What You’ll Need
Emergency Warning Devices
1. Find A Safe Place to Park
If possible, do not park on dirt or grass—your jack may sink into the dirt and become unstable. For safety precautions, avoid hills to prevent your car from rolling.
2. Secure Your Vehicle
Before you change a flat, turn off your engine and engage the emergency or parking brake. Keep your car from rolling by placing a wheel chock or heavy rock behind the wheels opposite side of the side that’s being raised.
3. Grab Your Jack, Spare Tire, and Tools
If you’ve never used your jack, spare tire, or tire tools before, consult with your owner’s manual to check where they are located. After you’ve found these essentials, we recommend you try them out and get familiar with how to use them, so you’re comfortable performing the next few steps in a crunch. Waiting to learn how to use your tools on a dark, rainy night can be frustrating and even dangerous. We recommend doing a practice run when your tire is not flat so you can get a feel for how to perform the task.
4. Loosen the Lug Nuts Slightly Before You Jack Up Your Car
If your car has a wheel cover (hubcap), remove it first by using a screwdriver or the flat end of the jack handle or lug wrench. Note: On some cars, the wheel cover is held in place by the lug nuts. Leave this style cover on the flat wheel.
Use the lug wrench to loosen the lugs nuts by turning the wrench counter clockwise. Hold the wrench firmly and push down. Never pull up on the wrench. If the nuts are too tight, use penetrating oil to loosen them or use your foot to push down on lug wrench. Loosen the lug nuts only one turn. Do not remove the lug nuts at this time.
5. Lift Up Your Car
Consult with your owner’s manual for the best place to secure you jack. Follow these directions carefully! Crank your car up to at least 6 inches, or however much is needed to remove the flat tire. If you notice instability, lower your car to reposition your jack. Caution: Never place a jack under the axle or suspension member.
6. Remove the Lug Nuts and Wheel
Use the lug wrench to remove the nuts. Place the lug nuts where you won’t lose them like on the inside of your car door. Pull the wheel off and set it aside.
7. Remove the Flat Tire
Remove the flat tire with both hands. Pull the tire towards you and place it under the car, just in case your jack is unstable and drops your car. If you have difficulty removing the tire due to rust, hit it with a rubber hammer or use a liquid penetrate to loosen the joints.
8. Put on Your Spare
Place your spare tire in front of the wheel well, align it with the wheel bolts, and then add your lug nuts. Turn the lug nuts clockwise by hand as tightly as possible. Then take your wrench and turn the bolt tight enough to secure the tire before lowering it to the ground. Do not completely tighten.
Note: There are different tightening sequences for 4- and 5 -lug wheels. Tightening the nuts in the proper sequence ensures that the wheel mounts properly and that the stress is evenly distributed over the wheel.
9. Lower Your Car
Slowly lower your vehicle to the ground. Remove the jack and block. Tighten the lug nuts as much as possible, in proper sequence. Caution: Many spare tires are not full-size, normal tires. These smaller spares can’t be driven at normal speeds and should only be driven for short distances. Consult your owner’s manual for instructions and warnings for driving with a compact spare.