Can you change a tire? If you can’t, you’re not alone. One in every five U.S. drivers doesn’t know how to change a tire. More than 220 million tires go flat every year, and this common roadside issue can cause serious problems if you’re not prepared. 

While getting started might feel intimidating, changing a flat is a simple task that many drivers can accomplish on their own. To show you how, this previous Car Chats with Cenex® video demonstrates the process from start to finish. 

That doesn’t look so hard, does it? Here’s a recap of what to do, step-by-step. 

  1. Find a safe spot where you can pull over. This may be the shoulder of the highway or a parking spot at your local Cenex gas station.  
  2. Locate your spare tire and the tools you’ll need, including your jack, lug wrench, wheel wedges, flashlight and flares or reflective triangles. 
  3. Turn on your hazard lights, then place your flares or reflective triangles behind your vehicle to make sure passing traffic sees you. Place your wheel wedges behind both tires on the opposite side of the car as the flat. 
  4. If your wheel has a hubcap, use the flat end of your lug wrench to pry the hubcap free and expose the lug nuts. Use the other end of your lug wrench to loosen, but not remove, the lug nuts. 
  5. Use the jack to raise your vehicle. Refer to your owner’s manual for the best place to position the jack beneath your vehicle’s frame. Expand the jack until your flat is 6 inches off the ground.  
  6. Once your vehicle is raised, remove the lug nuts — but keep them handy. You’ll need them again soon. 
  7. Remove the flat tire. It should come off easily. Then, replace it with your spare. Tighten the lug nuts by hand, but don’t reach for the lug wrench again just yet. Lower the jack until the wheel is back on the ground.  
  8. Use your lug wrench to finish tightening the lug nuts, and you’re all set to make it home — or to the repair shop. 
  9. Remember, you can’t drive on your spare tire for more than 50 miles. Make sure to schedule an appointment with your local tire shop once you arrive safely to your destination.  

Doing your part to keep your car running its best can prevent breakdowns and stalling over time. Every time you stop at the pump, you can help maintain your vehicle automatically by choosing CENEX TOP TIER DETERGENT GASOLINE. To see Cenex stations near you, use our LOCATIONS FINDER

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