Security and Safety

How to Change a Flat Tire Safely

By Peter Simek 5.11.20

Whether you walk to your car in the morning only to find the tire flat against the concrete driveway or you feel the rim of your wheel rattle as you drive down a highway, flat tires never come at a good time.

For many people, a flat tire is more than a headache and a disruption — it’s an insurmountable obstacle. The good news is that you can change your own tire — you just have to learn how. To start, take a deep breath and follow this simple guide on how to change a flat tire.

Step 1: Get to a Protected Place

  • Only change your tire if you are in a safe place — away from busy highways or roads — or can get to one.
  • If your tire is completely dead, driving on the rim could do more damage to your vehicle, so if you can’t drive to a safe spot, call for help.
  • If you are able to, get off the road and get to a parking lot or some other protected area.
  • Put your parking brake on to prevent your car from rolling.
  • Avoid parking on unstable ground where the jack will sink.
  • Avoid parking on a hill, where the car could roll.

Step 2: Jack It Up

  • Find your jack. In most cars, it will be in the trunk near the spare tire.
  • Loosen lug nuts one turn before beginning to jack up the car. Retighten when you are done.
  • Position your jack underneath the car, near your flat tire.
  • As you turn the gear that raises the jack, make sure it is positioned underneath a fixed portion of the car’s steel frame, which will ensure that the car rises safely and stably from the ground.
  • Turn the handle of the jack until the flat tire is clear of the ground and you can see a little space between the bottom of the tire and the ground.
  • Never put a body part under the vehicle while it is jacked up.

Step 3: Loosen the Bolts

  • If you have a hub cap, use the tire iron that comes with the car jack to pry off the cap.
  • Fit the socket over the bolts that hold your wheel to the car. This will likely be the most difficult part of the process, as the bolts are often very tightly fixed to the car. With a little effort, they will come loose.
  • Carefully loosen each bolt and remove the wheel and tire.

Step 4: Attach the Spare

  • Slip the spare tire over the bolts.
  • Reattach the nuts, tightening them as much as you can by hand.
  • Lower the car to the ground.
  • Use the tire iron to tighten the lug nuts, using a crisscross order to ensure that there is proper stress throughout the wheel.
  • Make sure the nuts are as tight as possible, even if that means using your foot to apply extra pressure. Those bolts are going to keep your wheel on your car, so you want to make sure they are tight.

Step 5: Get Your Tire Fixed

Don’t delay. Your spare isn’t designed to do much more than help you get to the shop so you can get a full-size tire back on your car. Once you have your spare secured, head to the shop and get your tire fixed as soon as possible.

And there you have it! If you need more roadside assistance, Texas Farm Bureau Insurance has you covered.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2020 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance