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How to Change a Flat Tire

Content reviewed by Eric Riddles, ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician

Getting a flat tire is a common occurrence which happens to nearly every driver at least once. It is a major inconvenience, especially if you are out on the road far away from home. At Custom Complete Automotive, our tire shop professionals can give you the information you need to change your own tire and assist you if you have any problems at any of our locations in Columbia, Jefferson City, and St. Louis, Missouri.

What Supplies Do I Need?

The best thing you can do to prepare yourself for a flat tire is to purchase the proper supplies for changing a tire. Although you may have AAA services or a nearby tire shop, being able to change a tire on your own is advisable.

The supplies you will need include:

  • Your vehicle’s owner’s manual
  • An inflated spare tire
  • A jack
  • A lug wrench
  • Chocking material, such as a small piece of wood or a brick

What Is the Process to Change a Tire?

There are specific steps involved in the tire changing process. If followed correctly, you should be able to remove the flat tire and replace it with your spare or donut tire. It is very important that you are aware of your surroundings and consider your safety the entire time, especially if you are on the side of the road or in the dark.

The steps to change a flat tire are as follows:
  • Park the Vehicle. It’s important to make sure that your vehicle is parked both away from traffic and on a flat, well- lit light surface.
    TIP: You will want to use your hazard lights, or flares if there is heavy traffic.
  • Chock the Tires. Place chocking material (such as pieces of wood or bricks) behind and in front of a tire that will not be lifted by the jack to prevent rolling and increase stability.
  • Identify Spare Tire and Jack. Next, you can use your vehicle's owner manual to locate your spare tire, jack and tools.
  • Position the Jack. Read your owner's manual to make sure that the jack is in the necessary position on your car in order to prevent damage and ensure your safety.
  • Jack Up the Car. Begin to jack the car up while keeping pressure on the ground (without lifting the car up entirely).
  • Remove Hubcaps. Remove any hubcaps or center covers so that you can access the lug nuts.
  • Loosen Lug Nuts. Using the lug wrench, turn the lug nuts counterclockwise to loosen them.
  • Remove the Tire. Next, after making sure that the jack is stable, jack up the car enough so that you are able to slip the tire off with ease.
  • Attach the Spare Tire. Put the spare tire on the hub and place the lug nuts in the correct positions.
  • Tighten the Lug Nuts. Tighten the lug nuts with your tire wrench, this time turning clockwise.
    TIP: Make sure the lug nuts are tight, but don't use too much force. This may knock your car off of the jack.
  • Check the Lug Nuts After Driving. After driving a few miles it's a good idea to stop and make sure that the lug nuts are still tight.

Once you’ve changed over to your spare or donut tire, you should visit a tire store to repair or replace your original tire.  Many spare or donut tires are not meant for long-term driving.  At Custom Complete Automotive, we offer a wide variety of tire repair options, as well as tire replacement.  Our auto experts can help identify the right solution to fit your needs and your budget.

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