Written by Logan Heiby
September 28, 2016
All across the United States there are approximately 220 million flat tires a year. (Not exactly a bad number if you are a tire salesman). It is estimated that every driver will have at least 5 flat tires in their lifetime, which could amount to a lot of time sitting on the side of a road or in the ditch.
Lucky for you, below you will find 6 simple steps on how to change a tire so you can learn to be a pro. (Please note that learning the following content will in no way, shape, or form, make you qualified to be working in a Nascar pit stop.)
First, you will want to make sure that your vehicle is on flat, stable, and safe ground. On an incline? Start pushing! You really don’t want your car to roll away when you try to change the tire. Once your vehicle is on flat, stable, and safe ground, just put it in park and pull the parking brake. For extra precaution, put a wedge or something heavy in front of and behind the tires that are not being changed.
It’s time to get out your jack and spare tire. You will need to place the jack on the car’s metal frame so you can jack it up. Seems legit. Keyword: metal. Absolutely do not, I repeat DO NOT try to jack up the car with the jack on the plastic. It will break. (Personal experience). After making contact with metal, raise the jack up–but not too high–you want the tire to still touch the ground.
Remove the hubcap and loosen the lug nuts. To do this, you can use a standard wrench that came with your car. The key is to break the tension on the lug nuts and do not take them completely off. If you want to be an overachiever, always keep a breaker bar and a socket that fits your lug nuts in your car. Next, lift the jack up so the tire is completely off the ground, while also making sure your vehicle is still stable.
Now it’s out with the old and in with the new! Place the flat tire under your vehicle just in case the jack would fall. Put the new tire on the hub and align the wheel bolts. IMPORTANT: Do not put the tire on backwards. Seems simple, but some people actually do it wrong. Make sure that the valve stem is facing outwards from the vehicle, and you’ll be ready to roll shortly.
Once you know that the tire is on (and on the right way), start to put the lug nuts on by hand. Keep threading them on until it becomes too difficult. During the tightening process, always work in a star formation so that the tire is balanced and put on correctly.
Once your hands are in great pain from tightening and you cannot tighten the lug nuts any more, just take your wrench and tighten them again. Remember to use the star formation. You will want the lug nuts tight, but do not go Hulk-mode because it might cause the jack to tip. Once you have the tire secure, you can lower the jack. Do not put the full weight of the vehicle on the tire, yet. Tighten the lug nuts once more, lower the jack, and finally remove it.
Finally, put the hubcap back on and place the old tire in your vehicle so it can be properly discarded or repaired. Once completed, give yourself a pat on the back and a cheat day on your diet because YOU JUST CHANGED A TIRE, Y’ALL.