It’s bound to happen to every driver sooner or later. You’re driving somewhere with a lot on your mind and then bam! Your vehicle pulls to one side and you can hear that dreaded flopping sound of a flat tire. While it’s true that most drivers have a roadside assistance service that can arrive and repair your flat tire, it is smart to know how to change one yourself. You never know when you might be in a situation where there is no roadside assistance available.
Here are the basics:
1. Ensure that your vehicle is parked on a flat surface and that you are visible and safe. Put on your parking brake and turn on your emergency blinkers.
2. Remove the hubcap and loosen the lug nuts with a tire iron. Do not remove the lug nuts just yet.
3. Place the jack under the sturdiest part of your car frame. Check your owners manual to be sure you are placing it in the correct spot. Turn the crank until it makes contact with the underside of your car frame.
4. Continue to crank the jack until the tire is elevated enough off the ground to be removed easily. Do not allow your arm or leg to be underneath your car while it is on the jack.
5. Now you can finish removing the lug nuts, placing them in the hub cap to keep them together. Pull off the flat tire.
6. Place your spare tire onto the wheels studs and then replace the lug nuts. Ensure they are as tight as possible.
7. Lower the jack so that your vehicle is resting on the tires and finish tightening the lug nugs in a cross or star pattern.
8. Drive slowly on your spare tire for as small amount of time as possible until you can get it replaced with a standard tire.
Remember that compact spare tires have a limited top speed, which should be written on the sidewalls of the tire. They also have a limited road life, so be sure to get to your repair shop soon and get a full-size tire installed.
You may want to familiarize yourself with this procedure, parts and tools involved for your vehicle before you get a flat tire, so that you won’t have to learn off the side of the street in the pouring rain or in the dark.
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