Learning how to change a tire like a pro might not sound all that important to you until as a car owner, you are driving and then unexpectedly, you get that lumpy, bumpy, swerve feeling as a result of a flat tire. It’s even worse if you are coming home from a late night event and the least of the things you want to deal with is a flat tire.
If you cannot reach your car mechanic easily, or you can’t call for help at that moment, you might have no choice than to fix it yourself. You should know that the longer you continue to drive with that flat tire; you are damaging your axle, wheel, alignment and other things in your car.
And this is not to mention that the car can fishtail and get out of control if you don’t stop driving. But not to worry; we have simplified the mystery shrouding fixing a tire so that you (regardless of your gender) can fix it like a pro.
Here’s what to do to easily change your tire
Safely get off the road
You should pull over to the safe side of the road to avoid obstructing other drivers or putting you and your car in harm’s way. Also, ensure that the ground is flat and solid to prevent your car from rolling. The next thing is to get out your warning devices and hazard lights and place them some steps away from your car. This will alert other drivers of your situation so that they don’t bump into you.
Apply the right gear and parking brakes
You should endeavor to apply the right gear to prevent your car from rolling. If you are using automatic transmission, you should use “Park”, or choose reverse or 1st gear if your car is of a manual transmission. Once you have confirmed that the ground is flat or level enough and you are safely away from other motorists, proceed to the next step.
Chock the tires
Look for a piece of wood or rock which you will use in chocking the tires from moving. You can place the wood or rock behind any of the good tires.
Take out your tools and tires
Once you have chocked the tire, you can then get the jack from the trunk of your car (we are supposing that you have a jack in your car). Place the jack underneath your car frame and close to the flat tire that needs to be replaced. Confirm that the jack has made contact with the frame and then get the spare tire which should be in good condition and move to the next step.
Raise the jack and loosen the nuts
Start rotating the jack handle so that it supports your car. Don’t lift the car off the ground so that you don’t end up with a turning wheel. How to tell that you have done a good job is if the flat tire is still touching the ground but not supporting the car. Then pop off the hub cap and go ahead to loosen the lug nuts with your wrench.
You may need to apply extra force to be able to loosen the nuts since they were tightly fixed initially for your safety. Loosen the nuts counter-clockwise. If the car is shaky or shimmies while you do this, you can go back to the jack and lower it to the point where the car is no longer shaking but is still supported by the jack.
Remove the flat tire
After loosening the nuts, it’s time to lift the car off the ground. Go back to the jack and turn the handle to lift the car then carefully remove the flat tire. Place the removed tire under your car just in case the jack gives way so that your car won’t fall flat on the ground but on the flat tire.
Place the spare tire
It’s time to slide in the spare tire to replace the flat tire. Make sure the tire is properly aligned with the hub and then put back the lug nuts and tighten them with your hands. When the nuts feel tight and can no longer move, check that all the nuts are equally tight.
Remove the jack and tighten the nuts
Now that you are done tightening with your hands, go back to the jack and rotate it until the car is completely supported by the tires and no longer the jack. Remove the jack, and go in with your wrench to tighten the lug nuts the more.
Make sure that you tighten the nuts completely so that it doesn’t loosen and fall off while driving so that you don’t endanger your life and that of others. One tip to give your nuts the belt-tightening is to use your foot when you are done with your hand.
Step on the wrench in the same direction your hands were moving until the nuts can no longer move. Remember to replace the hub you removed initially except it doesn’t fit your spare tire.
Store your tools
You need to store the jack, the warning signs, the hub if unused, the wrench as well as the flat tire back into the trunk of your car. You will most certainly need the jack and wrench again, while the flat tire can be taken to a tire maintenance shop for repairs.
Now that you know how to change a tire like a pro it doesn’t end there. You need to check the pressure of the spare tire to be sure that it has the right air pressure or drive it to a service station to get it topped. And remember that a spare tire is exactly what it is – a spare.
It is not meant to replace your car tire on full time. You only need to use it temporarily for emergencies such as when you have a flat. You must replace the spare with a new tire or put back the repaired flat tire.
One important safety tip you should take away from this piece is that you should always check your tires for leaks, threads and wears to reduce the chances of it going flat or pulling off while you are driving to an important event.