Rear View – A Carcility blog

How to Change Your Car Tire All by Yourself?

Changing car tire
Car careCar maintenance

Changing a flat has a lot to do with your experience rather than knowledge. No matter how much you read on the subject, an actual flat tire on a desolate highway can be a very unnerving experience! Having faced this numerous times now, I can tell you from experience that there is nothing better than the experience itself. So make sure you try changing tires at home in the safety of your garage with assistance a call away before you have to actually face it on the streets. 

However, before we delve into the details on how to change a car tire, let us first take a look into the various ways we can maintain our car tires in the first place.

Car Tire Maintenance

Car Tires are like the air you breathe, extremely important but hardly noticed – until something goes wrong and everything comes to a sudden stop. The thing most people fail to realize is the fact that the tires of your car are the only thing that’s in contact with the ground. That too, not in a stationary state but constantly rotating and scraping against the asphalt while carrying the whole load of the vehicle. 

Needless to say, tires go through extreme conditions daily thus rendering them quite vulnerable to wear-and-tear despite modern technology doing everything it can to keep up. Depending on the tread of the tire, your present vehicle load and the location you are in, the tires of your car can either be your best friend or your worst nightmare – depending on how you maintain them.

Having spent a lot of time on the road, we have learnt a lot about the outside environment and its impact on the different peripherals of a car and the results are quite surprising. While leaving any car out in the open for extended periods while hiking or camping, the surprising thing we noticed was the effect of the atmosphere on the tires of the car. We all know how hot summers can get here in the UAE but it’s extremely difficult to put two and two together for a layman. We quickly realized that keeping any car out in the open in the heat and then quickly returning it back to shade or driving over wet surfaces had a staggering detrimental effect on  tires.

Hence, if you take your car off the tarmac, we highly recommend investing in some good offroaders and also start some basic research on how to take care of your car in the open.

Here are some tips we guess will come in handy if you are facing such issues, especially out in the open:

    • Tread Lightly 

      This might not be the most intuitive step but it’s extremely important. The grooves on your tire are the reason behind its grip, so if you notice the tires going flat over the surface, then it’s a good time to get it replaced. Check the tread of your tires with a penny. If the depth is more than 30% of the coin, then you are good to go. Otherwise, we highly recommend changing it.

    • Pressure Point 

      Each tire is built differently and serves a different purpose. The tires for your offroader SUV will differ greatly from that of your sedan. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you are using the correct tires as specified in the owner’s manual. Also, the recommended tire pressures are also different for each make, so make sure you check those at set intervals. It’s not difficult to get the pressure checked and it definitely increases the life  of the tires exponentially.

    • Alignment 

      This is one of the most overlooked factors when it comes to tire management. Who really cares about their wheels alignment? Most don’t even know that wheels can fall out of alignment! However, if the wheels are not aligned correctly, it not only damages your tires but can also damage to the rims and axles. If you are reading this now, go get your wheel alignment checked immediately.

    • Rotation 

      This is mostly an issue with RWD (rear-wheel drive) and FWD (front-wheel drive) vehicles, not so much with AWD (all-wheel drive) vehicles. Since the weight displacement is largely different in FWD and RWD cars, either the front tires or the back tires undergo more friction than the other. Therefore, it is a good idea to rotate the tires every six months in order to ensure the same wear and tear on all tires.

    • Weathered 

      Did you know that in countries with extreme climates, you get tires, dedicated for the hot and cold seasons? If you belong to such locations, it is recommended that you replace summer tires with winter ones once the weather gets cold. This not only ensures longevity but also your safety.

    • Weight 

      This should come naturally but still, it is a good point to mention! Do not overload your vehicle with unnecessary luggage or tuck in more people than recommended. It is neither good for your tires or suspension nor is it good for your hygiene. Please limit the number of heads to the recommended limit if you wanna increase the lifespan of your vehicle.

These are just some basic tips to get you on your way! However, if you are still facing troubles with your tires, then we highly recommend taking your vehicle to a professional car service centre.

