How to Change A Flat Tire

flat tire car

I was on my way back to college for my sophomore year — windows open, music blaring. Oh, it was a good day! I couldn’t wait to reunite with all my friends! Suddenly there was a bang and a clatter, and my car pulled to the left. A tire blew.

I limped over to the side of the road and sat there. “OK, no biggie. You know how to change a tire,” I thought. I got out, went to open the back of my car, and realized that my spare tire was underneath all my possessions. I had a hatchback, and it was loaded to the brim.

I set about unloading my car so I could get to the tire and jack. That accomplished, I stood staring at my car, mentally rehearsing what I had been taught. Then, with my characteristic tongue between my lips that comes from intense concentration, I began my first ever, real-life tire change.

Step 1: Get the hubcap off. This is usually easily pried off with your fingers.

Step 2: Loosen the lug nuts on the tire. Take the tire iron and fit the round end of it around the lug nut. Remember “lefty loosy” — turn to left (aka: counterclockwise) to loosen.

If the lug nuts are too tight, place the tire iron around the lug nut, horizontal to the ground and pointing left. Stand on it (make sure you brace yourself against the car). Your weight will usually help loosen the lug nut.

Step 3: Place your jack under the frame of the car on the side near the tire you are working on. You owner’s manual should show you the safest place to put this. If you do not have the manual, find the thin lip of your car frame and fit the jack under it. Slowly raise your car, just enough to have the tire clear the ground by a couple of inches. (Your car does not have to be high at all).

Step 4: Remove the loosened lug nuts.

Step 5: Take the tire off — pull straight out towards you.

Step 6: Place the spare tire on your car in the opposite way that you took it off. (Note: Your spare tire will probably be smaller than your usual tire. This is the right tire to put on even if it looks horribly wrong!)

Step 7: Place the lug nuts back on and screw them loosely into place.

Step 8: Slowly lower your car to the ground.

Step 9: Tighten up the lug nuts with the tire iron. Remember, “righty tighty” (a.k.a., clockwise).

Step 10: Replace the hub cap. It should snap back into place.

Because your spare tire is smaller than the rest of your tires, you’re going to want to replace it as soon as possible with a regular tire.

Congratulations! You just learned how to change a flat tire. Hopefully you don’t have to unload and reload your entire car when the day comes to use your knowledge!

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