Imagine you are going out on vacation with your car, and in the middle of the road, your tires blow. The place is like no man’s land, so surely you won’t get any help from others. To avoid this situation, you need to know how to change a flat tire.
For replacing you need some efficient precautions. It is not that difficult to do. Even you do not need any muscle power. In short, you should always be prepared for this situation and do not leave without taking extra tires with you.
To know how to replace a tire properly, you do not have to spend your time sitting alone on the roadside. Also, it will save you money. Just gather some tire changing tools and an excellent flat tire, then follow the below steps.
Tools You Will Need
- A portable jack (it is designed to hook into the bottom of the car to lift it right up)
- A tire iron (it is used to jack the car up and take the bolts off)
- A spare tire
- Lug bolts
- Safety equipment
- A tire pressure gauge
- An air compressor
- Lug wrench
- Lug nuts
- Wheel chocks
- Scissor jack
- Wheel wedges
- Vehicle owner’s manual
Some car company freely provides those items when you brought a car from them. But if you did not get it, you should buy those items and store them properly.
Process and Steps of How to Change a Flat Tire
Changing the flat tire requires different steps and processes according to different specialists. Here are some simple steps I have found to replace them. Check step by step how to change a flat tire below:
Find a Safe Place
When the tire blows and you are in the middle of nowhere or the middle of traffic, do not immediately brake or a quick drive. Just low down your speed, find the safest place, and park your car. The ground should be flat and not slippery.
Take the car at the side of the road as it is safe there. Because if you are at a side of the road, people can overtake you being in the middle avoiding unnecessary accidents.
Asking for roadside assistance doesn’t always help, so you need your own pair of hands for that. Remove obstacles from there and turn on the emergency light in your car so other people will know and won’t bump you.
An ideal place for changing a tire is a parking spot, but if you do not find it near, make the spot comfortable for you. Do not park your car in a muddy or soft place.
After parking your car, apply the parking brake; otherwise, the vehicle may roll. For more safety, put a heavy object or wheel wedges in front and behind the tires so that your car won’t move when you are changing the tires.
Take Out the Spare Tire, Jack and Tire Iron
The most commonplace of keeping your spare tire is underneath the floor of the boot.it is also the perfect place for your tools.
You can use different automotive tools for doing the job. Now grab the tools and take them around the flat tire also take out the spare tire too.
Check out the status of the tire pressure before removing it. If the air is in and it is going out, you should take safety measures with a spare tire.
You need to unscrew the tire first so that you can take the tire out. So, when you have got the tools and spare tire, go to the next step.
Remove the Wheel Cover and Loosen the Lugs
Now you have to remove the wheel lug with the tire iron. The lugs are very tight, so you have to give brute force on the tire iron to loosen it.
Just twist the tire iron clockwise and counter-clockwise to lose the lugs properly. Use the lug wrench with the proper jack handle, because a lot of power may need to do the job efficiently.
You do not need to remove the lugs, just lose them is OK. You should do it before raising the car with your jack; otherwise, they won’t come off in the wheel. After that, go to the next part.
Rise Your Car with The Jack
The next part is to locate the jacking point. The different car has a different spot for this. You can check the user manual of your vehicle to find the place. Raise the jack when necessary to make the proper movement of it.
You can use different items like scissor jack, car jack, and other items for lifting the car. For dummies, choosing the item is important with reading the user manual.
So, if the point is just behind the front tires of wheels, slide the jack underneath then start twisting it up by hand. Remember, before doing it, wear hand gloves to hold the jack handle properly.
You will get a little slot there in the jack in between the mounting point of the car. The jack should be good quality and straight on the floor, not in an angle.
Grab the iron tire and hook properly. Start jacking there like clockwise, you can do it a couple of different ways, but the best approach is to grab the handle, twist it around the opposite direction so you can wind it with your both hands. Keep spinning the jack, and your car will rise but lifting.
How to Change a Flat Tire Steps of Removing
After finish jacking up the car from the ground, make the jack as safe as it can. Now remove the wheel nuts just like you loosen the lug nuts before. Spin the nuts with the iron tire and remove the lug nuts properly.
It’s really a good idea if you put them altogether off to the side, so you do not forget where you put the nuts, and you can quickly put them back.
Now remove the wheel and get a good position in there. Use your hands and lift and pull the same time and pull the wheel off. Changing the tire for dummies requires some simple jobs.
Install the Spare Tire
When you got the wheel off, you will see a disc brake and a strut tower. Also, you will see wheel studs that bolt the motor to the car. Now grab the spare wheel and put it there.
Make sure it is facing the right position. Just lift the rare tire into place properly. You can use your foot to balance the rear tire. In case if you still cannot place the tire in the right position, raise the car a little up with the jack.
After that, screw the wheel nuts back in the place. At this point, put them in with your hand. Screw them at the same time so that they do not fall off.
Although you cannot tighten them by hand, grab your tire iron, and snug the wheel nuts. Do not over-tighten it, just snug the wheel up to the car.
Lower the Car and Tighten the Lugs
It’s time to lower the car down. So, grab your hook rod, connect the tire iron, and drop the car back to the ground. When your vehicle settles down on the ground, take out the jack.
Now the most relevant job is, tighten the wheel nuts. An essential fact that you set the nuts in a star pattern, so you have to tighten the lug nuts sweet and square, and it does not wrap your disk.
If you tighten the nuts with a torque wrench (whether it is lug wrench or other), they will tighten correctly. But you cannot use it here, so a pure tire iron is OK.
Now it’s time to reinstall the center cup of the wheel. If the spare does not have one, maybe you can get it from your flat rear tire.
