Probably one of the worst things to happen on the road is a flat tire, but without a jack.
You should never drive without emergency tools like a jack, but in the event that you forgot, here’s a hack to help you how to change a tire without a jack and save you from a lot of stress.
How to Change a Tire Without a Jack? Step by Step
1. Drive your car to a safe spot with soft soil.
You need a soft spot with soil or sand so you can dig away under the flat tire and change it. As you reach a safe area, position the flat on the soft soil, but make sure the other tires are in a safe and stable area.
2. Engage your emergency brake.
Once you’re on the right spot, engage your emergency brake to prevent any unnecessary movements. Even you’re on the side of the road, you still need to set up your emergency devices like a reflective triangle or warning lights. If you don’t have these with you, use a flashlight or any reflective material and place this a few meters from the back or front of your vehicle. If you have a flat at night, you must have one companion warn other motorists at the rear of your car. Use a flashlight to wave a warning light.
3. Place the log, piece of concrete, or plank of wood under the axle that's closest to the affected tire
The log or piece of concrete will serve as support for the car so you can reach in and change your tires, just like what a jack does. Make sure that this piece of wood, stone, or concrete is not hollow and will support the weight of your vehicle. You may also improvise with other items in your trunk like a metal toolbox (make sure that you get what you need inside the box first before using it) or any strong metal or wooden piece.
Place this underneath the axle that’s nearest the flat tire. Gather several small pieces of wood or flat rocks to further support the area in case one log or concrete is not enough. Make sure that this improvised support is solid before you proceed with the next step.
4. Dig away the soil that’s under the flat tire
The car is supported so it’s time to remove the soil from underneath the flat tire. Use a spade or a small digging tool like a piece of wood or plastic. If these are not available, you may also use your hands to dig through loose soil or sand. Keep digging until you have enough space to wiggle the tire out.
5. Remove the nuts of the tire
Now that there is enough space to remove the tire, you may now remove it from the metal. Loosen the tire nuts using a lug wrench. You may also ask how to change a tire without a lug wrench in case you forgot yours at home, you may use an impact wrench, a breaker bar, or a wheel brace. Keep the nuts together in a safe place.
6. Replace the flat tire
Get your spare and replace the flat tire. Hoist the tire on the studs and let these slide through the rim holes. Once the spare is in place, tighten the nuts. Make sure everything is set before you proceed with the next steps.
7. Use large rocks at the front and back of the tire.
Look for large flat rocks, one at the front and the other one at the back. Push one rock at the front and one at the rear. This will serve as support for the tire once you fill the hole with soil or sand.
8. Fill the hole
Carefully fill the hole with sand or soil. Press the soil firmly with a spade or you may use your hands. You may also fill the hole with pebbles or small rocks together with sand or soil. Do not remove the large flat rocks in front and at the back of the newly changed tire.
9. Drive your car out of the soft soil
Disengage the emergency brakes and start your engine. You may now drive your car out of the soft soil or sand.
YouTube Video: Changing a Tire Without a Jack
Please Note: A jack is an indispensable tool on the road; no matter what type of vehicle you drive, you should always have one handy. Make it a habit to inspect your emergency tools before a trip and never leave home without a jack, a lug wrench hand, and a few warning reflective triangles.
In some cases, here are some things you can use instead of a jack:
- A log
- A piece of concrete
- A tree stump
- A metal toolbox
- A large wooden plank
- Spade or any digging tool
- Lug wrench
- Safety equipment (reflective triangles, flashlight, etc.)
If you're on a paved road and there is no soft soil or sandy area nearby then you have no other choice but to borrow a jack. Look for a motorist who has one; a nearby or passing car likely has one. If you are on a city road, you may be near a gas station or a garage where you can take your car for a tire change. You may also call home to ask someone for help.
Even if you know how to change a tire without a jack, you still can’t overlook taking a jack with you every time you leave home. Also, after replacing your flat tire and getting back on the road, don’t forget to take the flat tire to a shop to get it fixed. As much as you can’t leave home without a jack and you need to learn how to change a tire without a lift, you can’t drive without a spare tire. If you need help, dial the emergency number in your area before you proceed with changing your flat tire.
Simon graduated with a Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Degree. He has over 20 years of servicing experience in both Japanese and German car dealerships. He now acts as a freelance mechanic’s instructor for local schools.