Do you want to be able to change a tire without having to ask a stranger for help or call for an expensive tow? Luckily, installing a spare tire is a relatively simple task, provided you're do a little homework up front and are prepared.
1. Once you recognize that you have a flat tire you should turn your hazard lights on and come to a safe stop along side of the road, hopefully on the shoulder. Try and make sure that your vehicle is on flat level ground.
2. Get out of the vehicle and survey the situation, once you have confirmed which tire is flat and that your are in a safe area to change your tire put the parking brake on. (in a manual transmission put the vehicle in 1st gear)
3. Take out the spare tire and jack, consult your owner’s manual for the exact location.
4. Place the jack under the frame of the car near the flat tire and make sure that it is in contact with metal, many newer cars have plastic skirting that is will not create a safe lifting point. Begin to raise the jack just until it makes contact with the vehicle.
5. Remove the hubcap or center cover to expose the lug nuts, break each lug nut free while the flat tire is still in contact with the ground, then raise the jack up so that the tire is a couple inches off the ground.
6. Remove the lug nuts completely and remove the flat tire, at this point go ahead put the flat tire in your trunk.
7. Place the spare tire and install the lug nuts hand tight in a crossing pattern, then lower the jack slowly until the tire comes in contact with the ground begins to take the weight of the vehicle.
8. Mechanically tighten all the lug nuts in a crossing pattern and then let the jack all the way down. Place the jack in the trunk with the flat tire.
9. Proceed to your destination while not exceeding 55 mph.
10. When you have time take your car to a tire shop / mechanic and get an estimate for the repair / replacement of the tire. Some flats can be cause by small punctures and if caught quickly enough can be repaired for $15-$30. Which is why it is important that when you feel a flat tire coming on that you pull over immediately and investigate the situation.
With these simple steps you should be able to change your tire quickly and safely without having to rely on help from anyone else.