5 Steps to Changing a Tire

AAA Mid States

As you know, AAA Roadside Assistance covers you when you find yourself with a flat tire. A AAA service vehicle will come to you and replace your flat with your spare, free of charge. But knowing how to change a tire is a skill all drivers should learn.

Here are steps to take when changing a tire:

  1. Safety and tools. Before you begin, make sure you’re in a safe location, as far off the road as you can get. Turn on your warning blinkers and place a safety triangle behind your vehicle to alert traffic that your vehicle is stopped. For step-by-step instructions for changing a tire, pull out your owner’s manual. The owner’s manual will also tell you the location of the tools you will need to perform a tire change, such as lug wrench, jack, fully inflated spare tire, etc.
  2. Loosening the lug nuts. Using your lug wrench, begin to loosen the lug nuts, but don’t remove them all the way. Remember – righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.
  3. Jack it up. Use your vehicle’s jack to lift your car up until the tires spin freely. If you’re not sure how to use a jack, your owner’s manual should have instructions. Make sure you don’t raise your vehicle too far for risk of the car sliding off the jack.
  4. Remove and change the tire. After your vehicle is jacked up, remove the lug nuts and straightly pull off the tire. Take a rag and wipe down the threads and back plate of the wheel to make sure there is no corrosion. Place the spare tire on the wheel, put the lug nuts back on, and finger-tighten the lug nuts.
  5. Finishing up. Lower the vehicle and tighten the nuts in the pattern indicated in your owner’s manual. Failure to tighten properly can cause the wheel or brakes to warp and create problems later on.

Remember, the spare “donut” tire is only a temporary fix. A donut lasts for about 50 miles and should not be driven more than a maximum speed of 50 mph. It’s recommended to have your tire repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

To help you in your search for a local repair shop, use the AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility Locator and find your nearest location. Go to AAA.com/AAR for more details.