Grab the tire iron, use the bottom of it gently. Tap it from the inside, and it should pop right out. Once it pops out, reinstall the cap-like punch it into the place. Put all the tools back in the box and put it all back the trunk.
See an Info-graphic on Replacing Flat Tire
Some FAQ and Answers on Changing Flat Tires
In different forums and blog section, I have seen many questions on changing wheels tires and body parts. Some of the questions haven’t answered precisely to give proper ideas. Here I am going to discuss queries.
How Long Does It Take to Change a Flat Tire?
If it is the first time for you to replace a flat tire then understanding the time and effort is important for the people to know what time it takes
In general, changing a tire usually takes about 30 minutes especially for changing a flat tire. For the beginner, it will take almost 40 minutes or more, although it also depends on the place and situation. But do not hurry to change because you may not be able to install the spare properly.
You should inspect the car and its tire once in a month and every time before you leave for a long ride.
How Much to Change a Flat Tire?
Changing a flat tire requires a new tire and other equipment you suppose to have. Repairing a flat tire will require $15 to 35. While changing the car tire will cost 50$ to 70$ depending on the car tire you require and your effort.
If you do not own essential equipment, you will need more money to replace the tire.
How Far Can You Drive on a Flat Tire?
When your tire blows up, you should immediately search for a perfect place to park your car. The first thing is you need to lower the speed and drive smoothly.
Do not do any hard brake or ride long; otherwise, the rim of the wheel will get damaged soon. Sometimes you won’t get any notification of a flat tire.
But you will eventually know your tire has a leak. Do not get worried, just find the nearest safe place to park.
You can drive hundreds of yards with a flat tire, so you should park the car not more than the range. If you cannot find any place in this range, you can roll the vehicle until you reached any safest place.
It is recommended that do not entirely damage the car tire because a flat tire can be repairable.
How to Change a Flat Tire on a Truck
Changing the flat tire on a truck is a little different as it is heavier than a car. So, you need a different approach and equipment for the process of truck tire changing.
Important Tools for Truck Tire Changing
- Jack and drivers
- Lug wrench for changing lugs
- Nut drivers
- Flashlight and batteries to drive them
- Hand gloves and other safety equipment
- Poncho and wheel wedges
- Manual of the truck you own
Guidelines for Changing Truck Tires
Trucks are heavier and using different items to replace the wheel ensures you need some different items and techniques. Here are the guides you need to check for changing the truck tire and wheel:
- Put the truck on a flat hard surface before changing the tire.
- If you are on the road and need immediate change to go on either side and pick an even spot.
- Use wheel wedges to stuck the tire of the truck from moving as it is safe.
- Turn on the light, especially the hazard light of the truck to see the things clearly of the wheel areas.
- Turn on the parking brake so that the tire doesn’t start moving while changing it.
- Use a screwdriver set to apply lubricant and oil so that the nuts start to move smoothly.
- Set the lug wrench on the lug nuts and move reverse clockwise to loosen them.
- When all the nut loosens up, you now need to replace the wheel.
- Use a fitting jack or tire changing jack to light up the truck and then change the wheel.
- Use a rare tire and set them in the section of a tire and replace it.
How to Fix a Flat Tire
Sometimes you may forget to take spare tires when you are going out. In that case, you need to fix the flat tire; otherwise, you have to wait until anyone comes for you to help, or go back to your home by walking (seems very difficult when you are far away).
So, it is essential to learn some ways to fix a flat tire. To know how to fix a tire, follow the below steps,
Find the Leak
If your tire goes flat because of leaks, locate the leaks by taking a closer look. Inspect if there is any cut or sharp object in your tire. Remove them slowly so that it won’t do any damage further.
But if there is no visible object, inflate the tire and see if there is any hissing sound. Even better, get a bottle of water and pour some water all over the tire then, when you find the leak, you will see the air coming out in small bubbles.
You can buy a tire repair kit that comes with some repair and plug tools.
Loosen the Lugs and Rise Your Car
After finding the leakage, lose the lug nuts of the wheel and jacking up the car. You can not fix the tire without removing it, so a jack stand is essential to support your car until you fix the tire and easy access to the leaks.
Clean the Leakage Area and Insert the Plug
Once remove the flat tire, sit comfortably and remove all the nuts altogether. After that, you have to remove the nail, so get a pair of pliers so you can pick the nails and pull it out.
After pulling out the nails, get the reaming tools, and stick it into the holes back and forth a few times until you see some rubber material comes out. Make the hole big enough so that you can force the plug tool into the hole ultimately.
Set Another Plug
Grab a rubber plug from a repair kit that looks like a fat yarn. Now get the plug tool, you need to plug into the crack like a needle. You can use a screwdriver to open the break and push it through the crack. Apply some rubber cement on the plug.
Go back to the tire, pull out the reamer, and insert the plug halfway through it. Then pull out the plug tool, and the leak is sealed. Cut off the extra plug. Also, the additional plug material will flatten down when you drive the road.
Inflate the Tire
After settling the leak, inflate the tire with proper air pressure. Pour soapy water in the leak area one more time to make sure the hole is completely sealed. Leave the tire to dry with the leaks.
Remember, it is not a permanent solution because, inside the tire, there are steel wires, so if the whole were not sealed properly, water would get into the tire, and the cables will start to rust. So, you should go to the repair shop immediately before having significant damage.
Flat Tire Repair Cost
You can repair the tire not more than $20 to 30$. Some tire company provides free repairing if you buy a tire from them. Also, the toolbox will not cost you much.
But it is recommended that you be a pro so you can repair or change the tire anytime anywhere without getting any hazards.