If you have ever found yourself stranded with a flat tire, your first instinct might be to call a tow truck to have your car taken to the nearest auto shop. A tow truck can be expensive, especially if you have a spare tire in your car ready to go.

Changing a flat tire is easier than it sounds. By following these steps, you can get your car running again and save money on a tow to the auto shop.

Loosen Your Tire's Lug Nuts

A mistake often made when changing a flat tire is loosening your lug nuts after the car has been jacked up. It is actually much easier to loosen your lug nuts while the car is on the ground and sturdy. You do not want to take your lug nuts off the tire completely, just start the process of getting them loose.

Jack The Car Up

You can now start using your jack to lift the car off the ground. It is best to consult your car's instruction manual to find the appropriate place to put the jack. A common mistake made is to place the jack underneath the outer body of the car instead of the frame. This can cause the body of the car to crack as you start lifting your car up. Always make sure you are lifting your car up by the frame.

Raise the car with your jack until the flat tire is completely off the ground.

Remove Your Flat Tire

You can now continue with removing the lug nuts. As you might be able to tell, the car will be a little shaky while raised by the jack, so be careful not to rock the car too much while applying pressure to loosen the lug nuts.

Once all the lug nuts have been removed, be sure to place them somewhere safe. You will need them in a moment. You can now remove your flat tire.

Installing Your Spare Tire

Your spare tire will fit perfectly onto the 5 bolts on your car. Now you can install your lug nuts onto the spare. Start by tightening the lug nuts by hand as tight as they can go. Then use your wrench to finish securing the tire to your car. This time you will want to tighten your lug nuts in a star pattern, which helps ensure that the tire is secured with even pressure. One again, be careful not to apply too much pressure while your car is on the jack, as it could cause the jack to slip out from underneath the car.

Lower Your Car

With the tire in place, you can now lower your car off the jack. Once the jack has been removed and all the pressure is on your tires, tighten the bolts one more time in a star pattern to ensure they are on securely.

While driving on your spare tire, avoid driving at highway speeds. Take local streets on your way to a tire shop, like Action Al's Tire Company, where you can have a brand new tire installed.