FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO CHANGE YOUR TIREBeing the driver who doesn’t know how to change a tire when you’re stranded on the side of the road is never the person you want to be. Here are step-by-step instructions for you to be able to change your tire quickly and efficiently so you can get back on the road again.
WHAT YOU NEED TO CHANGE YOUR TIREThe first things on your checklist should be items that already came with your car, such as a tire jack, a lug wrench, a fully inflated spare tire, and the owner’s manual. To make sure you’re wholly prepared for any situation, you should also make it a point to stow items like a flashlight, rain poncho, a small piece of wood to secure the jack, gloves, and wheel wedges in your trunk.
CHANGING YOUR TIREThe most important step that is easy to overlook when changing a tire is ensuring your vehicle won’t roll anywhere. Put the parking brake on and use the wheel wedges to stop your vehicle from going anywhere. Put the wedges under the rear tires if you’re changing a front tire, and under the front tires if you’re changing a rear tire. Using the lug wrench, turn the lug nuts counterclockwise until you can feel them coming loose. Don’t take them off entirely yet. Use the entire weight of your body to loosen them if necessary. The next step is to put the jack under your vehicle. Oftentimes, there is a grooved piece of metal on the underside of the frame by the wheels where the jack goes. To be sure, check your owner’s manual to see where the jack should be placed. Once the vehicle is raised with the jack, use the lug wrench to remove the lug nuts. Take the flat tire off and put the spare tire on the lug bolts right where the old tire was. Once the holes in the spare are lined up, tighten the lug nuts back on by hand, checking each one before lowering the car back down. When the car is down, use the lug wrench to tighten the lug nuts as much as possible.
How to Fix Your Flat Tire
Finding the Hole in Your TireThe first component of fixing your tire is locating where it’s losing air pressure.
- First, check to see if you can find a screw, nail, or any kind of debris sticking out of the tire.
- If you cannot find the hole this way, then you’ll need to fill a squirt bottle with a soap and water solution or a tire manufacturer approved leak detector liquid.
- Inflate the tire, then spray the entire tire with your full bottle of cleaner.
- Look bubbles beginning to form, it should appear volcano-like eruption should appear where the puncture lies.
How to Use the Tire Plug Kit
- Loosen the lug nuts with a lug wrench (tire iron) or impact wrench. Be sure to loosen the lug nuts BEFORE jacking up the vehicle. This keeps the weight on the wheels, which will prevent it from spinning dangerously.
- Jack up the car to a proper height in which the wheels can be removed.
- Remove the lug nuts and pull the wheel off of the hub.
- If there is an item protruding the tire, remove it with a pair of pliers.
- Clean the hole with the rasp tool contained in the tire plug kit.
- Thread the plug through the center of the insertion tool.
- Use the insertion tool to push the plug into the hole. There should be roughly 1/2 of plug protruding from the tire. If your kit came with an adhesive, such as rubber cement or glue, apply it to the plug before inserting.
- Cut away the excess plug material from the tire surface. If you did insert adhesives, it needs to dry for one minute before cutting away extra plug material.
- Pump air into the tire and ensure it is at the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure.
- To check if the seal is holding, use the soap mixture as tested before to find the hold. If it isn’t holding, add a little more cement or consider retrying using another plug hole.
- Re-install the wheel
- Lower the vehicle to the ground and tighten the lug to the specified torque.
- Replace the tire as soon as you can! It does give your vehicle the stability it needs, but we highly encourage you to bring it in within the next 20,000 miles.