Change a Car Flat Tire

Edited by Eng, Mac Evans Cerrillo, Shelley

The last place you want to be is stranded on the side of the road because of a flat tire. Being equipped with the knowledge and tools to change a flat tire properly and safely is very useful in case of an emergency. Even if you have roadside assistance, knowing how to do it yourself can save you time, and most modern cars are designed to make changing the tire much easier than in the past.

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Shelley Branch changing flat tire.jpg

Note: Tires come secured with Nuts or Studs, depending on your car model. So hereunder, when stating Nuts means either Nuts or Studs.


  1. 1
    Try to find a free solid level area to stop and park there, away from traffic, to change your tire.
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  2. 2
    Make sure you are on "P" if your car is Automatic Geared, and the Hand Brake is pulled.
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  3. 3
    Turn ON the Emergency Flasher Lights
    Also place your Emergency Triangle away from your car in a safe distance.
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  4. 4
    Ask all passengers to step out of the car, for safety.
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  5. 5
    Take out the Spare Tire, and the changing Tool Kit, which should contain, a Nut-Tool or Wrench and a Lifting Jack, Lifting Jacks can be of two major types, Hydraulic or Mechanical Lift
    Eng Merged Tool Box.jpg
    Also few have an Air Cushion lift, which is rare.
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  6. 6
    To prevent the car from slipping away when lifting it, place a large solid object like a rock in the opposite position of slip direction
    i.e. if you are changing the front tire, then slipping will be towards back of your car, so place the rock behind your back tire, and when changing the back tire, slipping will be towards the front of your car, so place the rock in front of your front tire. Just to be safe, and if you are not sure, place two rocks on opposite tire in front and behind.
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  7. 7
    Position the Lifting Jack firmly under your car side rim, If your jack is mechanical (also called scissor or jaw jacks) it mostly comes with a slot into which your car side rim can fit in, and make sure it is perpendicular to the ground
    Start lifting the car slowly and firmly. If you feel like the jack is not totally secured and correctly positioned, lower the jack slowly and reposition it. If the car starts slipping for any reason, stay away from it, and let it slip down. DO NOT come close, or even try to prevent it. Mostly you will end up hurt if you do so.
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  8. 8
    Now, lift the car until up enough, that the flat tire is still firmly touching the ground
    Car Tire-1.jpg
    Start loosening the nuts, turning them counterclockwise, if you are not so sure on which direction to turn, Loosen is same as you open a water tap. Sometimes, the nuts need a great force to loosen; you can put your body weight into turning them loose. it is also advised to work on nuts in diagonal way, as illustrated. Do not fully take out the nuts, just loosen them.
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  9. 9
    Now, further lift the car until the Tire is free above the ground, make sure the car is stable, I always put the spare tire near and with the rubber part under the car side rim for extra protection
    Completely loosen and take out the nuts, then take out the flat tire. Sometimes, even with the nuts off, it is hard to take out the tire, simple bangs with your fist on the side of the tire in four cross positions may help.
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  10. 10
    Switch between the spare and the flat tires, position the spare in it is place (wheel hub); make sure that the Tire holes are collinear with their fitting holes
    Place the nuts, and use your hand only to tighten them. If they are not tightening easily, then it is not correctly inserted, loosen and re-tight it, work in diagonal way. Once all are hand tighten, use the nut-tool or wrench to tighten them to a firm way. Don't use excessive force to tighten, yet they should be firmed.
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  11. 11
    Remove the flat tire from under the car, and slowly lower the Jack, until the car is totally on the ground, and take out the jack
    Further tighten the nuts with the nuts-tool or wrench as hard as you can, but do not use your body weight, only your hands.
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  12. 12
    Congratulation, you have safely completed changing your flat tire, remember to collect all your tools, and the Triangle
    Turn off your Emergency Flasher, and drive safely.
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Tips Tricks & Warnings

Electrical Air Compressor.jpg
  • Before heading out on a road trip, make sure your spare tire has air in it and is undamaged. Check to make sure the jack and lug wrench are there, as well. It's also a good idea to bring some flares or reflective triangles to alert your position, especially if you're changing the tire in the rain or at night. Keep a flashlight, as well. A can of Fix-a-Flat is also good to have in case you can't change the tire for any reason.
  • It helps also to keep an electrical air compressor, which might help you fill air quickly into your flat tire, and drive to nearest tire repair workshop.
  • If you notice the puncturing object, Don't remove it, for it works as a sealing. Just fill some air to keep going.
  • If lifted car starts slipping while you are changing the tire, STAY AWAY from it. You cannot hold it, and mostly will end up injuring yourself. Car can be repaired.
  • Some car models come with a dummy spare tire, which is not a standard tire, it is used only to install and reach the nearest tire repair shop. If your car is equipped with that, PAY attention, that with that tire installed you need to maintain a speed limit, mostly 60KM/H only. It should be labeled clearly on that tire.

Questions and Answers

If a flat tire touches the ground can it be filled back up with air?

It will be depending on some situations, if you tire is totally wreck or if the thing that made your tire flat is huge hole and let the air out, then even how many times you fill it with air it will just keep coming out. But if you just noticed it before all the air was gone and can still run it simply means that it is just a small hole and you can fill it some air and drive to the nearest auto-shop. But you can always try it yourself and see if it can still be filled with air, cause depending on how flat your tire is and how long does its air to come out.

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Article Info

Categories : Automotive

Recent edits by: Mac Evans Cerrillo, Eng

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