A flat tyre is one of the most common causes of breakdown – depending on the level of car insurance you have or where you are when it happens, you might not be able to call for assistance.
It’s always helpful to know how to change a car’s tyre – and you might be surprised at how easy it is. By following these relatively simple steps, it should only take around 30 minutes.
Before you start
Before you start, you will need to check your vehicle comes with a spare tyre.
Some manufacturers will only provide a tyre repair kit, which means depending on the level of damage to your tyre, it might not be enough to get your vehicle on the move again.
If your car does come with a spare tyre, it can usually be found in the boot, underneath the carpet and panels covering the floor. It will be a smaller version of the tyre you’re changing and only intended for temporary use.
What equipment do I need?
By this point, you’ll have already checked your vehicle comes with a spare wheel – but you’ll also need the following:
- Car manual
- Car jack
- Locking wheel nut
- Wheel brace/wrench
- Wheel chocks/wedges
Do you know where the ‘locking wheel nut’ is?
The ‘locking wheel nut’ is used in conjunction with a ‘wheel brace’ – the tool used to loosen the flat-tyres wheel nuts. It’s usually in the glove compartment, a side pocket, or next to the spare wheel. If you are not sure, consult the car manual.
Only change the tyre if safe to do so
Firstly, even if you know how, you should never attempt to change a wheel on a motorway or dual carriageway as it’s too dangerous.
Steps to take:
- Pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so.
- Once the vehicle is stationary, put your hazard lights on. For safety, all passengers should exit the vehicle and stand safely away from the road.
- Place wheel chocks under the wheels, except the one you’re changing.
- Before you jack the car up, loosen the wheel nuts on the wheel with the flat tyre. To loosen the wheel nuts, place the wheel locking nut in turn over each one and use the wheel brace by turning it anti-clockwise. Don’t remove the nuts completely just yet.
- Refer to the car manual to check where to place the jack – you should position it at the dedicated jack point indicated as being nearest the punctured tyre. Putting a small, flat plank of wood, or similar, under the jack will help keep it steady but this isn’t essential, and you can use the jack on its own if necessary. Now raise the car until the flat wheel is 10cms to 15cms off the ground.
- Once the car is raised, you can ease off the wheel nuts, then pull the wheel until it comes free. Place it to one side.
- Now you can slide the spare wheel onto the hub bolts and in line with the wheel nut slots. Then put the wheel nuts that you removed back on and hand tighten.
- Lower the car again using the jack, but not fully – only until the spare tyre is just touching the ground. Now tighten the nuts as much as you can using the wheel wrench.
- Finally lower the car all the way and check the nuts are as tight as they can go. Place the removed tyre in the boot along with all your equipment.
- Check the spare tyre is at the right pressure – your car manual will tell you what this should be. If you have a modern tyre pump in the car, it should show you the tyre’s pressure once attached to the valve. If you don’t have a pump, stop at the nearest garage as most will have one you can use. Older pumps might not have a built-in pressure gauge, but these aren’t expensive and can be bought separately.
You’re ready to go
Now you are ready to head on your way. Remember, spare tyres are only intended for short-term, emergency use, so it’s best to get the damaged tyre fixed or replaced as soon as possible.