How to Change a Tire
How to Change a Tire
How to Change a Tire
As an on and off-road tire manufacturer, we work diligently to help our customers avoid the task of having to change a flat tire on the side of the road (or the trail). But the world is an unpredictable place, full of obstacles that can best even the toughest engineering. Especially for those who explore off-road, learning how to change a tire is a vital skill. Here’s how it’s done the BFGoodrichⓇ Tires way.
Step One: Pull Over
When it comes to exploration, preparation is everything. When you venture off-road, always bring a spare tire. This way, if you find yourself with a flat, there’s no need to panic. You’re prepared. Just slow down your vehicle, and find a safe spot to pull over carefully. Look for a spot that’s on a flat surface, is out of the way of traffic, and isn’t on terrain that’s too soft (mud, sand, etc.)
Step Two: Hazards
After you come to a complete stop, put your vehicle in park and turn on your hazard lights. At this point, applying your parking brake is also a good way to ensure your vehicle does not roll downhill while you work.
Step Three: Tools
Next, gather the tools that you’ll need to change your tire. A lug wrench, a car jack, and a spare tire will all be on that list. In many offroad vehicles, the spare tire is hung on the back of the trunk. In other vehicles, these items are stored in a tire well compartment in the trunk.
Step Four: Safety Cones
Especially if you frequently travel along rural, dimly-lit roadways, it’s a smart idea to keep some collapsible safety cones in your vehicle for situations like getting a flat tire. After you pull over, grab your cones and place them about six feet in front of and behind your vehicle to forewarn passing drivers of your presence on the side of the road.
Step Five: Wheel Chocks
A wheel chock is a heavy object that prevents your tire from moving. If you don’t carry these in your vehicle, look around for nearby rocks. Place the chocks in front of and behind the tires on your vehicle that will stay on the ground when your vehicle is jacked up to change the tire.
Step Six: Lug Nuts
While the tire is still in contact with the ground, loosen each lug nut by no more than one revolution in a counter-clockwise direction. It’s important to do this while the tire is still on the ground so that you can use the vehicle’s weight to help you gain leverage. You don’t want to simply spin the wheel. Sometimes, a lot of force is required for this step. If you find yourself struggling, use your body weight to help.
Step Seven: Jacking Points
Because many vehicle parts are made of plastic, it’s important that you set up your jack properly, with the weight of the vehicle supported by the jack at the correct point. This point is usually located along the structural body or frame on your vehicle. To find out where your vehicle’s proper jacking points are, see your owner’s manual.
Step Eight: Lift the Vehicle
With your jack resting flat on the ground, in contact with the correct jacking point, slowly lift your vehicle with the jack. The vehicle should lift straight up off the ground. If you notice any leaning or instability, stop immediately. Lower the jack, address the problem, and try again.
Step Nine: Remove Lug Nuts
After your vehicle is sufficiently lifted, completely remove the lug nuts from the wheel. Once they are loose enough, this task is easily done with your hands.
Step Ten: Remove Wheel
Then remove the wheel and replace it with your spare. Be sure to align the spare with the wheel studs. Not sure which direction is correct? Look for the air valve. The valve on your tire should face outward so that you can inflate it with air.
Step Eleven: Replace Lug Nuts
Replace the lug nuts and tighten them most of the way. The tapered end of an acorn-style nut should face the wheel when tightening. Use your hands, getting the nuts as tight as you can, then switch over to the wrench for more tightening. It’s important not to tighten one nut all the way, then move on to the next. Going in a star-shaped pattern, give each nut a crank or two, then move to the next, and so on. This technique will allow for even contact between the rim and the hub.
Step Twelve: Lower Vehicle
Use the jack to lower the vehicle back to the ground slowly. Once lowered, you can use the vehicle’s weight as leverage to give each nut a final tightening with the wrench. If applicable, now is the time to replace the hubcap on your wheel.
Step Thirteen: Collect Tools
Even in a roadside emergency, always tread lightly. Pack out everything you packed in. Gather your flat tire, wheel chocks, safety cones, and tire tools from the road and return them to your vehicle.
Step Fourteen: Hit the road!
Congratulations. You’ve safely, successfully changed a tire. Now it’s time to start your engine, turn off your parking brake and hazard lights, and head off onto your next adventure. As you continue to explore, be sure to regularly check and adjust the psi of all your tires — the ones on the ground, and your spare as well.
For more essential tire knowledge, visit our Tires 101 page.