How to change a flat tire – Getting down and dirty (Pt. 2)

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This continues our exploration of how to change a flat tire. If you missed the beginning of this article or would like to review, CLICK HERE for changing a tire part one.

How to change a flat tire: Get loose, then pry and jack

Before continuing this how to change a flat tire tutorial, make sure your vehicle is in park and the emergency brake is set. Once the hubcap is off, use your wrench to loosen the lug nuts holding on the tire. This will require some brute force, but you can use the spray lubricant on the nuts to help. Don’t remove the nuts yet, though.

Place your wooden blocks to secure the other tires if you have them. Now you’re ready to use your jack to elevate the frame of the car off the ground just enough so that the flat tire can be removed and the new tire can be attached. Most jacks that come with a car require you use the tire iron to crank the end of the jack in a clockwise motion to achieve elevation. If you have a pneumatic foot jack, your job is somewhat easier in that you simply need to pump it with your foot or hands rather than using full-on elbow grease. Try to find the thickest, flattest possible metal surface on the underside of the car body near the wheel well of the flat tire. That’s the metal contact surface where you want your jack to lift, in an area where it is least likely to slip and drop the car on top of you.

Liftoff and removal

At this point, you’ve elevated the flat tire and are ready for removal. Use the tire iron to remove the lug nuts. Since you’ve loosened them already and the tire is off the ground, this will be rather easy. Once the nuts are off, set them nearby in a place where they won’t roll away. Remove the flat tire by pulling the tire and wheel straight toward you as you’re facing the tire. Now take your inflated spare, match the empty holes in the wheel with the exposed wheel bolts and slide it on. If you have trouble lining up the spare, try balancing it on your foot while you get it into position.

Back to the nuts

With the spare all the way on (flush against the brake hub), put the lug nuts back on by hand until they’re snug. You’ll tighten them further with the tire iron at the end. Next, use the tire iron to lower the jack so that the vehicle rests safely on the pavement once more. Once there is clearance, remove the jack, then take the tire iron and use it to tighten down the lug nuts. Tighten them as much as possible, but don’t kill yourself. Put away the tools, get cleaned up, and you’re ready to go!

FINAL NOTE: If the spare you’ve put on your vehicle is a small-sized temporary spare, do not drive faster than 50 mph, and try to obtain a full-sized replacement spare as soon as you’re able.

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