At some point or another in everyone's life, a flat tire will happen. It is an unexpected event that will usually happen at the worst possible time. With so many automobile road service companies, many people never learn the process involved in changing a flat tire. It is a good idea to know how in case you are on a stretch of road, and you have no phone service.

Items Needed

  • Spare Tire
  • Tire Changing Equipment (Wrench, jack, etc.)
  • Fix-a-Flat foam
  • Flashlight and extra batteries (optional)
  • Blanket or Mat for your knees (optional)
  • Rain poncho in case it is during a storm (optional)
  • Tire Gauge (optional)

Step 1: Pull as far off the shoulder of the road as you possibly can. Never park in a curve or where approaching vehicles cannot see you. Search for a flat area to park. Use the parking brake. Leave the car in gear if your car has a manual transmission to prevent it from rolling as the tire is changed.

Step 2: It is extremely important to turn the emergency lights on. The tools that are essential include the spare tire, jack, and wrench that should be in your trunk. You may want to use some gloves and a blanket or some other type of mat to protect your legs and arms while you change the tire.

Step 3: The lug nuts need to be loosened with the wrench. Begin by removing the hubcap, if your car has them. Loosen the lug nuts (left is loose), but not all the way. The lug nuts were likely tightened at a shop and may require you using your body weight to remove them.

Step 4: Check your vehicle owner's manual to find out where the jack needs to be placed. Each car has a different location to place it. If the jack is incorrectly placed, the car could fall on you while the tire is being changed. Jack the car up until about six inches separates the tire from the ground.

Step 5: The lug nuts need to be removed to take it completely off of the car. Remember to put the nuts all in one place as you take them off (if your car has hubcaps they serve as a great 'dish' to place the nuts in). After all the lug nuts are off, pull the tire toward you as you remove it from the vehicle. To ensure your vehicle does not fall on the ground, place the blown tire under the vehicle (midway, near door area) in between the ground and the car.

Step 6: Put the spare tire on the car and make sure it's placed securely onto the vehicle's lug studs/wheel bolts. Pushing the tire onto the car all the way will ensure you can place the nuts on evenly.

Step 7: Loosely (hand-tight, don't over-tighten) put the lug nuts on to secure the tire on the wheel. You want to be sure you have then all aligned correctly when you begin the tightening process.

Step 8: If you placed the blown tire under the car at the end of step 5, remove it now. Using the jack, lower the vehicle to ground level and remove the jack. This is why you have secured the nuts hand-tight so the wheel will not fall off when the car is completely lowered to the ground.

Step 9: Tighten the lug nuts by rotating from one side to the other, crisscrossing in a circle as you go. This is done to ensure you don't strip the nuts in this process.

Step 10: Make sure you have the tire secured as tight as possible on the car. One of the main mistakes people make when changing tires is not tightening the lug nuts enough while in a hurry to finish the job.

Step 11: Put the tools and flat tire back into the trunk. Look around to make sure you don't leave any of the equipment you may need for your next emergency.

Step 12: To be safe, it's best to check the air in the tire with a tire gauge (if you have one) to ensure the amount inside the tire, is equal to the amount of recommended pressure stated on the tire itself.

Once you are able to drive back into civilization, contact a business such as the Action Tire Centre


In case the spare is not in good condition, you could use a can of fix-a-flat that would buy you some time until you can locate a service garage. Many vehicle dealerships believe this damages the vehicle, but in a roadside emergency situation, you may not be left with any options.

These are basic guidelines. You should be able to change the tire safely. You have tightened the lug nuts as much as you could on the side of the road, but it may not be advisable to drive very far unless you have no choice. As soon as possible, be sure to have the nuts tightened and the air pressured checked by a professional. The garage will have the tools, including an air gun to tighten the bolts and to be sure the tire was safely mounted.