Flat tires are inconvenient. Aside from the hassle of bringing out the tools to replace the tire, you also experience delays in your schedule for the day. Bringing your car in for a tire service can take up much more time, further causing nuisance and stress. That’s why replacing tires is a necessary skill that all drivers must know how to do. Although you can call and wait for roadside assistance when you’re caught with a flat, there’s always the chance that the situation may not permit you to do so. For instance, you may have weak reception or a dead battery. Since you can’t always rely on your phone, it’s always a better idea to know how to change tires by yourself.
How Long Does It Take To Change A Tire?
With the right tools and techniques, it would take a person about 15 to 30 minutes to change a tire. But of course, there’s no one right answer as to how long it takes to change a wheel. It all depends on your speed and how you work. If you’re a total beginner at replacing tires, it could take up to an hour to get it done.
When you take your car to a professional to get your tires changed, it does take a shorter time to replace since these people are experts on what they’re doing. Roadside assistance probably does it in the same rate. The only question would be how long you would have to wait to get your tire changed and have your car ready to go.
Even if you don’t have a flat tire, there are other reasons you may want to replace a wheel or two. Some of the reasons include cracked side walls, exposed tread wear indicator, bulges, blisters, or any factor that indicates the time to change your tire. If you take it to a maintenance service, it would take probably around 20 minutes to have one tire changed. However, if you need to replace all four tires at once (like if they’re really old), it could take about 50 minutes to an hour.
We tend to live busy lives and view car maintenance as a disruption to our day. The time it takes to change a tire might be long for some people, but you can’t risk driving around in a car with faulty tires.
How Do You Change a Flat Tire?
Changing a flat tire does require some basic techniques, but it is an essential skill that every driver must learn. To change a tire, you will need the following tools:
- Inflated spare tire
- Lug wrench
- Wheel wedges
- A piece of wood (about 2 x 6 inches) for securing the jack
- Your car’s instruction manual
Aside from these, it would be useful to have a flashlight, gloves, and a raincoat in the car’s trunk so you can easily change tires even at night or when it’s raining.
Step 1: Find a safe spot.
The first step on how to change your tire is to find a safe location to perform the task. When you realize that your tire is flat, don’t make any abrupt turns or breaks. Instead, gradually reduce your speed and find a level ground with enough space for you to change a tire. While it depends on where you are, it’s ideal to stop at an empty parking lot or any straight roadside so your car won’t roll down. Use the parking brake to be safe.
Step 2: Turn on your hazard lights.
Having your hazard lights or flashers on indicate to other drivers that you’re stopped due to an emergency-related reason.
Step 3: Wheel Wedges.
Wheel wedges are placed against the tires to ensure the car does not roll during the change. Place the wedges in front of the front tires when changing a rear tire, and behind the rear tires when changing a front tire. If you don’t have actual wheel wedges, bricks or large stones will do the job.
Step 4: Loosen the lug nuts.
Now it is time to focus on the flat tire. Turn the nuts counterclockwise by using a lug wrench. This might take a bit of strength so don’t be afraid to use some force. Once they’re loose, don’t remove them yet and wait until it is time to remove the tire.
In some tires, there are hubcaps that cover the lug nuts. You have to remove these first if this is the case. Consult your manual to see if you need another tool or if a lug wrench will do.
Step 5: Lift the vehicle.
Carefully place the jack under the vehicle. Again, follow the manual instructions because there might be a specific area in the vehicle frame for jack placement. Once you’ve found the spot, put the piece of wood beneath the jack before lifting the car. When the jack is properly positioned, raise the vehicle until the flat tire is about six inches above ground. Afterwards, unscrew the lug nuts completely.
Step 6: Remove the flat tire.
Grab the wheel by the treads and give it a pull until it comes off. Put it aside and begin mounting the spare tire on the lug bolts. When the bolts are showing through the rims, put the nuts back in place and tighten them.
Step 7: Lower the vehicle.
By using the jack, gently lower the vehicle back to the ground. Do a double check on the lug nuts to make sure they’re tight.
How to Keep Your Tires in Shape
It’s important that you pick our the right tires for your vehicle. If you own a Prius, for instance, get from this list of Best Tires for Prius. If you have a Honda Accord, find the Best-Performing Tires for Honda Accord. You have to ensure that you purchase top-quality and durable tires for the vehicle you have. However, you should also do your part in your tires’ lifespan.
To prolong the life of your tires, you should do a regular maintenance check to assess their condition. Make sure you’re inflating your spare regularly and check the air pressure at least once a month. Also take some time to see if there are signs of extreme wear, which usually means it is time to bring the tires to a professional service provider.
Generally, how your tires perform depends on how you regularly do your tire care and maintenance. Overall, this guide teaches you how long it takes to change your tire, how to change a flat tire, and how to keep your tires in shape. For a more specific guide on stud removal, got to this page: How to Remove Studs from Tires.