Having a flat tire on the road is a major inconvenience. If you’ve never changed a flat tire, it could be a harrowing ordeal, but it’s not as hard as many people think. Most cars come with a spare tire, and a lot of cars have a full-size spare (which is recommended). If your car does not have a spare tire, make sure that you purchase one immediately to avoid being stranded on the road. If you do have a spare tire, this is how to fix a flat under 15 minutes.
Fix Your Flat in No Time
The moment you realize you have a flat tire, pull over immediately and park safely. Turn on your emergency lights to notify oncoming traffic (especially at night) and open the hood of the vehicle, which simply shows other vehicles you are in distress.
Find the spare tire, which is usually located in the trunk with the rest of the tools you will need.
The Tools You Will Need
• Lug wrench
• Spare tire
• Auto Manual (recommended)
• Flashlight or phone light (recommended if it’s dark outside)
• Screwdriver (optional)
• Jack stands (optional)
• Wheel chocks (optional)
Take out the spare tire and put it near the tire that needs changing. A full-size spare tire can replace any tire on the vehicle, otherwise, a small spare tire or “donut” spare, can only replace a non-driven tire that is damaged. That means if you have a vehicle with rear-wheel drive and your flat tire is at the back of the vehicle, you will have to move a tire from the front of the car to the back, and move the flat tire to the front, replacing the “donut” spare on the front end.
Chock the wheels or find something to secure the wheels from rolling. When you’re ready to use the floor jack, if possible, chock the tires at the opposite end of the vehicle and engage the parking brake. It is very important that the wheels are secure and that you are doing this on a flat, hard surface so that the jacks to do fall.
Loosen the lugs or bolts with the lug wrench, however, you might need a screwdriver to remove the hubcap that sometimes covers the lug nuts or bolts. You do not need to completely remove the lug nuts or bolts, just loosen them so they can be easily removed once you have lifted the vehicle.
Using the floor jack, raise the vehicle after you’ve loosened the lug nuts or bolts.
Make sure the floor jack has been placed underneath a solid spot beneath the chassis (which is designed to be strong enough to withstand the weight of the vehicle). These are commonly referred to as “jack points” and can usually be found in the owner’s manual. According to the directions on the jack, slowly raise the vehicle and make sure the jack does not begin to tilt. If the base begins to come off the ground, immediately lower the vehicle, rearrange the jack, and start over.
Once the vehicle has been raised, now remove the lug nuts or bolts completely and put them somewhere safe for the time being.
Take off the flat tire and set it aside somewhere secure.
Attach the spare tire to the axle and begin to replace the lug nuts until they are hand tight. Do not tighten them completely.
Lower the vehicle a bit so that some of the vehicle’s weight rests on the spare.
Tighten the lug nuts completely with the lug wrench by first tightening one, and then next, tightening the one directly across from it. Continue doing this in a pattern to ensure there is equal tightness on each lug nut.
Finally, lower the vehicle completely to the ground, remove the floor jack, and clean up. Ensure the tightness of the lug nuts a second time for security and tightness. Clean everything up and put the flat tire in the trunk where the spare was. You can take your flat tire to a tire repair shop to have it repaired by a professional, and also have them inspect your tire change for safety purposes.
And that’s how to fix a flat under 15 minutes unless of course, you don’t have a spare tire in the first place. If that’s the case, call roadside assistance or a local mechanic shop and hope that they can get to you in about the same time or less!