Changing Car Tires

Now that you know the basics of maintaining a car tire, let’s delve deeper into the method of changing the tire itself! For starters, make sure you have all the equipment you need handy, have ample space to work on and we highly recommend taking help from an experienced friend if this is your first time. 

With that being said, let’s take a closer look at all the equipment you will require to get the job done.

Changing a flat tire

Equipment:

Needless to say, the first step actually begins at home. You need to know the correct size and proper equipment required for you to fix a flat so that you can keep it handy. Don’t use the same equipment for all your cars as chances are they won’t match. Also, change your equipment if you happen to replace your car.

Following are a list of things you will need in case of a flat:

      • Jack
      • Lug Wrench
      • Hub-Removal Tool (if required)
      • Lug Nut/Bolt Key (if required)
      • Flashlight
      • Small Piece of Wood to Secure the Jack
      • Gloves
      • Wheel Wedges (bricks also work fine)
      • Owner’s Manual
      • Spare Tyre (Duh!)

Make sure you have all these items handy. Most models come with its own lug wrench, jack and spare but in case it doesn’t, refer to the owner’s manual. It should contain the correct specifications of the equipment you will require. 

Preparation:

In the case of a flat tire on a highway or a freeway, make sure you follow the local traffic rules. Whatever you do, do not panic and block the way for others. Do NOT apply your brakes immediately. Instead, turn on your emergency lights and start making your way towards a flat safe spot away from traffic.

Following are a list of things that one should always keep in mind in case of a sudden flat:

      • Always turn on your emergency lights
      • Do not block the way for others
      • Search for a flat surface
      • Do not come to a sudden halt
      • Reduce your speed slowly and come to a slow stop
      • Keep your emergency lights turned on while you work
      • Always wear gloves

Once you have come to a stop, get your spare and equipment out of your trunk and get ready to get your hands dirty. Also, inspect the flat for any other damage and try to ascertain the point of impact. If it’s a natural flat, there is nothing for you to worry about, but if the rims come in contact with the ground, contact roadside assistance immediately.

Process:

The first step is to ensure that you are parked on a flat surface. Use bricks or wheel wedges to secure the wheels of your car and make sure they don’t slip. Apply the parking brakes and make sure the emergency lights are turned on. Take the hub-removal tool and pry away the hub cap.

Next, loosen the lugs before you jack up the car but not all the way – just get rid of the resistance. After loosening, place the jack on a flat surface (use the wooden plank if need be) and align it with the metal frame of your car. Most cars nowadays have points on which you can fix your jacks (refer to the owner’s manual for this). After you have secured the jack, start lifting the car slowly.

spare tire changing

Once you have the car jacked up, start removing the lugs one by one. Once the lugs come off, replace the flat tyre with the spare. Make sure you align the nodes correctly so that the ones on the spare match the ones on the rim. Tighten the lugs back on using a star pattern. Do not screw them all the way in at once. Instead, go in the star pattern one full crank at a time. Once the lugs are sufficiently tightened, lower your car but not all the way. Use the wrench to tighten the lugs all the way. Once they are locked in place, pop the hubcap back on and lower the car all the way. Remove the wheel wedges and place the flat in your trunk along with your equipment. The following is the process tree:

      • Park on a flat surface
      • Secure the wheels of your car using wheel wedges
      • Take off the hubcap
      • Loosen the lugs
      • Lift your car using the jack
      • Remove lugs
      • Replace tyre
      • Screw on the lugs
      • Lower car
      • Tighten lugs
      • Place hubcap
      • Tuck away equipment

Hopefully, this helps you. As stated earlier, changing a flat is more about your experience rather than knowledge. We always recommend keeping the contact of local garages handy. If you are traveling, make sure you pick up the contact from gas stations. This helps a lot, trust us! If you are still struggling to find a proper service provider, then we highly recommend Carcility, a modern approach to getting cars fixed and serviced in the UAE. It has a list of all local garages and you can get instant quotes from each of them according to your needs. The app has streamlined the entire process and also tracks your records so that you never miss another car service again. The offers and discounts on the app are just a bonus, so get started with Carcility today and witness the change for yourself.

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