Dealing with a flat tire is something that every driver should know how to do, especially those who drive their trucks or Jeeps off-road. If you spend a good amount of time on the trail, sooner or later you're bound to have to contend with a flat or damaged tire.
Your vehicle is probably prepared for the trails with off-road modifications such as open fenders, steel bumpers, and modified suspension systems to accommodate bigger tires. Yet are you prepared for the time when you have to change a tire on the trail?
Changing your off-road tire is more difficult than changing the tire on your daily driver. Learn the different ways to change your off-road tire before you need to do it so you're prepared for that unwanted flat tire situation on the trail.
Carry the Right Equipment
The key to performing a tire change on the trail so you can keep on driving, or at least drive yourself back home, is having the right equipment with you:
==>>A Full-Size Spare - Not everyone carries a spare tire with them. If you do, make sure it is a full-sized tire and wheel that matches what’s already on your off-road truck. Unless you plan on carrying an air compressor and other tools to actually fix a damaged tire, your best bet is to carry that spare just in case.
==>>A Hi-Lift Jack With Baseplate - This type of jack is much safer than a standard scissor jack and can be used on a variety of terrains. Hi-lift jacks also lift higher to provide the clearance needed to work on off-road trucks and Jeeps with taller tires and open fenders.
==>>A Lug Wrench - This sure is needed to loosen the lug bolts.
Changing Your Off-Road Tire to Your Spare
Staying safe is a priority when you need to change your tire while out on the trail. Follow the steps so you can do it quickly, easily, and without getting hurt:
==>>Find The Safest Jacking Location - Soft, loose, and uneven ground can be dangerous to jack your truck on. Even though you have a Hi-Lift jack with a baseplate with you, look for a level and solid surface to place the jack. If you end up jacking your off-roader on softer ground, the base for the Hi-Lift jack will give you more stability; however, you should still be cautious.
==>>Remove The Spare Tire - Take the spare tire out of your truck and bring it close to where you'll be jacking up your offroader.
==>>Loosen The Lug Bolts - You need to loosen the lug bolts on the wheel of your damaged tire before jacking up the truck or Jeep. The lug bolts may be tight, so keeping the tire on the ground will give you leverage.
==>>Position The Jack - Place the Hi-Lift jack with the baseplate under it at one of the factory jacking points on your truck. These may be along the side frame rails or under the bumper. Check your truck's manual if you're not sure where the jacking points are. If you have installed a steel truck bumper, find out whether it has any jacking points that you can use. Do not accidentally place the jack underneath the fender.
==>>Remove The Damaged Tire - After you have the truck jacked so the wheel clears the ground, simply unscrew the lug bolts the rest of the way and take off the damaged tire. Replace it with the spare tire and spin the lug nuts partway down.
==>>Lower Truck - Lower the jack so the truck is sitting normally on all 4 tires and tighten up the lug bolts all the way. Once the wheel is secure, you’re ready to go.
The takeaway message here should be simple enough. Be prepared and be safe. If you off-road, carry the right equipment and supplies with you to get out of more predictable binds. A damaged or flat tire is a fairly common occurrence while off-roading. Get a Hi-Lift jack with a baseplate and learn how to use it. Be sure to always carry a spare with you!