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Change Own Flat Tire

  • Find a safe spot to pull over. Taking the nearest exit is safest if you’re on the freeway, even with a blown tire (just put on those hazard lights). If getting to an exit isn’t an option, pull as far onto the shoulder as possible and on a straight and flat stretch of road, not on a curve where cars may not be able to see you when coming around. Don’t park in the middle of a curve where approaching cars can’t see you. If you have a manual transmission, leave your car in gear. And don’t forget to set your parking brake!
  • Turn on your hazard lights. Get the lug wrench, jack, and spare tire from the trunk and bring them over to the tire that is flat.
  • Loosen the lug nuts with the wrench. “Loosen” is the operative word. Don’t remove the lug nuts yet; just loosen them by turning the wrench counter-clockwise (just remember “lefty loosy” “righty tighty”). If the lug nuts are extra tight, try placing the wrench on the nut and standing on the wrench arm to use your full weight on it. Hitting the wrench arm with a rock is also an option. Note: You may need to remove the hubcap (if your tire has one) to do all this.
  • Lift the vehicle off the ground with the jack. Consult your owner’s manual for the specific locations to place the jack as different models have different spots. Once the jack is securely in the correct spot, jack up the car until the tire is approximately 6 inches off the ground.
  • Remove the lug nuts and pull the tire off the car. NOW, you can remove the lug nuts. Put them all in one spot so you’re not missing one when you need to put them back on. Then pull the tire straight toward yourself to remove it from the wheel base.
  • Place the spare on the car. Line up the lug nut posts with the holes in the spare, and push the spare all the way onto the wheel base until it can’t go any farther.
  • Put on the lug nuts. But don’t tighten them all the way.
  • Lower the car back to the ground. Bing the car back down to ground level using the jack and then pull the jack out from underneath the car.
  • Tighten the lug nuts. Now that the car is on the ground, you can now tighten the lug nuts, but don’t tighten one all the way then move onto the next one. Start with one lug nut, tighten it about 50%, move to the opposite nut and tighten that one about the same amount. Keep tightening opposite lug nuts gradually in turn until each lug nut is as tight as it can be.
  • Put your flat tire and tools back in your trunk. Be sure you don’t leave anything on the side of the road.