The way you access your spare tire to change a flat depends on your vehicle. Truck spares are sometimes held in place under the vehicle with a chain, bracket and a bolt, and it’s not unusual to find that those components are rusted and stuck in place (not a good discovery when you’re sitting on the side of the road with a flat tire). Free-up the parts now, before you have a flat.
- Read your owner’s manual for exact tire changing directions, then give it a try to make sure you understand how to remove the spare from its storage area and operate the jack to change a tire.
- If you’re dealing with rusty storage components, spray on a rust penetrant and try the mechanism again. If you still can’t get things to move you’ll probably have to buy replacement parts to hold the spare where it should be.
Once the spare is accessible, check its pressure.
- Look in your owner’s manual for the recommended tire pressure–PSI, or pounds per square inch. Use a tire pressure gauge to make sure the spare is aired up correctly.
Don’t Leave Home Without:
- A jack and all the other tools you need to change a flat tire
- A simple flat tire kit: gloves, flashlight, road reflector and an old blanket you can put down to keep from getting dirty while you change the tire
- A small chunk of wood to put behind a tire to help keep the truck or car from rolling while it’s up on the jack
If You Have a Flat Tire
Pull off the road. If you’re not in a safe place, don’t worry about ruining the tire — get to a spot where you know you won’t be hit by passing cars and trucks.
A wheel and tire can be very heavy — especially the large components used on trucks and SUVs. Were you able to handle the weight in your test? If that wen’t okay, remember that ice or snow will make the wheel and tire even heavier than usual.
If you’re alone and need a little help lifting the spare onto the hub, lean it against the hub and put the long end of the L-shaped tire tool underneath the tire. Pull upward, using the tool as leverage to raise the wheel far enough to slide over the bolts on the hub.
Join a motor club if you’d rather make a call from the road and have someone change the flat tire for you. But everyone who drives should know how to change a flat tire in an emergency — or when the motor club can’t be reached.