Posted on: 25 March 2015Share
The potholes left over from a very cold and long winter can easily damage the tires on your car—especially if you run into a deep pothole. The tire smashes against the pothole wall and can cause a blow out. The Automobile Association of America cites flat tires as a major reason why car owners call a tow truck in regions most affected by potholes. If you learn how to change a tire yourself, you won't have to wait around for the tow truck to arrive. You can change the flat tire on your own and get on your way within 15 to 20 minutes. Here is how you can change the tire yourself.
You Will Need:
- Lug Wrench
- Spare Tire
Move to a Safe Location
You will notice instantly if you drive into a pothole, but it may take a few minutes before you notice your car is handling differently if a tire is going flat. Once you notice your car is handling differently, look for a safe place to pull over to inspect the tire and replace it if necessary. You want to find a flat surface where you have room to work and are not in the way of traffic—the parking lot of a store or a quiet side street works best.
Jacking Up Your Car
Get your jack, lug wrench, and spare tire out of your trunk. These parts are typically all stored together under the floor mat in the trunk. The jacks are usually fairly flimsy and can tip over easily if you don't set them up right. Make sure the base of the jack does not lean in any direction as you raise your car. You also should put something like a small board or rock behind the back wheel so the car doesn't roll when you life it up the front of the car (or, conversely, something in front of the front wheel if you are changing a rear tire). Your owner's manual will show you exactly how to position your jack under the car. If you don't have a manual, look for a slot underneath the car near the wheel well that the head of the jack an slide in—either way, the jack should be placed against the steel frame of the car to avoid damaging the vehicle, injuring yourself, or both.
Changing the Tire
Remove the hubcap if you have one. Loosening the lug nuts before you jack up the car will make them easier to remove—tires tend to spin once the vehicle is up in the air making it very hard to loosen tight lug nuts. Jack up the car and finish taking off all the lug nuts and set them aside. Remove the damaged tire (for a bit of extra safety, place the tire under the car in case the jack tips over—this will protect the car from hitting the ground and getting damaged). Slide the spare tire onto the car and replace the lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts as best you can while the car is in the air, but remember to tighten them fully once you lower the car to the ground. Take the jack off and put it back in the truck along with the damaged tire.
Note of Caution
Spare tires are meant to be used for a limited amount of time as they are smaller and more fragile than a regular tire. You will want to either get the damaged tire repaired or replaced as soon as possible.