An idiot's guide to changing a flat tyre
Posted by: Cal on 30/07/2014
If you find yourself stranded on the side of a road with a flat tyre, you may wonder just how you can get yourself out of that pickle.
Here is a guide to help you stay safe and ensure your car is quickly and easily fitted with a new tyre, pronto.
Park your car on even ground
Before you attempt to even remove the old tyre, it is essential that your car is parked on solid, level ground. Make sure you park it well away from the curb so that you are not a hassle to other motorists.
It is also important to turn your hazard lights on so that other drivers know to drive safely around you - someone may even stop to give you a hand!
Make sure it won't move
The last thing you want is for your car to move at a crucial moment. This means you should always make sure your hand brake is on.
If you need to secure your car even further, use wooden wedges or metal wheel chocks to prevent the car from moving. Place these on the opposite end of the side you are raising for extra support.
Cars with a manual transmission should be left in gear, but with the hand brake on.
Take off the wheel
Make sure you have all your tools ready to go, including the jack as well as the spare tyre itself.
To remove the wheel nuts, also known as the lug nuts, you may first have to take off the wheel trim. Then loosen the nuts a little as it will be hard to undo them once your car has been lifted up.
Jack up the car
Lift your car up so that the wheel is just clear of the ground, giving you enough room to undo the wheel and fit the new tyre where it needs to go.
First you may need to put the jack together and keep it as flat as possible. The location where you place the jack will depend on your specific model of car and the jack itself.
Make sure you consult the manual, as you can cause damage if you misplace the jack.
Once the jack is on, you should lift the car up until it is around 15-20cm from the ground.
Remove the flat tyre
You can then remove all the wheel nuts so you can take the old tyre off. However, you will need these nuts at a later stage, so make sure you keep them in a safe place where they can't roll away.
To take the tyre off, you should pull it towards you, as this will loosen it from the wheel base.
Put the spare tyre on
The next step is to place the spare tyre on your car. To do this you will need to line up the wheel nuts with the holes in the spare and push it all the way into the wheel base until it cannot go in any further.
Gently place the lug nuts back on, but don't do them up too tightly just yet.
Lower the car to the ground
Once you have gently used the jack to bring the car back down to road height, you can remove the jack and tighten the wheel nuts.
It is best to tighten one to 50 per cent first and then move to the opposite nut and tighten it by the same amount. Rotate and repeat until all nuts are tight, as this will ensure the tyre doesn't move.
To ensure your tyres are safe and perform well, you should only drive around on a spare for the minimum length of time. As soon as you can, get a new tyre fitted or the old one repaired so you can continue to drive safely.