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Changing Your Own Tire
Meagan McCann

You’re on your way to work, a family BBQ, or home for the evening when your car starts steering unusually. You pull over to see what is wrong and to your dismay, you have a flat. Forgot your cell? Can’t find anyone to come and help? It’s alright—you can change the tire yourself. Here’s how:

Step 1: Pull over Park completely off the road so you are not in the flow of traffic. Try to stop on a straightaway so that you can easily be seen by other cars. Also, make sure to stop on a flat road to prevent your car from rolling. Make sure to turn your hazard lights on and even pop your hood so people know you are doing a car repair. Step 2: Retrieve your tools You will need your spare tire, a jack, and a lug wrench. You can also use tire blocks, gloves and a flashlight if you have them. If you have gloves, put them on. If you have blocks, place them under the opposite tire. Step 3: Remove hubcap and loosen lug nuts Some cars will have hubcaps and others will not. It is fairly simple to remove these but check your owner’s manual for specifics. Use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts. (Remember: “Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey”.) Do not take them completely off but do loosen them while the tire is still on the ground. This step is very important, as they will not likely come off if the tire is already jacked up. Step 4: Jack it up! Usually the spot to place your jack will be behind the front tires or in front of the back tires. However, be sure not to do it too close to the edge of the car. If you place it on the frame, the pressure will cause it to crack. Your owner’s manual will have the specific location for your car. Once the jack is placed correctly, raise it up until the tire is at least 8 inches off of the ground. Do not stop too soon because the spare tire will be more inflated than the flat and will not go on if the car isn’t elevated enough. Step 5: Take it off Unscrew the lug nuts completely and set them aside—you will still need them later. Remove the wheel by grabbing the back of the tire and pulling it off. Put the spare tire on the wheel well and align the holes with the bolts. Push the tire as far back as it will go. Place lug nuts on the bolts and tighten them. (Once again: “Right-tighty, lefty-loosey”.) Step 6: Lower and tighten Lower the jack until the car is completely on the ground and you can remove the jack. Tighten all the bolts until they will no longer turn. If spare is a “doughnut,” fix and replace with a tire as soon as possible. Finally, congratulate yourself! You changed your own tire!