Learning how to change a flat tire is something that every person should know how to do. Even if you regularly get the tires rotated, balanced and inspected professionally, there is a still a chance that you’ll get a flat or simply otherwise need to be able to change a tire.
Ideally, you’ll learn how to fix a flat tire with someone who has done this before a few times, and in a safe, low-traffic environment. The side of the highway is probably the worst, and most dangerous place to figure out this skill, but unfortunately is where many people learn. Give yourself an advantage by getting familiar with the process in a safe place, under expert supervision.
We would like to thank Advance Auto Parts for the following video clip:
Start by getting the car onto a flat, level surface. Driveways often seem like the logical choice, since they are out of traffic, but they are often sloped, which is dangerous. If possible, use a quiet neighborhood street if it is more level.
Once on a level surface, set the parking brake, and place a rock or other chock behind the opposite wheel that you will be replacing. For example, if you will be removing the left front wheel, place the chock behind the right rear. This will ensure an extra level of safety if the parking brake fails. Locate the jack. Every vehicle should come with one, usually located in a compartment in the floor of the trunk or in the side panel of the rear cargo area.
For a small car, place the jack under either the side of the body, just to the rear of the car, or under the suspension arm that holds the wheel itself. Twist the jack up so that it is firmly contacting the vehicle, but do not lift the car up yet. Use the tire iron to loosen the nuts that hold the wheel in place, but do not remove them. The reason for doing this before jacking up the car is that the wrench will simply turn the wheel unless the wheel is on the ground. Once the nuts are cracked loose, jack up the wheel, remove the nuts and wheel, and replace with the new wheel.
Once the new wheel is in place replace the nuts, being careful not to cross-thread them. Lower the wheel to the ground, and once the weight of the car is holding it in place, tighten the nuts the rest of the way, using a star pattern. This means tightening the nuts in a circle, skipping every other one.
For more maintenance, contact an auto shop to get an inspection. If you drive a Volvo in Phoenix, there are specialized shops that can cater to your needs. This is crucial since Volvos have a bit of a quirky side to them.