How to Change a Flat Tire

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 22,131
    Auto Repair Expert John Neilsen demonstrates how to change a flat tire.

    John Nielsen: Hi! I am John Nielsen with AAA. And today we are talking about buying and maintaining your tires. In this segment, we are going to talk specifically about changing a flat tire. Now this may seem a little bit contrived and that's because it is. We have brought my car into the shop because this is a safe environment, and it will allow me to show you the steps involved in changing the flat.

    At the roadside, you will want to make sure that you are in a safe position, that traffic can see you, that you are well away from the flow of traffic, and that you are on a solid surface. Jacking up a car on a soft surface, sand, dirt, anything like that can allow the car to actually fall off of the jack and can result in severe personal injury.

    So if you cannot get safely off of the road, if there is high traffic, if you are in an area that you don't feel stable, the ground is not hard; now is not the time to try to change your tire, call for some assistance. Similarly, if you feel uncomfortable with any of the steps we are about to go through, it's another great time to call a professional. There is no sense getting hurt over changing a spare tire.

    Now assuming that we are as far off the road as we can, that we placed the triangle if we have one in the trunk of our car to alert traffic there is a breakdown ahead. We have set the emergency brake, we have set our emergency flashes, we are going to talk about actually changing the tire.

    The first thing we want to do is pull the owner's manual out of the glove box, that's going to show us step-by-step how to change the tire. It will also highlight any safety features we need to know about. The owner's manual tells us to put a wheel chock behind the wheel. Now this is usually not included with the vehicle, so it's something you are going to have to purchase and keep in the trunk before you find yourself at the roadside.

    Once we understand what needs to be done in the car, we are going to go to the back of the car, to the trunk or the hatch and actually remove the spare tire with jack, and if there is locks on the wheels themselves, the key for that should be in the trunk or would be in the glove box. We are going to get all that together and come on back to the front of the car.

    We are going to loosen the lug nuts and then we will place the jack under the vehicle where it's indicated in the owner's manual and jack up the car. You will jack up the vehicle to get it far enough off the ground to allow you to remove the tire. You will remove the lug nuts by hand, then you will remove your tire and set it at the roadside. Next, what I will do is take my rag and wipe down the threads and the backing plate on the wheel. Just make sure that there is no corrosion. You install your spare tire, install the lug nuts finger-tight, you would lower the jack, and then tighten your lug nuts in a pattern indicated in your owner's manual.

    Failure to properly torque and install the lug nuts can cause the wheel or the brakes themselves to begin to work and cause problems later on. Now a couple of things you noticed, I had a set of gloves with me, and a rag, and also something to kneel down on. This is something I keep in the trunk, just in case I end up at the roadside. It's a great thing for you to keep in and maybe a towel or sheet or blanket to kneel on it at the roadside or even to put your spare tire in when you are done. These are little tips that will pay off if you ever need to get it done. The final step in our procedure is to go visit our tire dealer, have our tire repaired or replaced as necessary. So now we have covered how to buy and maintain your tires. I hope that you have a better understanding of what's involved in buying a tire and selecting the right tire for what you do. And also how to change your tire at the roadside, additional tips to keep everyone safe. Thank you very much.