How to Change a Flat Tire

How to Change A Flat Tire

Nothing stops you in your tracks quite like a flat tire. Slow leaks, abrupt punctures, and everything in between can leave you stranded on the side of the road with one less tire and one more problem. Although United Auto Insurance does offer roadside assistance, knowing how to change a tire is a valuable skill for any driver. 

Getting Off the Road

As soon as you notice the flat, it’s imperative you stop driving. Put on your hazard lights and pull over to the side of the road. Park the car somewhere flat, away from traffic, and easily visible to other drivers. Engage the parking brake and put on your hazards before getting out to assess the damage.

Find Spare Tire and Tools

Each car is different, but most spare tires are located under the mats in the trunk. When in doubt, consult your owner’s manual (or the internet). To change a flat tire, you need:

  • A spare tire
  • A jack
  • A lug wrench
  • The owner’s manual

Loosen the Lug Nuts

The first step of changing a tire is removing the hubcap. Then, use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts (big bolts that hold the tire to the wheel). Turn to the left to loosen. Don’t remove yet. Most lug nuts are on tight, so don’t be afraid to put some muscle into it. Always push the wrench downward instead of pulling up.

Use the Car Jack

Use the car jack from the tire kit to lift the wheel off the ground. Check the user’s manual for the proper place to put the jack; incorrect placement can damage the body of your car. Never put any part of your body under the jacked car. You only need a small gap between the road and the tire before getting to work.

Remove the Flat Tire

Once the car is on the jack, you can loosen and remove the rest of the lug nuts by hand. Hold on to the lug nuts – you’ll need them to install the spare. Then, just slide the flat tire off.

Install The Spare Tire

Line the spare tire up with the exposed lug bolts, and gently push it into place against the wheel. Grab the lug nuts and tighten each slowly by hand, until you can’t move them anymore. Don’t use the wrench yet.

Lower Your Vehicle and Tighten The Lug Nuts

Slowly lower the jack until the spare tire is on the ground, but the full weight of the car isn’t quite resting on the new tire. Use the lug wrench to tighten the lug nuts in a specific pattern to ensure the tire is on straight; tighten every other nut all the way around. If each bolt had a number, you would tighten 1, 3, 5, 2, 4, 1, 3, 5, 2, 4. Lower the car completely, do one final tighten, and you should be ready to go. Spare tires aren’t meant to travel long distances or at high speeds, so get to a professional as quickly as possible for tire replacement or repair.


Contact Us Today

United Auto Insurance has over 50 years of experience with flat tires and other car problems. Put yourself in good hands with our top quality, low cost car insurance and roadside assistance. Contact us today for a free quote.