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Flat Tire Repair: Seven Easy Steps

It happens when you least expect it. You are driving along when you hear an unusual popping noise from below your car – and realize that your tire has gone flat. Changing a flat tire can be a hassle, especially if you have never done it before. If you find yourself in this not-so-ideal situation and don't have roadside assistance, here is how to change a flat tire in seven simple steps.

  1. Pull over on a flat surface. Look for a safe spot to pull over once your tire goes flat; avoid parking in a curved spot of road or on a hill, which could put you in danger and make it difficult to fix your flat tire. Put your car in park, turn it off and set the emergency or parking brake.
  2. Get your flat tire repair supplies out. You will generally need a lug wrench, spare tire, car jack and jack handle, but check your owner's manual as tools may vary from car to car – and some vehicles do not come equipped with spare tires. Before continuing, double check that your spare is inflated and safe to use. If the spare tire is also flat, have your car towed instead.
  3. Use a lug wrench to loosen lug nuts. Your hubcap may need to be removed to access the lug nuts. Turn the lug nuts in a counterclockwise direction with the lug wrench, but do not completely remove them. You may need to use some elbow grease to get the lug nuts loose.
  4. Jack up the car. Check the owner's manual to see where your car's "jack points" are located, and position the jack under your car as indicated by the manual. Once the jack is secure, use the jack handle to lift your car six inches off the ground. Avoid putting any part of your body underneath your car while using the car jack.
  5. Remove the lug nuts and flat tire. Now completely remove the lug nuts – be careful not to misplace them – and then remove the flat tire by pulling it directly toward you.
  6. Install your spare tire. Align the wheel studs with the holes in the tire, and put the spare tire on the wheel base, pushing it as far back as it will go. Then, screw on the lug nuts loosely by hand in a star pattern to evenly distribute the stress on the tire.
  7. Lower your car and tighten lug nuts. Once you use the jack to bring your car to the ground, remove the jack and use the lug wrench to tighten the lug nuts in a star formation. Do not tighten each one completely; instead, tighten each lug nut partially and move on to the next one. Continue in a star pattern until they are all as tight as possible.

With these seven simple steps, changing a flat tire can be easy. To prevent the need to fix your flat tire by yourself, consider getting roadside assistance coverage, which usually includes flat tire repair among other helpful services. Check out our affordable auto insurance online to find a policy that offers roadside assistance to keep you protected.

The provided information and safety suggestions were obtained from sources believed to be reliable and is intended for informational purposes only. Titan and its affiliates assume no liability in connection with providing it or your use of it. Your circumstances may not warrant or require some or all of the safety suggestions, and there may be additional available safety procedures that are not referenced on this webpage.

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Titan Insurance, design, superhero and Savings without the Sacrifice are service marks of THI Holdings (Delaware), Inc. Nationwide Insurance is a service mark of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Price based on March 2010 analysis of available national data for liability-only policies. Subject to underwriting guidelines, review and approval.

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