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angle-left Car Lessons from Dad: How to Change a Flat Tire

Father and son changing a car tire

Many of us rely on our dads for many things — whether it’s teaching us how to drive a car, giving us sound advice on life, or coming to our rescue when there’s an emergency. It’s like they’re our own personal superhero.

One important lesson a number of us have learned from our fathers is how to change a tire. It’s something every driver should know when out on the road because you never know when you might luck up (or down, in this case) and catch a flat. So in honor of Father’s Day approaching, we figured we’d take some time and share this with everyone out there who may never have learned this valuable lesson, or may need a reminder:

First, we’ll begin with the tools you need to change a tire:

  • Spare tire (the most obvious)
  • Jack
  • Lug wrench
  • Working flashlight
  • Flares and reflective triangles
  • Gloves
  • Wheel wedges
  • Flat tire repair kit

The spare tire, jack and lug wrench should automatically come with your vehicle, but if you don’t already have these tools in your car, it would be wise to purchase them. You should also be sure to keep your vehicle owner's manual in your car, as it will include details on where you can find your spare and steps for changing your tire.

Now, on to the most important part — how to change your tire:

  1. Find a safe place away from traffic.
    Ideal locations for changing your tire include a quiet neighborhood, the shoulder of an off ramp, a parking lot, or a long, straight road.
  2. Remove your spare and gather all of the tools you’ll need (see list above) before removing your flat.
  3. Place wheel wedges against the tires opposite of the flat.
  4. Remove the hubcap or wheel cover.
  5. Using your lug wrench, loosen (but don’t remove) the lug nuts.
  6. Place the jack underneath the car.
    If you’re having trouble, reference your vehicle owner's manual for the proper location and how to work your jack.
  7. Expand the jack until the flat is approximately six inches off the ground.
  8. Unscrew and remove the lug nuts.
  9. Remove the flat tire from the hub.
  10. Align the spare with the exposed lug bolts.
  11. Replace the lug nuts and tighten by hand.
  12. Lower the jack carefully until the spare touches the ground.
  13. Tighten the lug nuts with the wrench.
  14. Replace the hubcap or wheel cover.
  15. Check the pressure on your spare.


For more tips on how to change a tire, visit the DMV website. And if you are currently looking to purchase a vehicle and need to get approved for financing, find a dealer enrolled with Credit Acceptance near you who can help.