So, you just got your car back from a routine check-up, and you’re ready to hit the road. You start your journey knowing that everything is working in pristine condition, and when you least expect it, tragedy strikes! Suddenly you find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire and a headache. In reality, having a flat tire is far from a tragedy, and there’s no need to panic. As a matter of fact, it’s a quick fix as long as you have a basic understanding of how to change a tire on a car and the right equipment at your disposal.
We wrote an easy-to-follow guide, so, read along if you want to avoid unnecessary panicking and those nasty headaches.
Let’s start by talking about what kind of equipment should be by your side at all times, especially when heading out on a long drive.
- Car jack
- Spare tire
- Reflective warning triangle
- Flashlight with spare batteries
- Heavy-duty Gloves
- Wheel wedge (a large piece of rock will suffice)
The first 3 items on this list are not a commodity, they are a necessity. Without them, changing your tire is an impossible task. The rest of the items are pretty useful to have, especially a flashlight if you’re driving during the night. Another thing to keep in mind is to routinely check the pressure in your spare tire. Using a deflated spare tire won’t get you far.
How to Change a Spare Tire on the Fly
You might be asking yourself – how long does it take to change a tire, and can you do it by yourself? As long as you have a basic understanding of what you’re doing, changing a tire shouldn’t last more than 30 minutes. That being said, you can practice in your own garage or backyard to get a sense of how long it takes.
- Once you notice you have a puncture in your tire, slowly reduce the speed of your vehicle and look for a safe place to park.
- Apply the parking brake, turn on your hazard lights, and place the wheel wedge or rock closely against the vehicle’s opposite wheel to ensure it doesn’t start moving while you’re changing the tire.
- Use the wrench to remove the hubcap (if your particular model has one) and loosen the lug nuts but don’t remove them. This is probably the most physically demanding part of the process, so don’t hesitate to use force and your body as leverage.
- Position the car jack underneath the car, alongside the flat tire. If you have your owner’s manual at hand, consult it for where to place the jack precisely. Insert the jack handle into the jack and turn it clockwise to raise the vehicle. To this carefully and slowly.
- Proceed to unscrew the lug nuts completely and remove the flat tire. Set it safely on the side where it doesn’t disturb traffic and make sure it doesn’t roll away.
- Mount the spare tire and install the lug nuts by hand. Make sure the tire is centered and start lowering the vehicle.
- Lower the vehicle to the point where the spare tire is just barely touching the ground. Take the wrench and tighten the lug nuts as much as possible.
- If applicable, put the hubcap back into place or stow it in your trunk with the rest of the equipment.
Pack your stuff and presto, you’re ready to go. We highly recommend driving to the nearest tire technician to repair or replace your flat tire.
Need more advice on how to repair your car on the go? Follow our blog, where we regularly cover topics such as road safety and general driving tips. If your car breaks down and you’re not sure what to do, call our emergency helpline, and we’ll send you someone to help you out!