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How to Change Your Car's Tire

Dec 4, 2017

how to change a car tire


How to Change Your Car’s Tire


Drivers should learn how to change a tire around the same time you learn to drive a car.  Just about everyone on the planet has found themselves with a flat tire at least once in their life, so having the ability to do this yourself will ensure you’re not stranded in the middle of nowhere.  And yes, even if you’re a female you should learn how to do this, if for no other reason than.. car guys finding it attractive.  There’s not always going to be a stream of guys driving past you that will slam their brakes on for the opportunity to help a damsel in distress, especially if you get a flat late at night, in the rain or on an empty side street. 


In general it’s pretty easy.  You get out of the car and realize you’ve got a flat.  Usually you'll say something like, "#$@$*$!."  Then you open your trunk.   There’s top-secret panel in your car’s trunk that lifts up and there you’ll find your car’s tire iron or wrenc, your jack, and a spare tire or donut.  The diffrence between a spare tire and a donut is that a spare tire looks just like your other tires and is the same exact size, and a donut is a sad looking tire that is much weaker and smaller than your regular tires that you're afraid it's probably unsafe to drive on.  Unless you own a BMW, who is too belligerent to give you a spare tire or donut, due to the fact that it will affect the car’s weight and ultimately it’s performance, so here you’ll only find a worthless can of “fix-a-flat”.  If you own a BMW call AAA.  Everyone else, keep reading. 


So once you’ve pulled out your tire iron, jack and spare tire or donut…  you are now ready to change your tire. 


How to Change Your Car’s Tire:


Step 1. You’ve first got to loosen your tire’s lug nuts.  You need to do this before you jack up the car.  You won’t have the leverage to do it once the tire is in the air.  It will just spin in circles.  So loosen all the nuts on the tire using the tire iron in the back of your car by turning them clockwise.  “Lefty Loosie”.  If you’ve removed these tools from your vehicle for any reason, go sit on the bench with the other BMW owners.   If the nuts won’t budge, you can try using advanced techniques like using your foot for leverage or standing up and pushing down on the iron.  If they still won’t budge, you can try using an oil or WD-40 type spray on the car.  In some unfortunate occasions the bolts/nuts get rusted to the tires, in which case they need to be jack-hammered off.    


how to jack up your car

Photo Credit: Your Mechanic


Step 2. Jack up your car.    This may be the most intimidating part of changing a tire.  Do it wrong and you’ll drop your car or bend your frame.  You’ll have to refer to your user’s manual for proper jack placement, since each car varies, but you place the jack under the car, and your jack will lift it off the ground very easily.  Even if you are a 100 lb weakling, little effort is required when you use the jack properly.  Do not place the jack on the axle or a suspension member.  You only need to raise the car up high enough to remove and replace the tire, a few inches off the ground.   IF for whatever reason the jack looks like it’s twisting, or bending or not lifting the car straight up, lower it immediately and readjust.  You run the risk of having your car’s jack go shooting out from under the car as your car slams to the ground if its not properly placed and lifting the weight of the car evenly and straight up into the air. 


Step 3. Remove the nuts, and the tire.  The tire may be rusted to the car so be careful when trying to remove it.  Don’t pull too hard that you dislodge your car’s jack. 


Step 4. Put on the spare tire.  You got this... its like matching shapes when you were a kid.  Hopefully you're strong enough to lift the tire without getting dirty.  Just put your back into it.  


Step 5. Tighten your bolts on the new tire by hand.  “Righty tighty”.  These must be done gradually and in a specific order to make sure you don’t end up with a lopsided tire.  You want to make sure you start tightening them in a criss-cross pattern where you tighten one and then move to an opposite nut then an opposite nut.  You tighten them in an X pattern for 4 nut tires and in a star pattern for 5 nut tires. 

how to tighten lug nuts properly

Photo Credit: Your Mechanic


Step 6. Once your nuts are secure by hand, and the tire is not wobbling back and forth, lower the jack and place the car back on the ground. 


Step 7: Tighten all nuts in the same pattern as tight as you can using the proper tools.  


Step 8: Put your tools, jack and the extra tire back in the trunk and try not to get dirt and grease on your car the rest of the way home.  Do not drive for long distances on your donut (if that's your spare).  100 miles tops if it's really necessary.  It's not made for that and at this point, your extra tire is already busted!   







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