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How to change a flat tire. And be safe while doing it.

Fixing a flat tire starts with a tire change—here’s the safe way to remove the flat tire and replace it with the spare.

Thanks to advanced tire technology, flat tires aren’t as prevalent as they once were. But they do happen. So, it’s a good idea to know how to fix a flat tire, even if you never have to. What follows are the basics on flat tire repair.

Should you drive on a flat tire?

The short answer is no.

Driving on a flat tire can damage the tire beyond the possibility of repair. The wheel rim pinches the tire between it and the road, shredding the inside lining. If that’s not reason enough, consider your personal safety. A flat tire doesn’t have much traction, which could cause you to lose control.3

Tip: Don’t sacrifice your safety for the sake of your tire. If you have to drive on it to get out of harm’s way—go ahead and do it.

You’re safely off the road—now what?

Follow the DMVs tire change guide below:4

Step 1

Position your car next to the air pump so that the air hose will reach all four tires


Step 2

Unscrew the valve stem cap of the first tire and put it where it won’t get lost—like in your pocket


Step 3

Use your tire pressure gauge to check the psi of the tire.


Step 4

Place the air hose nozzle over the valve stem as you did with the tire gauge and add air in short bursts until you reach your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure. Follow the tire pressure chart affixed to your vehicle’s inside doorpost or inside the glove box. As a rule of thumb, a tire will inflate by one pound per square inch every second and a half.


Some vehicles require all four tires inflated to the same psi. Others require a differential between the front and rear.


Step 5

Check your tire pressure with your gauge to make sure it's at the recommended psi. If too low, continue to add air in short bursts and recheck.


If you add too much air, let some out by pressing the pin in the center of the tire valve with the back of the air hose nozzle or your tire gauge.


Generally, the tire will let out approximately one psi for every three seconds the pin is depressed.


Step 6

Replace the cap on the valve stem and move on to the next tire.



Synchrony Car CareTM offers special financing for new tires and automotive repairs. No interest if paid in full within 6 months on purchases of $199 or more.*

*No interest will be charged on the promo purchase if you pay the promo purchase amount in full within 6 months. If you do not, interest will be charged on the promo purchase from the purchase date. Depending on purchase amount, promotion length and payment allocation, the required minimum monthly payments may or may not pay off purchase by end of promotional period. Regular account terms apply to non-promotional purchases and, after promotion ends, to promotional balance. For new accounts: Purchase APR is 29.99%; Minimum Interest Charge is $2. Existing cardholders should see their credit card agreement for their applicable terms. Subject to credit approval.


*Minimum monthly payments required.

Safety First

Fixing a flat tire (or doing anything) by the side of a busy road or Interstate highway has its risks. The safest solution is always to call for professional roadside assistance.

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