A flat tire can instantly change a fun and fulfilling road trip into a nightmare. With your car disabled on the side of the road, you become a hazard for other motorists and their passengers, so you should change your tire as quickly as possible. A little determination, a few helpful tips, and speed can get you and your car back on the road in a short time, so you can safely enjoy the rest of your trip.

Preparation

If you have never changed a tire on your car before, schedule some time to practice, so you can become familiar with the tools and the procedure. This way, a flat tire will never catch you off guard. Even if you know how to change a tire, the time spent preparing for an emergency can minimize the effect of a flat tire on your trip. Start by locating and inspecting your essential equipment and supplies. A jack, spare tire, and lug nut wrench comes with every car, so make sure these items are in your car. Always check the air pressure in your spare tire to avoid unnecessary complications. A flat spare tire will not help you reach your destination.

Before leaving your driveway, make sure you have everything necessary to safely change a tire. This includes safety flares, a flashlight, lug nut wrench, jack, and a properly inflated spare tire. If you have enough space available in your trunk, keep a wheel block in your car. When properly used, this will keep your car from rolling while it is on the jack.

Getting Started

You should pull your car as far away from traffic as possible, so you can stay safe from traffic while you work. You should also choose level ground to help prevent your car from moving while you work. Place safety flares on the ground behind your car to alert motorists about your presence. Next, place your car in park, apply the parking brake, and insert the wheel block. Always have your cell phone ready to call the police in case a person approaches you and makes you feel threatened while your car is disabled.

Changing the Tire

Position the jack under the appropriate lift point as defined in the owner’s manual that came with your car. Extend the jack until it firmly contacts the car and the ground. Loosen the lug nuts on the affected wheel while it still is in contact with the ground. Then, use the jack to raise the car until the wheel is off the ground. After raising the car, remove the lug nuts and place them safely on the ground where they can rest undisturbed. Remove the tire and place it out of the way on the ground.

If you have a fully inflated full-size spare tire, you may have to raise your car to provide enough clearance to mount it onto the wheel assembly. After placing the spare tire on the wheel drum, tighten the lug nuts until the wheel starts to spin. Next, slowly lower your jack until the spare tire contacts the ground. Finally, tighten the lug nuts.

Finishing the Job

After changing a flat tire, always make sure to place all tools and supplies in your trunk. As soon as possible, visit the Rodland Toyota of Everett service center so we can replace or repair your flat tire and make sure the lug nuts on your wheel are tightened to factory specifications.