While driving a car can be fun having a flat is not. But this is what sooner or later every driver has to deal with. Is is a good idea for any driver to be familiar with the procedure of changing a tire in case no help is available. Here is a full step by step procedure with all the necessary safety measures.

When you need to change tires

  • In case of a flat
  • When tires need to be rotated
  • To swap winter and all seasons tires

Why do it yourself

  • To be familiar with the procedure if you ever have a flat
  • To save money

Tools you need

  • Car jack
  • Jack

  • Wrench
  • Wrench

  • Safety triangle (if you change your tire in traffic)

You need to be familiar with the place where these are stored in your car. You might need to do this sometimes at night on dark roads and possibly in rain.

How to prepare the car for a safe job

  1. Find a solid and level surface where the car cannot roll
  2. Apply the parking brake with the transmission in parking (P) position with an automatic transmission or in first gear with a standard transmission
  3. Place the safety triangles at the back and possibly the front of the car
  4. It is a good idea to block two wheels (front while you work on the rear or rear if you work ona front tire) with a brick or a piece of wood
  5. You might want to place the spare tire under the car close to the jack support to prevent an accident if the jack fails
  6. While using the jack be sure at every moment that it lifts straight and that the car is stable
  7. All the time pay attention to the surrounding traffic

Removing the old tire

  1. Place the jack at the right spot under the jack place. Check under your car, the jack place should be clearly visible and made of solid metal.
  2. Jack support

  3. Crank the jack until it supports the weight of the car but it is not lifting it off the ground
  4. Crank

  5. Depending on the car model the hubcap can be removed before or only after the nuts are removed
  6. Hubcap

  7. Loosen the nuts (counterclockwise). At this stage the wheel should be on the ground so when you force the nuts the wheel won’t spin. You may need to use considerable force to loosen the nuts.
  8. Crank the jack some more until the car is lifted just enough to remove the old tire and place the new tire or the doughnut spare on.
  9. Remove the lug nuts. Place them somewhere safe – you don’t want them rolling into a sewage manhole.
  10. Lug nut

  11. On a car like this Honda Odyssey you will remove the hubcap at this moment
  12. Remove the old tire and place it under the car to prevent a jack failure

Installing the new tire

  1. Place the new tire or the spare on the wheel hub being careful to align the bolts with the holes in the rim.
  2. Tire on hub

  3. Place back the hubcap if it is supported by the lug nuts
  4. Tighten the nuts by hand carefully not to mess the threads
  5. Tighten all the nuts in a star pattern (don’t tighten two neighbor nuts one after the other) until they are all tight. Don’t over tighten them at this moment to avoid moving the car too much while it is on the jack
  6. Lower the car to the ground with the weight still supported by the jack
  7. Tighten the lug nuts as hard as possible
  8. Tighten

  9. Fully lower the car to the ground
  10. Check to see if the nuts need more tightening and on some cars replace the hubcap
  11. Place the tools in their compartment and the flat tire in the car.
  12. Tools

  13. To avoid the jack from moving around int he compartment you can tighten it a bit
  14. Jack fit

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