Have you ever been stuck in the middle of the road because of a flat tire? If so, you’ve probably realized how much of a hassle changing tires is—not to mention it can inconvenience others on the road by causing traffic.
However, changing tires can be even more challenging if you drive a truck. Besides the vehicle’s tires being massive and harder to remove than regular ones, you might not know how to fix a flat tire on the road.
If you’re a truck driver facing this problem, check out the infographic below to learn how to change a flat tire safely and quickly.
Step-by-Step Guide to Change a Flat Truck Tire on the Road
Replacing a flat truck tire is not as complicated as it seems if you have the tools and know-how.
The right tools are essential when changing a flat tire, as not having them can lead to incorrect installation or road accidents. As such, keeping the right tools when changing tires is a must.
Here are the tools you’ll need to prepare and keep in your truck to help you fix a flat tire.
A hydraulic jack lets you lift the truck off the ground, providing the necessary clearance to remove and install the tire. Compared to a mechanical jack, hydraulic jacks operate on hydraulic pressure, which makes them capable of lifting heavier loads that trucks are likely to have.
Lifting your vehicle with a hydraulic jack can be easier and puts less strain on the truck by distributing the weight more evenly, reducing the risks of tipping over.
Lug wrench or impact wrench
Also known as the tire iron, this tool is handy when you need to loosen and tighten your wheel’s lug nuts that secure it to the axle. Alternatively, an impact wrench can make lug nut removal quicker and easier. It is also handy for tightly fastened lug nuts.
Pry bar or flathead screwdriver
A pry bar lets you open the hubcap or the component that covers the lug nuts. If you don’t have one, a flathead screwdriver works just fine.
Wheel chocks are wedge-shaped blocks that hold your truck in place, especially if the ground is not level. Place these against the wheels opposite to the one you’re working on. No matter what type of tires you’re changing, keeping wheel chocks handy can prevent your truck from rolling or moving unexpectedly.
This item will replace your flat tire. As such, it’s crucial to have a properly inflated and functional spare tire readily available. Also, ensure you’re using the right one for your vehicle, whether a passenger car tire or a light truck tire.
What to Do Before Fixing a Flat Truck Tire on the Road
While changing a flat tire as quickly as possible is essential, you must find a secure environment to avoid causing accidents on the road.
Pull over on a level surface
When fixing a flat tire, you need a stable foundation by bringing your truck to a leveled surface. Your vehicle will be less likely to shift or roll accidentally, and you can have more space and maneuverability to work comfortably.
Put the hazard lights on
Hazard lights act as communication between you and other drivers, conveying your situation to them. When they see your hazard lights blinking, they’ll understand that you are experiencing a problem and may need assistance or space to resolve it. And this goes for changing a flat tire, too.
Also, you can increase your visibility using hazard lights. You’ll make others aware of your presence on the side of the road and signal them to exercise caution, slow down, and give your vehicle more space.
Wear a high-visibility vest
Remember to wear a high-visibility vest before you step out of your vehicle. Besides hazard lights, high-visibility vests can make other motorists aware of your presence as they are typically brightly colored and feature reflective strips. This precaution is especially helpful at night as you become relatively small amid a dark backdrop when fixing a flat tire.
On top of this, your vest can make it easier for emergency responders or roadside assistance personnel to see you in case you need help.
Place wheel chocks to immobilize your vehicle
As mentioned, wheel chocks are essential to stop your vehicle from moving. When you jack up your truck or park it on an incline, there is a risk of it rolling or shifting, potentially resulting in accidents or injuries. So, use your wheel chocks to provide a stable platform for changing a flat tire.
Aside from stopping accidents, wheel chocks can prevent further damage to your truck. Without wheel chocks, the weight distribution can shift and put unnecessary stress on the transmission, parking brake, and other mechanical components—especially when parked on an incline.
Set up early warning devices
Reflective triangles or flares are early warning or safety devices. They serve as visual indicators to oncoming drivers, giving them a heads-up of the presence of a stopped vehicle. So, ensure you put them at least 4 meters from the front and rear of your stalled truck.
How to Change a Flat Truck Tire in 10 Steps
After securing your truck and working space, it is time to get dirty and change your flat tire. Here are the steps on how to do it.
1. Pry open the hubcap using a pry bar
The first step is to access the lug nuts by removing the hubcap using a pry bar or a flathead screwdriver. Carefully insert the tool on hand under the edge of the hubcap and apply gentle pressure. You must exercise caution to avoid damaging the hubcap or the wheel.
