the jack and completely stable.
Lower the car and remove the jack.
Brought to you by Horse Towing Company