Even after you get your drivers license, the learning process is not over. There are many things that you should know as a responsible driver. One of these essential skills is knowing how to change a car tire.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having a flat tire, the first step is to pull over to the side of the road. Make sure the ground is flat, and stable. It is essential that the surface of the ground is level to prevent your car from rolling off. Try to stay away from traffic, and remember to turn your hazard lights on. After you have pulled over, apply the parking brake, and shift the gear lever into the “Park” (P) position, or if you have a manual transmission car, push the clutch in, and shift into first gear, then let the clutch go. This helps the car stay in place.
Find a heavy object like a rock or brick if you can, and place it in front of the front and back tires just as a safety measure to ensure the car doesn’t roll away. Now take out the spare tire and the jack. Place the jack under the car frame near the tire that you will change. make sure the top of the jack is against a metal portion of the frame, otherwise the plastic body panel might crack if it is lifted. Now slowly raise the jack until it is supporting but not lifting the car, and then loosen the nuts on the wheel by turning counterclockwise. Don’t take the nuts all the way off just yet.
Go back to the jack and lift the car so that the tire is above the ground. As you lift, make sure the bottom of the jack is well-footed on the ground. Now you can take the nuts on the wheel all the way off and pull the wheel out. Place the wheel under the car so that in case the jack fails, the car will fall onto the old wheel. Take your spare tire, align it with the wheel bolts, and tighten the nuts by hand at first. Now take the wrench and tighten the nuts little by little in a star pattern, making sure that they all tighten evenly.
Lower the car slowly and put all the tools and the flat tire back in the trunk. Make sure not to drive too fast or too long with the spare tire, it is not designed for heavy use. Go to your nearest mechanic and ask for an estimate for the cost of repair. Small punctures aren’t too expensive, but if it a major puncture, it would be better to buy a new tire.
It’s not as complicated as it seems. Try practicing on your driveway so that in case a flat tire does happen while you’re driving down the road, you’ll know exactly what to do. Drive safe!