How to Change A Tire

Tire changing is a necessary skill for all drivers to learn how to safely change a tire in an emergency situation. You may be faced with a situation where calling for assistance may not be an option, and flat tires can occur anywhere. Fortunately, learning how to change a tire is very simple, and can also help you save money when it comes to changing your tires over from summer to winter tires and vice-versa. Read on to learn more about tire changing, so you can tackle the task with confidence.

Items You’ll Need

First, let’s go over all the essential tools you will need to change your tire safely and effectively:

  • Jack
  • Lug Wrench
  • Fully-Inflated Spare Tire
  • Vehicle Owners Manual

These items should also come with your vehicle, and should be replaced immediately if you do not possess them. Other helpful items to consider keeping in your vehicle include:

  • Flashlight
  • Raincoat
  • Wheel Wedges
  • Gloves
  • 2x6 Wood Block (to help secure the Jack)

Steps to Changing a Tire

1. Find a Safe Location

When possible, try to find a safe place to change your tire. The side of a highway, or inclined hill slope, are not ideal places to change your tire. A straight road with wide shoulders, or a parking lot, are ideal places to change your tire. While you may be inclined to change a tire as soon as you realize it’s flat, it’s far better to find a safe space to change it rather than being potentially hit by another vehicle.

2. Turn on Your Hazards & Apply the Parking Brake

Once stopped, always turn on your hazard lights if you’ve chosen a road shoulder as your place to change the tire. Apply your parking brake to minimize the chances of your vehicle rolling.

3. Apply Wheel Wedges

For additional security on slightly inclined surfaces, consider utilizing wheel wedges on the tires that do not need to be changed, to help secure your vehicle in position. Large rocks or bricks also work as wedges if you do not have dedicated chalks.

4. Remove Hubcap & Loosen Lug Nuts

If your vehicle has a hub cap covering the lug nuts, remove the cap by following the instructions of your vehicle owner's manual (if your wheels are Stock models). Usually a flathead screwdriver or Hex Key will work. Once the hubcap is removed, loosen the lug nuts counterclockwise until you break resistance. Do not remove the lug nuts yet though, usually a ¼ or ½ turn is sufficient.

5. Place & Raise the Jack Under the Vehicle

Once the lugnuts on the wheel you want to swap are loosened. Place the jack under your vehicle, and raise it so it lifts the vehicle from its frame. Most vehicles have a dedicated spot for placing the jack under your vehicle, so consult your owners manual before lifting the vehicle off the ground. For extra safety, consider placing a 2x6 block of wood in the jack to reduce the risk of it setting under the vehicle weight. Raise the jack so the vehicle tire you want to change is about 6” off the ground.

6. Unscrew Lug Nuts and Remove the Tire

Since you’ve loosened the lug nuts earlier, they’ll be easier to remove now. Then pull the tire off the lug bolts (be careful not to hurt your back), and set it to the side so it doesn’t roll away.

7. Mount New Tire on Lug Bolts

Now, place the new tire on the lug bolts. Once firmly on the bolts, screw the lug nuts on by hand until you meet resistance.

8. Lower the Vehicle and Tighten the Lug Nuts

Lower your vehicle gently just so the tire is slightly resting on the ground, but NOT so that the full weight is on the ground. At this point, you should tighten the lug nuts with the wrench, turning clockwise, as much as you can. Alternate tightening the lug nuts diagonal from each other until all are tightened, do not go around in a circle. Push down on the lug wrench with the full weight of your body.

9. Lower the Vehicle Completely & Replace the Hub Cap

After fully tightening the lug nuts, now you can lower the vehicle 100%, and replace the hub cap on the new tire (if necessary).

10. Stow All Equipment & Check Tire Pressure

Put all your tools, equipment, and tire back in your vehicle before leaving. Additionally, it’s always best practice to check the tire pressure of your newly-placed tire before you take off. If your tire is low, consider driving slowly to a service station immediately.

11. Take Deflated Tires to Technician (If Necessary)

If you’ve replaced a flat tire, it’s important to take it to a technician as soon as possible. Spare tires are not designed for highway speeds or long distances, so drive cautiously until you can get your tire repaired or replaced.

And there you have it, your full guide on how to safely change a tire. Now you’re prepared for any emergency tire situation while driving, or can effectively change over your seasonal tires on your own. For everything tires, check out Mac Lang Orillia’s Service & Parts departments, where we’ll help you find the best tires suitable for your vehicle. Get in touch with us today to get started.