If you have a flat tire, this article and video explains how to change a spare tire correctly yourself so you can get back on the road and service your car in no time.
Video: How to Install a Spare Tire
Roadside Tire Change: How to Put a Spare Tire on Safely
Follow these steps if your tire goes flat while driving.
Steps for how to put a spare tire on
- Drive to a Level Place Away from Traffic
If you have a flat tire, drive slowly to a safe, level place out of the way of traffic.
- Put the Car in Park, Shut It off, and Set the Emergency Brake
Make sure the car is in Park, shut the car off and set the e-brake.
- Chock Both Sides of the Opposite Wheel
If the tire is flat, chock both sides of the opposite wheel. For example, if the right rear is flat, chock the left front tire.
You can also use a rock from the roadside. Don’t use a round rock or round items since the wheel can push it. Use something square like a brick or something that will wedge underneath the tire. Place one on either side.
- Find and Remove the Spare Tire
The spare tire will be located in different places and removed in different ways depending on the vehicle. Many are in the trunk underneath the floor lining.
Typically, you will need to spin the adjustment tool and remove the liner. Tools may be on top of spare tire or somewhere else in the rear or beneath, and the set usually includes a scissor jack, jack activator, and lug wrench. The spare tire set may also have a lock key for the lug nut, which is a special socket to remove a lug nut.
Pro tip: Its good practice to check the air of the spare tire occasionally. Press down on the tire and confirm its firm. Use a tire pressure gauge if you have one available to check the psi.
- Loosen the Lug Nuts
Remove any plastic safety caps from the lug nuts. With the wheel on the ground and the opposite wheel chocked, loosen the lug nuts with the lug wrench.
- Jack Up the Car
Line up the jack with the pinch weld underneath the side of the car. Turn the jack to raise it. You may have specific instructions in the owners’ manual. The jack may raise after turning a bolt on it or require connecting a tool to spin the jack. Once the jack is raised, lift the car off the ground by connecting the rod to the jack and turning it. It may take some time to jack up the car. You only need to jack up the car high enough to remove the tire.
- Remove the Lug Nuts and the Tire
With the car jacked up, remove the lug nuts the rest of the way.
If the wheel is stuck, place a hand on the car and kick the top of the tire with your heel. It may be a good idea to thread a lug nut on so the wheel doesn’t fly off and hurt you.
- Put the Spare Tire on and Tighten the Lug Nuts
Lift the spare tire into place by connecting the hole with the wheel hub stud at the 12 o’clock position. Press the tire onto the wheel hub so that it sits flush. Tighten the lug nuts by hand as tight as you can.
- Lower the Jack
Connect the rod or lug nut wrench to the jack (however the jack is designed) and spin it to lower the jack and the vehicle to the ground.
- Tighten the Lug Nuts with the Tire on the Ground
With the vehicle on the ground, tighten the lug nuts in a star sequence. There may be a slightly different sequence depending on the tire’s design, but generally you want to tighten the lug nuts in a crossing-pattern.
- Put the Flat Tire and Spare Tire Tools Away
Place the flat tire and spare tire tools into the trunk. If needed, grab the rim with both hands, place the tire on your leg, and roll it up and lift it.
- Drive Carefully and Get Your Car Serviced
The spare tire might have information about how long and fast to drive with it on. Generally, you want to drive more cautiously and slower than 50 mph to keep the tire from losing traction and running flat.
With the spare tire on, bring your vehicle to a professional mechanic, a tire repair service, or patch the flat tire yourself later.
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