Road Trip Safety with SheJumps: Trailside Auto Repairs

SheJumps Ambassador, Alicia Mau, teams up with DirtFish to provide helpful guidance on how to change a flat tire and jumpstart a car when you're trailside.

Photo by Ryan French

Have you ever been cruising down a forest road when you hit an unavoidable pot hole? How about getting back to your car after a long hike and it refuses to start? On an otherwise fantastic trip, these can be quick downers for any traveler, but if we prepare ourselves ahead of time they don’t have to completely ruin our day!

As avid adventurers, we often seek remote areas to recreate in. While this provides us with a beautiful way to recharge in the peace and quiet of nature, it can also mean traveling outside of cell service and away from a helping hand. The following article will help you gain the knowledge to be self-sufficient if you find yourself with a flat tire or dead battery while recreating outdoors.

Disclaimer: This guide is not a replacement for following your owner’s manual. Please see your owner’s manual for your vehicle-specific instructions and proceed at your own risk.

Changing a Flat Tire

Video by Ryan French

What You’ll Need

  • Fully Inflated Spare Tire

  • Tire Iron/Lug Wrench

  • Car Jack

  • Vehicle’s Owner Manual


  1. Slow down and find a safe place to pull over as soon as possible (preferably on a flat surface)

  2. Turn on your hazard lights and place a reflective caution triangle near your car if you have one

  3. Engage the parking brake and turn off the car

  4. If available, find a rock or large stick to wedge behind the tire opposite to the flat to prevent rolling

  5. Remove spare tire, car jack, and tire iron from vehicle and check spare for max mph limit

  6. If applicable, remove hub cap from the flat to expose lug nuts/bolts

  7. Use tire iron to loosen the lugs while tire is still on the ground (one turn is plenty, use foot if needing more leverage)

  8. Check your owner’s manual to find the proper jack points for your vehicle

  9. Slide jack under jack point and begin to crank the jack handle clockwise to raise it up

  10. Ensure proper seating of the contact point between the jack and vehicle, then raise the car until the wheel is about 6 inches off the ground *NEVER put your body under the vehicle while it is jacked up*

  11. Remove the lug nuts/bolts and pull wheel off the hub (keep lugs in a safe place while switching wheels)

  12. Place the spare on the hub and slide wheel holes over the lug bolts or line them up with the lug holes

  13. Hand tighten the lug nuts/bolts back on (being careful not to strip the threads)

  14. Turn the jack handle counterclockwise to lower the vehicle to gently rest on the ground

  15. Use the tire iron to further tighten the lugs in a star pattern using your full weight to tighten

  16. Remove the jack and place all tools and flat back inside the vehicle before heading to a tire technician

Photos by Ryan French