Spring On the Road

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How to change a flat tire

Many drivers will experience a flat tire at some point in their lives. Flat tires can be a nuisance, especially if a flat leaves you stranded on the side of an empty road with little opportunity for passing traffic to help you. Knowing how to change your own tire can keep you from sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck or fellow motorist.

There is no need to feel helpless when your vehicle gets a flat tire. Changing a flat tire is relatively easy and can take just a few minutes if you are prepared and know how to get the job done.

1. Turn on your emergency flashing hazard lights and pull the car safely over to the side of the road where you will not be in the path of traffic.

2. Try to find a level, stable surface so that the car will not roll.

3. Put the car in park and engage the emergency brake. Place bricks or wooden blocks under the tires on the opposite side to prevent the car from rolling.

4. If you have cones or flares, use them to make your vehicle more visible to fellow motorists. This can save you from being struck while changing the flat.

5. Connect the jack handle to the rest of the device. Slide the jack under a secure part of the car frame near the damaged tire.

6. Use a screwdriver to pry off the wheel cover or remove the hub cap to gain access to the lug nuts on the tire.

7. Use your tire wrench to find the side of the wrench that matches the size of the lug nuts. Turn the wrench counterclockwise to loosen all the nuts. Loosen them until they can comfortably be removed all the way by hand.

8. Use long strokes when pumping the jack to reduce the effort you have to put. Lift the car up until the wheel clears the ground.

9. Remove the lug nuts and store them in a safe spot until later. Grasp the flat tire with both hands and pull it toward you until it clears the ends of the bolts. Roll the flat to the rear of the vehicle.

10. Lift the spare tire into place and slide it in completely over the bolts.

11. Replace the lug nuts and tighten them by hand.

12. Carefully lower the vehicle and remove the jack. Tighten the lug nuts completely with the wrench. Then replace the wheel cover.

13. Put the flat in the trunk for proper disposal or repair later on.

14. Remove the blocks from your tires and disengage the emergency brake.

You should now be ready to get back on the road.