There’s no sound as disheartening to a driver than the flop flop of a flat tire. They always seem to come at inconvenient times, too. But to a man who knows how to change a flat, that flopping noise is a chance to display his self-sufficiency.
Just like knowing how to jumpstart a car, knowing how to change a flat tire is a skill every man should possess. It will save your own butt when you’re out on some lonely stretch of highway and come in handy when helping a damsel in distress or a hapless traveler on the side of the road. Follow these steps and you’ll back on the road in no time.
Tools needed: Spare tire, jack, lug wrench.
1. Park your car on a flat surface. If you get a flat while on the road, pull your car as far away from traffic as possible . Make sure to put on the emergency brake. It’s also recommended to put a block on the tire opposite of the flat tire. Put to use that fruitcake from Aunt Gertie you’ve been toting around in the trunk. Here’s a blocking example: if your right rear tire is flat, put the block on the front left tire.
2. Remove the hubcap. If your car has a hubcap, remove it so you can get to the lug nuts. Use the hubcap to hold the nuts, just like the dad in A Christmas Story. Just don’t let your kid hold the hubcap or he’ll lose them and drop the F-bomb.
3. Loosen the nuts. Grab your lug wrench and place it on the flat tire’s lug nuts. Loosen them up by turning them counterclockwise. The nuts are probably on there really tight, so you’ll have to use all your man strength to unscrew them. Loosen the nuts a few turns, but don’t take any of them off yet!
4. Place the jack underneath your car. Check your owner’s manual for the correct placement of the jack. Turn the hand crank at the end of the jack to raise the jack until it comes into contact with your car’s frame. Make sure it’s touching a sturdy spot.
5. Jack it up! Start cranking the jack until the wheel is high enough above the ground to remove the tire.
6. Remove the flat. Remove the lug nuts from the wheel. You should be able to do it by hand because you’ve already loosened them. Remove the flat tire and lay it flat. You don’t want the wheel to roll into traffic during rush hour and cause a thirty car pile-up.
7. Slap on your spare. Take your spare tire and line up the lugs, or bolts, with the holes in the wheel and slide the wheel on. Once the wheel is on, take your lug nuts and tighten them by hand until you meet firm resistance.
8. Lower the car. Lower the jack until the wheel is firmly on the ground.
9. Finish tightening your lug nuts. These babies must be on super tight so the wheel doesn’t come flying off while driving to the tire shop to get the flat fixed. So you need to unleash the super power of the star pattern to get those lugs tighter than a deer tick. Use this tightening pattern if you have five bolts on your wheel. Start with any lug nut and then follow this pattern:
If your car has four, use this pattern:
Have any other tips on how to change a flat? How about some war stories changing a flat tire? Share with us in the comments.
Last updated: September 28, 2015