Every car owner should know a thing or two about tire installation, as a flat tire is one of the most common problems you may encounter on the road. Tire durability and maintenance will play an important part on the life of your tires but road hazards like nails, screws and other pointed debris will leave your tire vulnerable to cracks and holes, leading to a flat tire. If you want to save both time and money, it’s a great idea to learn to do tire installation at home.
Your trunk should contain all the essentials for changing a flat, and the materials above are a good reference on the kind of tire installation tools that should be present in your car at all times. You can never tell when an emergency may arise.
Park the car in a level area and engage the service brake. Put the lever in Park (for automatic transmission models) or in Neutral.
Before raising the car, place the tire lug on the opposite side of where the flat is located. For example, if the left front tire is flat then it would be best to place the lug on the right rear tire. This is to make sure that the car doesn’t move or roll forward when the jack is raised. If you don’t have a tire lug, then a moderate sized rock or chunk of wood will do.
Get the tire wrench and loosen each nut, one at a time. You may use a piece of metal pipe or tubing as an extension of the tire wrench to loosen tight nuts. Remember to do this in a cross pattern. Loosen the left nut on top followed by the right nut on the bottom, and so on. Do not step on the tire wrench when loosening the nuts. Use a metal pipe instead.
Take the jack and place it under the vehicle. Remember to place the jack in the jacking points as indicated in your owner’s manual. Placing the jack in an inappropriate place might damage the body or under chassis of the car.
Pull the tire towards you and remove carefully. You may have to raise the jack a little further if the tire is still touching the ground.
Get the spare tire and place in position. Make sure the spare tire is the correct specification for your vehicle.
Place each nut in the lug and initially tighten by hand. Place nuts in cross pattern as mentioned when removing tire nuts. Get the tire wrench and sufficiently tighten each nut. Be careful not to exert too much effort, as the car is still raised by the jack.
Lower the jack and set aside. Get the tire wrench and fully tighten the tire nuts again in a cross pattern. Do not over tighten the nuts, as the lug may break.
Remove the tire lug. Place all tools in the trunk. Have the flat tire repaired immediately.