By Erin Thompson on July 8, 2020 in Life Hacks
Are you tired of paying the repair shop for every bald tire? Ever had to make a pitstop on a road trip and find a mechanic due to a flat tire? Say Insurance® wants to prepare you for all the obstacles you might encounter on a road trip, and we can help with that tire! Just follow these step-by-step instructions to learn how to change your tire.
One easy way to prevent a flat tire is to ensure your PSI is within a healthy range before you leave town. What is PSI? This stands for “Pounds per Square Inch” AKA how much air should be in your tires. You find the correct PSI for the tires on your vehicle in the owner’s manual or inside the driver’s side door. Another way to try to rule out an unwanted pit stop is by avoiding sharp objects in the road such as glass or items from other vehicles.
If these preventative methods don’t work and you still end up with a flat tire, here are the tools that you will need to change your tire:
1. A tire jack
2. A lug wrench with a socket on one end and a pry bar on the other
3. A spare tire
Luckily, most cars come from the factory with these tools included. Check your spare tire compartment if you don’t see them. Once you find your tools, you’re ready to go!
Step 1: Park Safely
Before you begin, take a look at the ground. If the vehicle is parked on even a slight incline it is best to place wooden blocks in front of or behind the three normal tires to prevent rolling down the hill. At the very least, make sure to use your emergency brake! Next, place the tire jack flat on the ground and just a little in front of the tire to be changed. Remember to position the jack in far enough to lift the metal frame not just the outer body of the car. Warning: Do not lift the car yet!
Step 2: Loosen the Lug Nuts
Lug nuts are the round locking mechanism that keep your rim or hubcap secured to the tire. Use the socket side of your lug wrench to turn each nut counterclockwise until loose. Do not completely remove them at this point. We do this while the vehicle is still on the ground to prevent the wheel from spinning and creating a moving workspace. Remember, never to pull upward on the lug wrench or you’ll have some major back pain tomorrow. Always push down, and feel free to stand on the wrench if you’re unable to loosen with your arms alone!
Step 3: Lift the Car
Once the nuts are loose, use the same side of the lug wrench, connected to your tire jack, to lift your vehicle off the ground. One direction cranks the tire jack to lift the car up and the other lowers the car back to the ground. Remember to NEVER crawl under a vehicle without properly placed jack stands. For this project, your body should not need to move underneath the car, so the jack stands are not necessary.
Step 4: Remove the Lug Nuts
At this point, you can use your hands to unscrew the lug nuts and completely remove. Start with the top nut and then go directly to the bottom. Remove the right nut and then the one farthest to the left. Continue this star pattern until all lug nuts are removed, and make sure to put them somewhere you won’t lose them! After the nuts are removed, you will be able to pull the hubcap off. This may still require the use of the pry bar side of your lug wrench but take care not to crack the hubcap!
Step 5: Tire Replacement
With the lug nuts and hubcap out of the way, you can now remove the flat tire and replace with the spare! Put the hubcap and all the lug nuts back into place, then use the lug wrench turn each (righty-tightey). Make sure they are extremely tight—you don’t want to lose your new tire!
Step 6: Lower the Car
That’s it! You’ve successfully changed a tire! After the tire is secure, spin your lug wrench in the opposite direction to crank the tire jack down. This will lower the car gently back to the ground.
Remember, you can do this! It’s just a quick 6 step process, and you’ll be back on the road in no time!
P.S. If all else fails and you need professional help, Roadside Assistance is included in all Say Insurance policies!