Whether you are alerted by sudden beeping coming from your car, or you feel the dreaded blowout or puncture of your tyre, you’ll instantly know that it’s time to grab your tools and channel your inner mechanic. But how do you actually change a tyre to ensure it doesn’t roll away from you halfway through your drive? Of course there is always the option of calling in road side assistance from a professional, but if you are confident enough to do it yourself, you will most likely follow the step by step process below which we are going to lay out in this blog post.
What tools are necessary to change a tyre?
Before anything, you need to check that you have exactly what you need in order to change your tyre. It’s an obvious one, but check that you have a spare, fully inflated tyre in your trunk. Most often than not, no one bothers to check until you need it, and you are stranded. If you find yourself without a spare, make sure to call for one.
In order to successfully change the tyre, you will need a jack, a lug wrench and an owners manual if you have it to hand. It is also useful to have a flashlight, some gloves, and if it’s raining, something to cover you from the wet conditions whilst you work.
The whole process from start to finish shouldn’t take you longer than 15-30 minutes.
Find a safe place
Before getting down to the nitty gritty, you need to make sure you are in a place that is safe enough to work, where you are not at risk of other vehicles getting stuck behind you or hitting any part of your car. As soon as you notice the tyre needs changing, pull over. If you carry on driving, the rim of your wheel can become damaged very easily, however, if you are nowhere safe to pull over, it is always about your safety first so if that means continuing a few more feet, then so be it. Once you have found a space that you can park your car for a prolonged period of time, make sure to make yourself and your vehicle visible. Turn on the breaks to secure the car, apply wheel wedges, and ensure your car lights are on.
If the wheel that is damaged has a flat tyre hub-cap cover, you will need to remove this first. It is easiest if you remove this with the flat edge of your tyre wrench. If not, your owners manual will explain what you need to do in order to get the lug nuts out.
You then need to loosen the lug nuts by turning them counterclockwise with the wrench. (yes like you’ve seen in the movies) They will naturally be a little stiff, so be careful if and when you need to use your body weight to help turn them. Be mindful, that at this stage you only need to loosen them, not remove them.
The next step is to take your jack and put it under your car. The spot you want to aim for is usually beneath the vehicle’s frame alongside the flat tyre. If you are unsure, it is always safe to open your vehicle’s manual.
Now the car is ready to be elevated
With your jack properly set, raise your car until the flat tyre is roughly 15cm off the ground. It is then time to unscrew the previously loosened nuts. Once this has been done, you can then easily remove the flat tyre by gently pulling it towards you until it is completely free from the car. You are then free to place the new tyre onto the lug nuts and tighten these by hand.
Lower the car back to the ground but be careful not to have the full weight of the vehicle on it just yet. This allows you to tighten the lug nuts with the wrench clockwise.
All set to drive
You can then lower your vehicle, remove the jack and any wheel stoppers you put down back into your boot along with your old tyre ready to be discarded.
It is then sensible to call a mechanic or fitter to book a proper tyre to be fitted, as spare tyres are only meant to be a temporary replacement, and are not usually fit for long drives.