11 Steps to Fix a Flat Tire

Need to fix a flat tire? Don’t worry. It’s easy once you know how — and these steps (or those in your owner’s manual), can help. If your car isn’t in a safe position on the roadway or you’re unsure about the directions, it’s best to call an expert using the directions in our Car Break Down Smarts.

  1. Set your parking brake, and put the car in park.  Block your tires with a rock or chunk of wood to keep it from rolling. Hint! It’s best if you’re parked on the flattest area possible.
  2. Take out your spare tire and tire changing tools. They’re stored in your trunk, under your car, on the rear door or in storage cubbies on the sides of your trunk area.  (Check your owner’s manual.)
  3. If it’s dark, ask your passenger to shine a flashlight on the tire — or put one on the ground if you’re alone — to help you see. If you have flares or other markers to help drivers see you, be sure to use them, especially if the flat tire is facing the road (see Car Emergency Kit). 
  4. Loosen the lug nuts by turning the wrench counterclockwise (lefty-loosey). They’ll probably be on tight, so use your full weight or your foot, if needed.
  5. Use the jack to raise the car. The jack goes on the metal (not plastic) frame under your car just behind the front tire or in front of the rear tire — depending which is flat. Sometimes the spot is helpfully marked with a little notch. 
  6. Take off the lug nuts. Keep them together so they’re easy to find later. 
  7. Pull off the flat tire, and put on your spare.
  8. Using your hand, put the lug nuts on twisting clockwise (righty-tighty) as tightly as you can.
  9. Lower the jack until the tire touches the ground.
  10. Using the wrench, finish tightening the lug nuts, then lower the jack fully and remove it.
  11. Store your tools, put the flat in your car, remove your tire blocks and head to a service station soon to get your flat tire repaired. Hint! It’s best not to travel too many miles on your spare. The wear on the tread will be different than your other tires, which could affect your traction even when it’s a “regular size” tire.

Help is never far away. Contact your agent to find out more about our Emergency Roadside Assistance, and we’ll be there to fix a flat tire for you, if there’s ever a next time.


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Related Topics: On The Road