1. Make sure you’ve got a proper jack, wrench and spare in your vehicle. When the inevitable happens, throw on your hazard lights and find a safe place to pull off—avoid steep hills and curves.
2. Pop off your hubcap if necessary. Now grab your lug wrench and get ready to flex your muscles. Start by loosening each lug nut (by turning counter clockwise) but not removing them altogether. Keep the car on the ground for this step as you might need some leverage—there’s no shame in using both hands and a foot if necessary.
3. Now it’s time to raise the car. A jack always comes with your car’s spare kit, but it’s not a bad idea to upgrade. Every make and model has a different recommended spot to put the jack so be sure to consult your owner’s manual. Raise the car to about six inches—or the length of a one dollar bill.
4. Finish removing the lug nuts. Keep each nut in a safe place (like your over-turned hubcap) because there’s no fun in a roadside lug nut scavenger hunt.
5. Remove the flat by pulling straight out and away from the car. Swap the flat for your spare.
6. Line up the holes in the spare with the lug nut posts on the car, then push the tire in toward the car as far as it will go.
7. Start replacing the bolts. Stop once each bolt is snug but not tight.
8. Using the jack, carefully lower the car back to the ground.
9. Tighten the lug nuts incrementally in a top-to-bottom, side-to-side pattern until each bolt is as tight as you can safely turn it.
10. Pop on the hubcap, place the jack, flat tire and all your tools back in your spare kit.
11. Go about your way, but first make a note to pick up a new spare.