How to Change a Flat Tire

At one point in your life, you're bound to run into a road hazard that will give you a flat. If you're in an area that doesn't have a shop nearby, knowing how to change your tire can save the day.

At the First Sign of Trouble — Pull Over

If your car starts to bounce and it isn't the road doing it, pull the car over immediately to a safe spot. If you have roadside assistance, you can call for help. Or you can try to do the job yourself.

Find Out What the Damage Is

You need to know how much damage has been done. If the tire looks even a little torn, you'll have to change it and replace it. If it doesn't look too bad, see if you can get to a service station to patch it up.

Start Fixing the Problem

Turn your hazard lights on and check to see that you have all the necessary parts: inflated spare tire, wrench, and a jack from the trunk.

Loosen the Nuts

Before you start doing anything else, you want to loosen the bolts that keep the wheel attached to the car — these are the lug nuts.

Jack Up the Car

Look at your manual or find the "magic spot" on your car where you need to place the jack. Using the jack, lift the car up until the tire no longer touches the ground.

Changing the Tire

Take the nuts off the wheel and remove it. You'll want to put the lug nuts inside the hubcap or rim for use later. Put the spare tire on the car.

Use the nuts from the regular wheel, put them on, and tighten them until the wrench no longer moves. Lower the car until the spare tire touches the ground, and tighten the nuts a little more. Make sure to keep going until the wrench literally can't turn anymore. This will take some strength and time. Remove the jack and place all of the equipment back in your trunk.

Spare Tire Now On

Congratulations! You have just changed your first tire and can do it again whenever needed. Remember that if you're driving with a doughnut tire (not the same size as your regular tire), you'll need to drive much slower and be more careful. A good rule of thumb is to not drive faster than 50 mph and be sure to get a new tire on the car as soon as possible.