Nobody likes to get a flat tyre, but if you don’t know how to change one it can absolutely ruin your day. Changing a flat tyre is something that everyone should know how to do. Here are some basics steps to changing a flat tyre:
Step by Step Guide to Changing a Tyre
- Find a safe place to stop – a flat tyre can happen at any time. Look for a location that is not busy and where you can access your boot and the tyre without issue. Carparks are an excellent choice. It is possible to drive a short distance with a flat tyre, just go slow as you may have less control over the vehicle.
- Get the car in a good position – this means one where the ground is reasonably level and where you have plenty of space to work. If you’re on the side of the road, park the car so you are working on the curbside rather than the roadside.
- Put the car in park (or a gear in manual cars) – a simple step but many people forget in their haste to change the tyre. A car not in park can start to roll even on the mildest slope. Once the car is on the jack it can roll off and injure anyone changing the tyre.
- Put the handbrake on – without the handbrake on the wheels are usually free to spin, this can make it difficult to change.
- Access the tyre – check to see if the tyre is flat because of a leak, or if the tyre has been destroyed due to a fault. A deflated tyre is easier to change as you won’t need to deal with shredded tyre parts. If the tyre is destroyed, you should wear gloves to protect your hands from the tyre’s internal workings.
- Retrieve the jack, tools and spare tyre – for most cars the tools and the spare tyre area located in the boot. You should have a jack, something to undo the lug nuts and the spare tyre. Put the spare tyre near the flat tyre and position the other tools so they are closer than arms reach from where you will be working.
- Access the jacking point for your car – all cars have a point that is recommended to be jacked from. Usually this is marked with some bumps in the metal, if you are not sure check in the manual. Jacking the car up at a different point can damage your vehicle.
- Stabilize the jack – if the ground is soft, you may need to place the jack onto a platform to stop it sinking into the ground. Use something like a wide piece of wood, in a push you could use a car mat – while not ideal it will do the job.
- Loosen the lug nuts – raise the jack so it just starts to lift the car and then loosen the lug nuts. Only loosen the lug nuts about a quarter turn, just enough to get them started.
- Raise the car – raise the car off the ground. Go high enough that you can fit your hand under the flat tyre. When you replace it with the inflated spare you may need to go higher, but this will do for now.
- Undo the lug nuts – completely remove the lug nuts. Remove them in a star-pattern if there are five, or clockwise if there are four.
- Remove the tyre – with the lug nuts removed the tyre should slide off fairly easy. Grasp the tyre from both sides and you can wiggle it loose. A tyre can weigh about ten to fifteen kilos, go slow and lower it gently once it is removed. Then you can roll it away from the car. Roll the tyre to the rear of the car in preparation for packing it away in the spare wheel well.
- Put the spare on – position the spare tyre in front of the lug bolts, you should be able to tell if the car is high enough for the wheel to be replaced. If the lug bolts are lower than the holes in the wheel, then you’ll need to raise the car up. Once the bolts are higher gently lift the tyre into place and slide it onto the bolts.
- Do up the lug nuts – tighten the lug nuts in the same pattern that you undid them. Rattle the wheel to make sure it is back far enough and then tight bolts again. When you can no longer rattle the tyre, it is tight enough to be lowered.
- Lower the car – slowly lower the vehicle and let it down just enough that the tyre is taking some of the car's weight.
- Tighten the lug nuts – give the lug nuts a final tighten.
- Remove the jack – finish lowering the car and remove the jack.
- Pack everything away – pack all the tools and the flat tyre back into the car.
- Get the damaged tyre replaced – probably the most important step in changing a tyre. And one that many people don’t do until the next time they have a flat!
Avoiding Flat Tyres
Flat tyres usually happen because of a few minor issues. This is how best to avoid them:
- Maintain good tyre pressure – you should be checking tyre pressure at least once every three months.
- Avoid driving on the verge of a road – this is where debris is collected, and it can be easy to get a nail or something else stuck in your tyres
- Replace tyres when they are worn – it may be no surprise but when you have little tread left the tyre can be easily punctured
- Regular inspections – keep an eye on your tyres, if anything looks a bit odd, a further inspection should be carried out.
Following a few simple checks can see your tyres have a longer life than normal, which keeps you staying on the road trouble-free.