How to fix your flat tire

Fix A Flat 101

Almost every driver has to deal with a flat tire at some point. Fortunately, fixing a flat is not difficult, especially with these helpful tips from the experts!

Woman changing her flat tire

1

Be prepared

Tip: Check the air pressure on your spare every time you check your other tires.

"Whether you change your tire yourself or call road service for help, having a spare and the necessary tools can save you time and an expensive tow," says auto expert Stan Markuze, founder of PartMyRide.com.

So before you hit the road, make sure your car is equipped with a spare tire, jack, wheel wrench (lug nut wrench) and flashlight.

2

Find a safe place

Tip: A well-lit parking lot is a better (and safer) option than the side of the road.

Turn on your hazard lights and pull as far as possible off the road. Get to a level a surface if possible and avoid shoulders and inclines.

3

Secure your vehicle

Make sure your car is in park and apply the emergency brake. Place large stones or branches next to the other tires to prevent the car from rolling.

4

Alert other motorists

Set up flares (if you have them) or put up your hood to let passersby know that you are in mechanical distress.

5

Loosen the flat tire

Use the wrench to loosen the lug nuts by turning them counterclockwise. (Older-model cars may require that you first remove the hubcap with a screwdriver.) Do not remove the loosened lug nuts.

6

Jack up the car

Tip: Consult your owner's manual for proper placement of the jack.

Place the jack on solid ground (not loose dirt) and make sure that it's vertical. Jack up the car enough to remove the flat and leave extra room for the spare, which will be fuller and larger.

7

Remove the flat

Remove the loosened lug nuts and put them in a secure place (your pocket or the glove compartment, for example). Take off the flat tire and place it in your trunk.

8

Put on the spare tire

Put on the spare tire, making sure the air pressure valve is facing you. Put the lug nuts on and tighten them by turning them clockwise.

9

Remove the jack

Lower the car back to the ground and remove the jack. Double-check the lug nuts to make sure they're as tight as possible.

10

Finish up

Return the wrench and jack to your car. Remove the chock rocks/logs.

"Take your flat tire to be repaired or replaced by a professional tire shop," says Markuze.

Easy peasy!

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10 Defensive-driving tips for rough weather
10 Ways to avoid an accident

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