Sooner or later (hopefully later), you’ll need to change a tyre. It’s not hard to do with the right tools and some basic knowledge. Here’s how to change a tyre…
1: Make sure you are in a safe place
This is easy enough if you have noticed a flat tyre while parked on a driveway. It’s a little more complicated if the tyre has blown on a fast-moving motorway. If you are driving when the puncture happens, find somewhere safe to change the tyre. It’s better to drive a little way at a low speed on the flat tyre than to stop immediately on a busy road. Ideally you should be off the road completely and on level ground. Never try to fix a puncture on a narrow road or close to a bend.
Turn your hazard lights on, put a warning triangle in the road, and wear a reflective jacket if you have one.
2: Get the car ready
Put the handbrake on and make sure any passengers get out. Take the spare wheel and the tools you will need out of the boot.
3: Chock the wheels
It’s really important that the car doesn’t roll away while you are working on it. So chock the opposite wheel to the one with the puncture (so, the right-hand rear wheel if the puncture is on the left-front wheel). If you don’t have a chock, a brick or a large rock can do the job.
4: Loosen the wheel nuts
Get the nuts loose before you jack the car up. Loosen them enough to move by hand, but don’t take them off completely yet.
5: Jack the car up
The car’s tool kit will have a jack to lift the car up. The car will also have dedicated jacking points. Take a look in the handbook to find where they are. Position the jack under the jacking point and use it to raise that corner of the car off the ground by 10 centimetres or so. You may find it useful to put something like a plank of wood under the jack to keep it stable.
6: Remove the wheel
Now unscrew the nuts fully. The wheel should now pull off easily. Place it flat on the ground so it doesn’t roll away. Make sure the inner wheel is on the ground so you don’t scratch your alloys!
7: Put on the spare
Slide the spare wheel onto the hub. You’ll need to line up the bolt holes. Replace the nuts and tighten them by hand.
8: Lower the car
Now lower the car back to the ground with the jack. Once the tyre reaches the ground tighten all the wheel nuts.
9: Remove the jack
Now lower the jack until it is clear of the jacking point. Give the wheel nuts one last check.
10: Check the tyre pressure
This is why you should always pump up the spare when you check the pressure of the other tyres! Hopefully it’s properly inflated. Once you have packed the tools away and put the flat tyre where the spare wheel was, find a nearby garage and check the tyre pressure is correct. Or use your own compressor if you have one.
11: Get the tyre repaired
You don’t necessarily need to bin a tyre just because it’s had a puncture. It may be possible to repair it, so take it to a tyre specialist to check. If not, they can replace it.
With a modern car, there’s a good chance the spare tyre is a ‘space saver’. These are lighter than a full-size spare and take up less room beneath the boot floor. However, they’re only intended for temporary use and should be replaced with the full-size wheel and tyre as soon as possible.
Now you know how to change a tyre!