If you drive a vehicle long enough, sooner or later you are going to have to change a tire. This might seem like a “no-brainer” to some folks, but there are certain things that need to be done in the proper order to get the job done correctly and safely. Changing a front tire on a Toyota RAV4 is no exception.
Park the vehicle on a flat, hard and level surface. Set the parking brake. If parked on the side of the road, turn on the four-way emergency flashers. Remove the spare tire from rear of the vehicle and position it near the tire to be changed.
Locate the jack and lug wrench. The RAV4's jack and lug wrench are stored under the passenger front seat. Move these tools next to the tire to be raised.
Position the jack under the lifting point on the vehicle. In the front of the RAV4, the lifting (jacking) point is on the suspension, slightly behind the front wheel. The rear lifting points are several inches in from the edge of the body, slightly forward of the rear tires. The lifting points are illustrated in the owner's manual; however; the illustration is not that good. Owners should familiarise themselves with these points prior to needing to lift the vehicle.
Loosen the lug nuts counterclockwise with the lug wrench prior to raising the vehicle. This allows you to use maximum force to loosen the nuts without having the tire rotate. Do not take the lug nuts completely off at this time.
Raise the vehicle using the jack, making sure contact is made at the lifting point. Raise the vehicle until the tire is off of the ground. Remember, you will have to raise the tire higher than just off of the ground as the inflated spare tire will be taller than the flat tire.
Remove the lug nuts completely and remove the flat tire. Put the spare on. Put the lug nuts on, tightening only to the point where they touch the wheel. Do not attempt to fully tighten them at this time.
Lower the vehicle with the jack. With the tire back on the ground, tighten the lug nuts in a crisscross order until all nuts are tight.
Replace the jack, lug wrench and flat tire (to spare tire's location). Release the emergency brake, turn off the emergency flashers. Continue on your way. Be sure to fix the flat tire as soon as you can to ensure you have a spare.
On the RAV4, the lifting points can be difficult to locate in the dark. Familiarise yourself with them in your driveway in the daylight.
Always use care when on the side of the road. If possible, move vehicle to a car park or access road.