Recently we conducted some research across our social channels to find out what percentage of our audience knew how to change a car tyre; One of our Twitter polls suggested that 26% of people knew how to do it, whereas as much as 11% didn’t have a clue! So, we think it’s time to clear things up and put our teaching hat on.
First things first – It goes without saying that before doing any of this, you should always contact your breakdown cover provider. Changing a car tyre yourself should be a last resort.
Now we’ve got that out the way, it’s time to lay out the tools you will need to get the job done. We have made a quick checklist as we find that easier to remember each item. First up:
Your car manual (usually gathering dust in the boot or glove box)
Your spare wheel – Details of locating it will be in the manual (we will be covering the different types of spare tyres and puncture repair kits in another article) be sure to check your spare tyres air pressure whenever checking the rest
Vehicle jack – Your car may already have one – usually found with the spare wheel under the carpet of the boot floor
Wheel nut wrench/brace/key - For loosening or tightening nuts on a wheel
Sturdy gloves – Extra grip is always welcome
A towel or mat – To prevent sore knees (car mats will do the trick!)
Two wheel chocks – To stop your car doing a runner when your back’s turned (place them diagonally opposite to the wheel being changed, *handbrake on with gear in neutral)
Torch – It helps to see what you’re doing
High-vis jacket – Be safe be seen (it’s a good idea to store it in the car cubby so you can wear it when getting out the car)
We’re confident that covers the key areas nicely, so just be sure to add any missing items from above to your shopping list next time you pop out.
Now, before you get down to the nitty-gritty, there’s a number of checks you must carry out when you’ve pulled over in your car, time for another checklist!
· If possible, always avoid pulling up on the hard shoulder – park-up away from flowing traffic (if you can’t avoid pulling up on the motorway, get out the vehicle, stand behind any safety barriers and inform the motorway agency patrol)
· Make sure the ground you’re on isn’t loose, soft or uneven – definitely no quicksand…
· Don’t begin until all passengers are outside the vehicle
So now you’re in a safe spot, with all your shiny new tools ready, it’s time to go to work!
Loosen your wheel nuts – It’s always good to loosen the wheel nuts on the punctured wheel before jacking your car up. This is because the nuts will be very tight and it’s easier to loosen them when the car is on the ground. Doing this requires you to find the car wheel brace (wrench), once located, connect it to one of the bolts/nuts and get turning.
It’s likely you will need some serious ‘oomph’ to initially loosen the bolt; however once the bolt begins to turn, it should get easier. It’s important you don’t loosen the bolts completely, that can be done when the car is jacked up.
Using your jack – You’ll need your car manual handy for this part. It should tell you where to position the jack under the car (sometimes there can be a number of points), once in place, wind it up. (Make sure that at this point, the spare tyre is out of the car and ready to be mounted).
You may need to connect the wheel brace to a nut on the jack itself, or the jack may have a built-in handle which you can use. Keep winding until the wheel you want to change is clear of the ground – you don’t need to use the full extent of the jack’s travel. If the car feels like it’s going to slip at any point, or the jack starts to lean over, stop jacking and wind the jack back in the other direction *phew*.
Removing the punctured tyre – time to remove the tyre from its attached hub. Using the wheel wrench/brace that we mentioned earlier, carry on where you left off by continuing to loosen the nuts until they’re off completely.
Once they’re off, you should be able to slide the wheel off nicely. Careful though, the wheel will be heavier than you think; it’s worth bracing yourself for this, so you don’t end up on your backside with your friends/family/passers-by pointing and laughing, and obviously to avoid any injuries.
Putting the spare wheel on - If your car’s wheel is fastened on with nuts; this is a relatively easy, if awkward process. Slide the four or five holes in the wheel over the threaded studs that the original wheel was mounted to; the threaded studs should match the number of holes on the spare wheel.
However, if your car’s wheel is fastened on with bolts, the process is a little more awkward. You’ll need to ‘hang’ the wheel onto the hub without the aid of the threads, and keep it there with your hand – there should be a lip which will help you do this. But you’ll also need to make sure you line up the holes with the bolt holes in the hub while you’re doing it. Because of this, if you happen to have a passenger, it’s time for them to stop lazing around and help out. They (hopefully) will be able to support the weight of the wheel you line it up.
Securing the wheel - Now you can screw your nuts/bolts back on. No need to use the wheel brace just yet, just make sure the nuts/bolts are finger-tight.
Jack the car down – Remember how you jacked the car up, to begin with? It’s time to do that in reverse. Wind the car down until all four wheels are back on the ground. Also, be sure to remove the Jack & stow it back safely in the boot of your car
Tightening the wheel – Now it’s time to get the wheel wrench back out, tighten the bolts as much as you can by hand and then use your foot to push the wheel nut key down further.
Cleaning up and getting going – Job done! Now it’s time to say some final words and put your old tyre to rest (preferably in the boot), as well as stowing away the tools mentioned above. Remember to remove any chocks that you’ve placed under the tyres.
Also, if your spare tyre is a space saver (you can tell by the instructions on it or in the manual), you won’t be able to drive at your usual speed. These tyres are usually limited to 50 mph, but it’s good to double-check.
*You might see some of your dashboard lights come on as systems like ABS and traction control don’t like odd tyre sizes. Also, most spare tyres require you to change them at a mechanic as soon as possible, check your manual for this.
If you hear any sort of repetitive thumping or knocking once you’re on the move again, pull over and use the wheel brace to check that the nuts or bolts on the wheel you’ve just changed are as tight as they can be.
Now, it’s time to hit the road… Jack.
- On: 19 February 2018
- By: CarShop
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