How to change a tire

Changing a car tire is an essential skill, but it can be a bit intimidating at first. This guide will teach you how to change a car tire so that you’re never caught off guard while on the road!

Updated

How to change a car tire

Key steps

Check out these essential steps for how to change a tire: 

  • Find a safe location.
  • Grab your spare tire and tools.
  • Loosen the lug nuts.
  • Locate the jacking points to jack up your car.
  • Completely loosen the lug nuts and replace the tire.

You’re driving down the road and you hit a pothole. You realize you have a flat tire. Your cell phone has no signal. What do you do? This is just one of many scenarios in which knowing how to replace a tire comes in handy. Whether you hit a flat tire, or your car tire is too worn out, you don’t want to be caught off guard while driving. That is why we’re going to walk you through how to replace a tire.

Never put yourself underneath the car during or after jacking the vehicle. This is critical to ensure your safety when replacing a tire!

How to change a car tire

When it comes to learning how to change a tire, the first step is to ensure you have the proper equipment in your vehicle. Here are the essential tools you will need to change a tire:

  • Portable jack
  • Tire iron
  • Spare tire
  • Work gloves

Prepare for the time of day and different weather conditions you could experience a flat tire in. We recommend keeping a rain poncho and a flashlight in your car in the event that it’s raining or dark outside.

Now that you have all the essential tools at hand, it’s time to learn how to change a car tire as safely as possible.

But how long does it take to change a tire, you may ask? Following the right steps, it shouldn’t take more than 15 to 30 minutes. But remember, it’s always best to take your time and not rush to ensure that you’re changing the tire correctly. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Find a safe spot. Pull as far off to the side of the road as you can and if you are on a highway, try to exit onto a less busy road. Whatever you do, never try to change a tire in the middle of the road!
  2. Take out the spare tire and tools. After you pull over to a safe location, put on your hazard lights so that oncoming traffic can see you. Be sure that your spare tire is always fully inflated. 
  3. Loosen the lug nuts. Use your tire iron to loosen up the lug nuts. Turn the wrench counterclockwise until you break the resistance – fair warning, you may need to use all your body weight to loosen the lug nuts. Be sure not to completely remove them just yet!
  4. Jack the car. Once you break the lug nuts’ resistance, it’s time to jack the car. Place the car jack under the vehicle alongside the tire in need of replacing. Every car has multiple jacking points that support the jack so be sure to find those points. This will avoid the risk of damaging your vehicle. Jack the car until the tire is about six inches above the ground.
  5. Replace the tire. Now that the tire is above the ground, you can unscrew the lug nuts completely. Remove the tire with both hands by gently pulling it toward you. Mount the spare tire on the car and screw on the lug nuts by hand at first to secure the tire. You can then use the tire iron to finish tightening. Lower your jack until the vehicle slowly touches the ground again.

You’re now ready to hit the road again. However, you’re probably wondering how long do tires last. The short answer is ‘not very long’. That said, spare tires are not meant to last for long distances or at high speeds. So be sure to visit a tire technician as soon as you can. And while you’re at it, keep your car looking brand new every time you’re on the road with Cleanipedia’s car washing tips!   

Originally published