Flat tire? Here’s how to install a spare tire in 8 steps
It’s that dreaded moment drivers hope they’ll never have to face... Having to install a spare tire on their own!
Maybe you’d rather keep telling yourself that it’ll never happen to you. We get it. However, the chances are that you’ll have to deal with a flat tire at least once in your lifetime. It can happen to anyone!
So you might as well be ready for it. To help you out, we’ve created this flat tire survival guide. First, we’ll explain how you can prepare for this. Then we’ll show you how to install a spare tire in 8 steps.
It’s not that hard, we promise. You’ll be a tire installation pro in no time!
Ready? Here we go!
How to be well prepared
Tire sealant, run-flat tires, compact spare or full-size spare?
New cars are increasingly less likely to come with a spare tire. If such is the case for you, the manufacturer may have provided an alternative, like a can of tire sealant or a temporary repair kit.
Wondering why? Well, the auto industry has its reasons – lots of them. Removing the spare tire provides better gas mileage, reduces CO2 emissions and creates more space in the trunk (or fuel tank!)
A tire sealant is nonetheless a practical option for a quick fix. But remember – it’s just a band-aid solution and you should go to your Point S Auto Centre as quickly as possible.
Depending on the type of flat, the repair kit may not be an adequate solution (e.g., if the rubber is torn). We therefore recommend you invest in run-flat tires, a compact spare or a full-size spare. Read on to learn the difference.
Is your car equipped with run-flat tires? Once reserved for high-end models, these tires are increasingly popular.
The pros? Safety! If you get a flat tire, you retain good control of your car and can easily make your way to the closest garage. There’s no need to pull over to install your spare tire or to call your roadside assistance service.
The cons? Well, they make for a less comfortable ride, and they’re much more expensive than regular tires.
Compact or full-size spare
Not running run-flat tires? You should have a temporary compact or full-size spare. It isn’t mandatory on our roads, but strongly recommended.
What’s the difference between the two? The compact spare, also known as a “donut,” is much thinner – it takes up less space, but is meant to be driven a short distance only. The full-size spare, for its part, looks a lot more like a regular tire.
That being said, both types of spares can be used to replace the flat tire. Let’s have a closer look at the different pros, cons and features of each:
- Takes up less space
- Very temporary solution: go directly to the garage
- Keep your speed under 80 km/h and 65-70 km/h on rainy or snowy days*
- Tire pressure must be checked monthly – it deflates quickly
- Nearly the same as a real tire: you can drive to the garage without worry
- Depending on the model, you can drive at a regular speed, or slightly slower if it’s smaller than your other tires or on a lighter rim
- The tire pressure only needs to be checked once a year
- More expensive
- Takes up more space
Locate your spare tire
Sure, this seems like it should be obvious, and you’re not wrong! But the spare tire isn’t always stored in the same spot, and you don’t want to wait until you get a flat tire to start hunting around for it.
The spare tire can be found in one of three places:
- In the trunk
- Under the hood
- On the rear trunk door
Get the right tools
Make sure you have a jack, a lug wrench and the tool you need to remove your wheel covers.
Also think about getting a headlamp. It’s much more practical than a flashlight or cell phone, as it leaves both hands free.
Changing a tire in 8 steps
Now that you have all the tools you need, here’s how you install a spare tire in 8 steps.
Step 1: Pull over somewhere safe
If possible, avoid stopping on the highway or a busy street. For your safety, try to limp your car to the closest parking lot. You’ll be away from traffic and in a better position to change your tire.
It’s important that your vehicle be 100% stable. For an automatic car, apply the hand brake. For a manual car, put it in first, then apply the hand brake. If you can find any heavy objects around, use them to chock the wheels.
Step 2: Get your tools ready
Get everything you’ll need – spare tire and tools (jack and lug wrench) – and make sure everything is close at hand.
Step 3: Remove the wheel cover and loosen the lug nuts
Start by prying off the wheel cover (hubcap) with a tool (e.g., flathead screwdriver) or your fingers. You won’t need it for the time being, so leave it in the trunk.
Using the lug wrench, turn the lugs nuts (or bolts) counterclockwise until they loosen slightly. That way, you’ll be able to remove them by hand when the wheel is off the ground. In other words, make sure you don’t remove the lug nuts at this step.
Step 4: Position the jack
The right place for the jack depends on your car model. If you’re changing a front tire, you’ll usually see a small mark on the bottom of the frame, just behind the wheel well.
For rear tires, the mark is usually just in front of the wheel well. That being said, we recommend you check the exact position in your vehicle owner’s manual.
When you find the mark, position the jack fully upright and turn the handle until your tire is roughly 6 inches (or 15 cm). Use your foot if you need to.
Step 5: Remove the lug nuts and flat tire
Now you can go ahead and remove the lug nuts and put them somewhere safe. Next, remove the tire by pulling it toward yourself. Then lay it flat under your car – if the jack gives out, the car won’t have as far to fall.
Sometimes getting the wheel off can be a challenge, but don’t worry, you’ll get there. It may be sticking due to rust or dirt.
Step 5: Replace the tire
Install the spare tire and the lug nuts (tighten them by hand using a star pattern). Don’t use the lug wrench yet.
Step 6: Remove the jack and tighten the lug nuts
You can now lower your vehicle back to the ground by turning the jack handle, then use the lug wrench to tighten the lug nuts.
Step 7: Get back on the road
Don’t forget your flat tire or any of your tools. Carefully get back on the road, at the speed recommended in the instruction manual. Some spare tires aren’t meant to go faster than 65 or 80 km/h, so be careful.
Step 8: Go to your garage or the nearest gas station
Lastly, depending on the type of spare tire you used, you should more or less go straight to your Point S Auto Centre to get your flat tire repaired or replaced. One way or the other, always remember that a spare tire is a temporary solution.
Even if you don’t need to change your spare tire immediately, you should still go to the nearest gas station and check the tire pressure.
And that’s it! That’s the end of our awesome flat tire survival guide. We hope you were able (or will be able, when the time comes) to change your tire like a pro!
And if not? Well, you can always think about getting roadside assistance :)
In summary, make sure you’re ready to handle a flat tire by having the right tools in your car, And if the unthinkable happens, just follow these 8 steps:
- Pull over somewhere safe
- Get your tools ready
- Remove the wheel cover and loosen the lug nuts
- Position the jack
- Replace the tire
- Remove the jack and tighten the lug nuts
- Get back on the road
- Go to your garage or the nearest gas station
Just had a flat tire? Go to your nearest Point S retailer.
- Stress-free tire guarantee
- Always close to home: over 225 stores across the country
- 100% transparency policy: no surprises on your invoice
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