"Flat Tire" by Gerlach - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flat_Tire.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Flat_Tire.JPGIf you own a vehicle it is crucial that you understand how to properly change a flat. It is inevitable that you will face the situation at one point or another during ownership. To help you understand the basic steps, we have outlined them in layman terms below.

  1. Make sure that you have the proper equipment. Regardless of what type of vehicle you have, you will need the following:
    • Spare tire, or donut,
    • Jack
    • Lug wrench
  2. Park your vehicle on a flat surface. If you find yourself stranded alongside the highway move your vehicle as far away from traffic as possible and to as flat surface as you can find. It is vital that you pull your emergency brake and even use a block or rock to prevent your vehicle from slipping forward.
  3. Take off the hubcap. Not all vehicles have hubcaps, but if yours does you will need to remove it before you can change the tire. This process involves using the lug wrench.
  4. Once you have removed the hubcap you can now loosen the lug nuts in order to change the tire. Simply place the wrench on top of the nuts and remember, lefty loosey and righty tighty. You may have to put in a little bit of elbow grease to loosen the nuts at first.
  5. Put the Jack underneath your vehicle. It is a good idea to first consult with the owner’s manual to see the proper placement for your jack. If you have a manual jack you will need to turn the handcrank until the jack reaches your vehicle. It also is important to make sure that the jack comes in contact with the sturdiest part of your vehicle’s frame.
  6. Remove the flat. After you remove the lug nuts, you can then place the tire flat on the ground to keep it from rolling into traffic.
  7. Line up your spare tire with the lug nut holes and simply tighten the lug nuts on to the tire as far as you can get them.
  8. Lower your vehicle. Manually lower your vehicle back down with the jack and then tighten the lug nuts once again. This will prevent any accidents from happening.

And that is how you change a tire!