It’s not an uncommon scene: You make your way out to your driveway, keys in hand, ready to head off to work, and you notice a sagging, deflated tire. Upon inspection, you find a small nail or piece of metal has punctured the rubber and released the air from within. Now what? Your car should come with a spare, which is usually located underneath the pad of your trunk space, along with a jack and lug wrench, which, if not in the same space as the spare, may be hidden in a side panel of your trunk. Locate these, take them out, and prepare some elbow grease. Here’s how to fix a flat.
Replacing a flat with a spare
Step 1 — Remove the flat tire
First thing’s first: remove the flat tire. Before raising the car using the included jack, use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts on the flat tire, working in a star-pattern as you do. After loosening the nuts — do not remove them yet — situate your car jack to the recommended jacking points for your vehicle, and use it to lift the side of the car you’re working on. Keep in mind that your want to do this on level ground to prevent your car from rolling! After all, jacking the car on an incline can be extremely dangerous. When the car is jacked up, you can remove the lug nuts and take the tire off.
Step 2 — Attach the spare
Replace the flat tire with the spare and reattach the lug nuts to the bolts, but do not fully tighten them yet. Lower the jack until the full weight of the car is back on the tire, and remove the jack. You should now lock down the lug nuts, working once again in a star pattern — or an “X” pattern, if you only have four bolts.
With the spare in place, you can now drive your car again. However, be careful, as spare tires are not built to be driven on for very long, and you should never exceed 50 mph when driving with a spare.