Driving a car gives you a sense of freedom and independence like no other. This life skill becomes vital not just in your daily life, but also for work and during emergencies. Along with the privilege to drive comes the responsibility of maintaining your car and its parts. It won't do for a driver to get stuck by the road just because they don't know how to change tires.

Your tires need to be replaced when they get punctured with a hole that's too big or when they've become worn over time. If you're not observant enough, you might find out these issues during an inopportune time. With that, it's best to have this equipment on hand in your vehicle:

● Owner's manual for your vehicle

● Fully inflated spare tire

● Jack

● Lug wrench

● Working flashlight

● Gloves

● Raincoat, in case you'll be working in the outdoors

● Small, 2"x6” wood, for securing the jack

● Wheel wedges, or any large enough brick/stone

If you don't have these items yet, make sure to get them right away for your next trip. With these, you're all set to learn how to best change a tire:

Tips 1: Safety First

Be aware of where you are and gradually slow down to a secure spot. If you're in the middle of a road, busy or not, move the car somewhere that won't cause traffic or is in an oncoming car's blind spot. This typically means straight roads that have a wide shoulder. Afterwards, turn on your hazard lights and put on the car's parking brake.

Tip 2: Pre-Lifting Preparations

To ensure that your car won't roll away as you work on it, get your wheel wedges in place. If your problem is in the rear tire, place them in front of the front tires and vice versa, but with the wedge behind the rear tire. If there are hubcaps, remove them first before you loosen the lug nuts. However, don't remove the lug nuts completely.

Tip 3: Using the Jack

Place the jack on the level ground underneath the vehicle frame. You can refer to the vehicle manual to know the best area to use it. If you're handling a heavier vehicle like an SUV, you can invest in Bottle Jacks that use hy draulics. This makes it easier to lift the vehicle than your standard-equipped scissor jack. 

Bottle jacks also have specific instructions on how to use them so check those out before you use them. This part is where you use the small wood to provide additional support to the jack. Once everything is in position, raise the frame until the flat tire is about 6 inches above the ground.

Tip 4: Attaching the Spare

Now, you can completely remove the lug nuts and then the flat tire. Replace with the spare tire, as gently as you can, onto the lug bolts; then tighten the lug nuts back again. Lower the vehicle until the tire touches the ground before you do a second round of tightening for the lug nuts. Afterwards, you can lower the vehicle completely. Still, do a last check to fully secure the lug nuts.

Before you go on your way, don't forget to replace the hubcap as well and stow away all the equipment you used. You can also check if the spare tire has the correct pressure. If not, slowly drive to a service center and get it fixed.

Fixing a flat tire isn't all that hard and it will be a valuable lesson for any driver, especially when you can't call for any help. Just make sure that prior to setting out, your car is fully equipped with the necessary materials so you won't have to worry in the event of a crisis.