Learn to change a tire like a pro
Whether you're a hard-working professional, a homemaker, or a retiree, your vehicle is one of your most valuable assets. Subsequently, it can be a huge problem when it lets you down with something like a popped tire. This is why it's so important to always be prepared, and knowing how to change a tire, and what tools are needed to change tires, is one of the most essential skills you need to master.
However, there is more to it than simply learning how to remove tires from your car, because knowing how to properly change a flat tire means you have to be able to put the tire back on safely and securely too. You won't always have the luxury of doing this in the comfort of your garage, after all, since most flats occur when you least expect it - so this guide will help you identify the things you need to change a tire wherever you are.
If you get a puncture on your car tire, follow these five easy steps and you'll be back on the road in no time:
If you need help finding the ideal tires for your vehicle, please take a look at this guide on buying tires.
New cars for sale in the US usually come standard with the tools required to change a flat tire. If you're unsure that this is the case with your car, or if it is a second-hand purchase and you would like to confirm that you have the right tools, these are what you'll need to look for:
While it is certainly important to know how to fix a flat tire, you also need to be aware of a few other things, especially if your spare is a compact tire. Firstly, because of their diminutive sizes and small contact patches, they usually have a very limited top speed and road life. The top speed limit will be displayed on the tire's sidewall and in the owner's manual. Remember that these are designed to be sufficient to get you to safety after a burst, not for long-term use.
It's also important to regularly check the pressure of your spare tire as it won't do you much good to replace one flat tire with another. Lastly, different vehicles have different tire fitting requirements based on the size of the wheels, which is vital information if you need to shop for a new one. Below is a tire-fitting guide that could help:
|Rim width (inch)||Min. tire width (mm)||Ideal tire width (mm)||Max. tire width (mm)|
|5,0||155||165 or 175||185|
|5,5||165||175 or 185||195|
|6,0||175||185 or 195||205|
|6,5||185||195 or 205||215|
|7,0||195||205 or 215||225|
|7,5||205||215 or 225||235|
|8,0||215||225 or 235||245|
|8,5||225||235 or 245||255|
|9,0||235||245 or 255||265|
|9,5||245||255 or 265||275|
|10,0||255||265 or 275||285|
|10,5||265||275 or 285||295|
|11,0||275||285 or 295||305|
|11,5||285||295 or 305||315|
|12,0||295||305 or 315||325|
|12,5||305||315 or 325||335|
Having either an air pump or mobile compressor/tire inflator at hand could prove handy if your spare wheel has deflated over time and hasn't suffered a puncture or blown out entirely. Removing a tire from a car is only necessary if you need to replace it with a new one.
There are several reasons this could happen, including improper inflation, misalignment, poor driving conditions, and much more. A professional must examine your wheels to provide a more accurate answer. Fortunately, many service centers in the USA offer free evaluations and advice.
This will depend on various factors but manufacturers always provide these requirements. Most often, this information is displayed on a sticker located inside the door jam on the driver's side, as well as in the owner's manual.
Many insurance companies offer roadside assistance, which includes a call-out service for flat tires. So, if you don't know how to replace a tire, they will send a professional out to do it for you. We do advise educating yourself though, as the process itself isn't too difficult.
In many cases, it may be almost impossible to change a tire without a jack - if you're able to get your car to an open patch of soil or sand, there is hope, however. Position the offending wheel on a patch of sand that you can dig out, wedge rocks or wood up against the axle, and dig around the wheel until it is resting solidly on materials you've jammed up against the axle. If you can free enough space around the tire to remove it, follow the step-by-step instructions above to safely change the tire, then shovel the dirt back into place before removing the makeshift jack materials.