Industry News & New Products

How to Fix or Change a Tire

by Tyler Nestvedt | Apr 12, 2024



When on the road, anything is possible. One of the most common issues is when you’re driving down the road, and you find out you consistently have low tire pressure. It might be even worse. You might have a flat tire. If your phone is dead, or it would just be too long of a wait for help, you may have to fix the problem yourself.


How to fix a flat tire:

Luckily, you don’t need to be an expert in tire repair. You’ll just need a few things before you can start.

  • Vehicle jack
  • Bottle of soapy water
  • Tire plugging kit
  • Air compressor
  • Hand drill

Now, here's how you fix a tire:



  1. Get the tire off the ground. Some people say you’ll need to take the tire off, but as long as you have access to the entirety of your tire, you really don’t. However, it might be helpful in the long run. Make sure you get the car off the ground though, so you can freely rotate the tire. It is important to remember that the plugs should only be used in the tread section of the tire. Due to the thinness of the sidewall, it is not recommended to place a plug there and the tire should be replaced.
  2. Once you’ve done that, fill a bottle with soapy water and spray it over the tire. Eventually, you’ll notice bubbles beginning to form. This is where the tire puncture is.


  3. Once you’ve located the leak, take your reaming tool and expand the hole. This will make what was probably an uneven hole good enough to actually plug. If you can’t fit the reaming tool into the tire, take a small drill and expand the hole so it's just smaller than the reaming tool.
  4. Put the plug about halfway through the plug insertion tool. With the plug insertion tool, insert the tire plug. Be quick. Then trim the plug so it’s flush with the tire.


  5. Refill the tire to the vehicle’s specifications. The proper PSI can be found on a sticker in the driver's door jam. Do not go off of what the tire says on the sidewall.

How to change a tire:

Of course, fixing a tire only works if you actually have the tools and supplies necessary, or the tire punctures are small enough that you can actually plug them. If either of these are a problem, then you may have to change the tire. All you’ll need for that is:

  • Vehicle jack
  • Lug wrench
  • Spare tire

Changing a tire is fairly simple, here’s how you do it:

  1. Set the parking brake.
  2. Check the air pressure of the spare tire to be sure it is properly inflated.
  3. Break the lug nuts loose before lifting the vehicle. If the tire is not a drive wheel, the wheel will just spin when you try to break the nuts loose.
  4. Get the tire off the ground. Use your vehicle jack to lift the vehicle up so you can actually remove the tire.
  5. Finish removing the lug nuts with your lug wrench. Set them aside, but keep them close.
  6. Take the flat tire off, and replace it with the spare.
  7. Tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern. Do not tighten them all the way.



  8. Put the car back on the ground.
  9. Finish tightening the lug nuts. This will ensure they are as tight as they need to be. Reference your owner's manual for proper torque specifications.

Other options

While the options above are the better options, there are a few others to consider. One is tire sealant. This is a great option for quick tire repair. However, it can be messy and harder to fix. It can also freeze.

In conclusion

Now, in both cases, be sure you see a professional mechanic as soon as possible. Both of these solutions to a flat tire are incredibly temporary. However, being prepared for when things go wrong is important. With this knowledge, you can feel safe and confident when out on the road. If you need jacks, lug wrenches, tire repair kits or air compressors, you can find them at zips.com.