How to Change a Flat TireImagine you’re driving home from work late one evening. You are warm and cozy in your car, expertly maneuvering through icy conditions, when all the sudden, you hear the unmistakable pop from your tire. You maneuver safely to the side of the road, but without even stepping into the frigid night, you know what awaits. A flat tire.

Now you could wait in your quickly cooling car and call for help. Or if you have someplace to be or don’t feel like waiting, you could change the tire yourself. It’s okay if you’ve never changed a tire before, because we have created a step-by-step guide to help you change that tire.

1.    Make sure your vehicle is on a flat surface with ample space to work. If you can maneuver to a parking lot, then do so. Do not drive far on a flat tire, you can damage your rim. When you park your vehicle, be sure to put on the emergency brake. If you are driving a standard transmission, place the car in gear when you park, for an automatic placing it in park is just find.

2.    Gather your tools –You will need your car’s spare tire, a jack, a lugnut lock (if needed), tire iron and a flash light if it’s dark.  The spare is usually in the trunk under the floor mat, or on a SUV mounted on the back of the tailgate or underneath the vehicle.

3.    Check air pressure- if you have an air pressure gauge check the tire’s pressure on the spare, hopefully it should be fine.

4.    Use the tire iron- (the L shaped bar that fits over the wheel lugs) to loosen each lug.  They are usually very tight, so don’t be afraid to use some force. The lugs should loosen after a couple tries.  When you can unscrew the lugs by hand, move onto the next.

5.    Place the jack under your car. Some frames have specific spots that the jack should go, so be sure to read the instructions on the jack beforehand.

6.    Raise the jack until there is roughly 2 inches of clearance between your flat tire and the pavement.

7.    Once the tire is completely raised off the ground, remove the wheel lugs completely and set them in a safe place. There is only one thing worse than a flat tire, searching along the dark roadside for scattered lugs.

8.    Take the spare tire and line it up over the wheel studs, you’ll have to hold up the tire and try to line up the holes in the wheel. One tip is to balance the tire on your foot while you move it into position.   Once done, the lugs should screw on easily by hand.

9.    When each lug is tightened by hand, lower the jack carefully and remove from under the vehicle

10.  Now it is time to tighten the lugs completely. Use your tire iron in a star shaped pattern to tighten the lugs. Visit each lug twice to ensure they are on snuggly.

Now gather your supplies and get back on your way. In 10 simple steps, you can go from stranded to running  just a few minutes behind schedule. You’ll want to get your flat tire fixed as soon as possible though. If you have a compact spare tire, it is only intended to travel at 50 miles per hour and for only about 50 miles.