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Flat Tires for First-Timers: How to Change a Tire

Chances are, at some point in your life you will have to change a tire.

However, if you are like 81% of Americans, you don’t know how to. Rather than rely on roadside assistance to save the day, learning this simple skill can save you time, money, and the headache of having to wait.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about changing flat tires.

The Tools You’ll Need

Most vehicles come with everything you need to fix flat tires. However, there are some things you might want to add to your emergency kit for convenience. Typically, you will have the following:

  • Owner’s manual
  • Spare tire
  • Carjack
  • Wrench

Some people like to keep flares, a pressure gauge, gloves, or an impact wrench handy. Are you asking, “What is an impact wrench?” It is a tool that helps with removing lug nuts.

How to Fix a Flat

With all the right tools, fixing a flat tire is straightforward.

1. Safety First

When you realize you have a flat tire, don’t panic.

Turn on your hazard lights and slowly reduce your speed. Next, move off the main road. Never change a tire in oncoming traffic or where there is a small or nonexistent shoulder.

If possible, pull into a parking lot or a side street. Try to park on a level surface, engage the parking brake, and turn off your engine. Next, you will need to find your spare tire and all the tools listed above.

2. Loosen Your Lug Nuts

Remove your hubcap before engaging your jack. Then using your wrench, turn each lug nut counterclockwise to loosen. Do not completely remove them until your vehicle is lifted.

3. Use a Jack

Place the jack beneath your vehicle along the same side as the flat tire. If you glance under your car, you will see a flat area designed for this purpose. You can also look in your owner’s manual for proper jack placement.

Once the jack is in place, turn the handle clockwise until there are about six inches between your flat tire and the ground. Avoid putting any part of your body under the vehicle while it is lifted.

4. Removing Flat Tires

Since you loosened them, removing lug nuts by hand should be easy. Make sure to put them in a safe place. Then remove the flat tire and set it aside.

5. Put on the Spare

Lift the spare tire onto the car and then replace the lug nuts. Make sure to get them as tight as possible by hand, before lowering your vehicle to the ground. Finish securing the lug nuts with your wrench and replace the hubcap.

Store all your equipment, including flat tires. If you have a tire pressure gauge, then check the pressure of the spare before hitting the road. If not, head to the nearest gas station and top up your air as needed.

Changing Flat Tires

The process for changing flat tires is quite simple. Make sure you are in a safe place, have all the tools you need, and use common sense. Before you know it, your tire will be switched out and you’ll be on your way.

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