A woman puts a jack under her car, showing you how to change a tire

Whether your tire has worn down over time and is flat or you’ve just experienced a tire blowout, you may have to change your tire and replace it with a spare. If you don’t know where to begin, don’t worry — take these simple steps to get back on the road in no time:

How to change the tires on your car

Whether you have a flat tire or need to install your winter tires, review your original owner's manual and follow these simple steps.

  1. Remove your hubcaps and loosen the lug nuts.Turn the lug nuts counterclockwise to loosen, but don't take them off completely.
  2. Consult your owner's manual before placing the jack. Once you've properly placed the jack, raise your car about six inches.
  3. Remove the lug nuts and tire.
  4. Push the new tire onto the lug bolts. Once the tire is on, screw the lug nuts onto the bolts by turning them clockwise.
  5. Slightly lower your vehicle and tighten the lug nuts with your lug wrench.
  6. Lower your car completely, torque lug nuts following the torque requirements in your owner's manual and check the tire pressure. Check your owner's manual for the optimal tire pressure level and fill it up if it's low.
  7. Retorque your lug nuts after you've driven 100 km — just in case!

Now you know how to change your vehicle's tires anywhere, anytime!

Stay safe on the road.

  1. Find a safe place to pull over. As soon as you notice something is wrong with your tire, slowly reduce your speed and find an area of road that is level, straight, and has a wide shoulder. As soon as you pull over, put your hazard lights on and use your parking brake. To change your tire, you’ll need a spare tire (usually found in your car’s trunk, sometimes hidden in a compartment under the floor), wheel wedges, a manual car jack, a lug wrench, a tire gauge, and a tire inflator. These are items you should always carry in your vehicle.
  2. Place your wheel wedges. Wheel wedges prevent your vehicle from rolling while you fix a flat tire. If you’re changing a rear tire, you should place your wheel wedges in front of your front tires, and if you’re changing a front tire, you should place the wheel wedges behind the rear tires. If you don’t have wheel wedges with you, large stones can be used instead.
  3. Loosen the lug nuts. If your tire has a hubcap, you’ll have to remove it using the flat end of your lug wrench to expose the lug nuts. You may have to use force to loosen it and make the lug nut turn. Loosen the lug nuts by completing a half turn counterclockwise and leave them until it’s time to remove the tire from your vehicle.
  4. Place a jack under your vehicle’s frame. While you can normally place a jack beneath the vehicle’s frame near the flat tire, it’s important to check the owner’s manual before placing the jack to avoid damaging your vehicle. When you’ve placed the jack in its proper position, raise your car about six inches. Don’t put any part of your body under the vehicle when using the jack.
  5. Remove the lug nuts and the tire. Remove the lug nuts on the tire by hand. After you’ve removed the lug nuts, you can remove your tire from the hub by gripping its treads and pulling it towards you. Place the tire on its side on the road so it doesn’t roll away.
  6. Mount the spare tire on the car and replace the lug nuts. Line up your spare tire’s rim with the lug bolts connected to the hub. Then, push the tire towards the car until the lug bolts are through the rim. You can then put the lug nuts back on the bolts and tighten them by hand as much as you can.
  7. Lower your vehicle and tighten the lug nuts again. Use the jack to lower your vehicle until the spare tire is resting on the ground, but don’t lower it so far that all the car’s weight is resting on the tire. Then, tighten the lug nuts with your lug wrench by turning the nuts clockwise. Push down on the lug wrench by using the full weight of your body.
  8. Lower the vehicle completely. Now you can completely lower your vehicle to the ground and remove the jack. Double check that the lug nuts are as tight as possible using your lug wrench. If you removed a hubcap and it will fit on your spare, you can put it on the spare. If it doesn’t fit, you can stow it away with the rest of your equipment.
  9. Check the tire pressure in your spare. Check the tire pressure of the spare tire to make sure it’s safe to drive on. A tire’s air pressure level is measured in pounds per square inch (or PSI), and a spare tire should be at 60 PSI. If the tire pressure is low and you have a portable tire inflator on hand, you can inflate the tire yourself. If you don’t have a tire inflator, drive slowly to the nearest service station immediately.
  10. Visit a mechanic as soon as possible. You shouldn’t drive long distances or at high speeds on a spare tire, so drive slowly and cautiously until you can see a mechanic. A mechanic will be able to tell you if your tire can be repaired or if you’ll need to replace it..

Do you know how to change a tire? Don’t wait until you experience a flat tire to learn how to put on your spare. Follow these steps to swap your tire and get back on the road in no time.

Wondering how your car insurance policy could protect you if you’re ever involved in a tire blowout-related collision? Reach out to your group’s licensed car insurance broker to find out.

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