2. Loosen the lug nuts using a lug wrench
Next, loosen the flat tire’s lug nuts. Make sure you do so before lifting your vehicle with a hydraulic jack to make it easier for you to remove the lug nuts later. Position the lug wrench on a lug nut and turn it counterclockwise.
If you don’t know which way to go, remember the saying, “Lefty loosey, righty tighty.” Then, use a pipe or an extension to increase the leverage and loosen a tight lug nut if needed.
3. Lift the truck using a hydraulic jack
Check the vehicle’s manual to help you locate your truck’s recommended lifting point. Placing the jack in the wrong spot can cause damage, so ensure you put it in the right place.
Position the hydraulic jack at the designated lifting point and pump the handle to raise the truck until the flat tire is a few inches off the ground. Remember to place the tool on a stable surface and securely support your vehicle’s weight.
4. Completely remove the lug nuts by hand
Once you’ve lifted the truck, continue loosening and removing the lug nuts by hand. Keep them in a safe place since you’ll need them again later. If a lug nut is particularly stubborn, you can use your body weight by stepping on the lug wrench or remove it with a breaker bar.
5. Dismount the flat tire
After removing the lug nuts, the next step is to dismount the flat tire. Firmly grasp the tire with both hands and pull it straight toward you to disengage it from the lug bolts. Do this carefully since the tire may be heavy or stuck due to corrosion.
If needed, gently wiggle the tire or use a rubber mallet to tap its backside and loosen any corrosion or rust without hitting the rim.
6. Mount the spare tire on the lug bolts
This time, position the spare tire onto the lug bolts, aligning them with the holes in the wheel. Ensure the spare tire faces the correct direction with the thread pattern positioned for proper rotation. Use a rubber mallet to lightly tap and align the holes if the spare tire doesn’t slide easily onto the lug bolts.
Also, remember to have a spare with the right truck tire size for your vehicle to ensure optimal performance.
7. Re-insert the lug nuts
Begin hand threading the lug nuts onto the lug bolts, and observe the correct alignment. Follow a star or diagonal pattern by starting with one lug nut and moving to the one opposite it. Hand-tighten them to ensure proper alignment and prevent cross-threading.
8. Gently lower the truck using the jack
Slowly lower the truck using the hydraulic jack until the spare tire touches the ground but ensure it doesn’t bear the vehicle’s entire weight.
9. Tighten the lug nuts
Once done, gradually tighten the nuts using your lug wrench, following the same star pattern in step 7. However, avoid over-tightening as it can lead to damaged threads or difficulty in future tire changes.
10. Replace the hubcap
Lastly, place the hubcap over the lug nuts. Align this component with the wheel and firmly push it into place until it’s secure. Remember to fasten the clips or screws properly to prevent the hubcap from falling off while driving. Give it a gentle tug to confirm it’s securely attached.
What to Do Before Driving with a Spare Truck Tire
Knowing how to fix a flat tire also involves taking the necessary precautions when going on the road with a spare truck tire.
Check the spare’s tire pressure
Proper tire inflation is crucial for optimal performance and longevity. Use a tire pressure gauge to check if the spare is at the recommended pressure level. If not, adjust the pressure to its optimal level.
Stow away equipment
Don’t just leave your equipment unattended. Collect all the tools used during the tire-changing process and safely stow them in their designated storage compartment. This step helps prevent loose items from rolling around and causing damage to other road users.
Find the nearest tire technician
By design, spare tires are for temporary use only and not for extended driving. They often have speed and distance limitations. As such, visit the nearest tire technician or repair facility to have your original repaired or replaced.
When buying a new tire, ensure its compatibility with your vehicle for your truck to stay in good condition.
Stay Safe on the Road with a Working Tire
Changing your truck’s flat tire can be difficult, especially with its massive size. This situation becomes even more challenging if you don’t know how to fix your tire or have the tools to do so. Driving with ample preparation, such as the tools to bring and the tire-changing knowledge to learn, can do wonders when you find yourself stuck in the middle of the road due to a flat tire.
A spare tire from Triangle Tires can save you the hassle of pushing or towing your vehicle. You can get Triangle Tires’ quality tires for passenger cars, light trucks, or heavy equipment vehicles. We have a wide array of tires available for delivery at an affordable price.