Nobody wants to be stuck on the side of a motorway on a late November evening with a flat tyre on their hands, but at least if you know how to change a tyre, the incident won’t eat hours out of your evening – you can change the tyre and drive off, rather than having to wait for the professionals to arrive to change it for you.
What to Do First
If you get a flat tyre when you’re driving, gradually reduce your speed and pull in at a safe spot on the roadside. You should neither brake suddenly nor drive on until you reach the next garage. The first is dangerous and could further damage your tyre and the second could mean ripping your tyre to shreds over the course of the journey. Most cars have a reflective triangle in the boot which can serve to warn other drivers of your presence at night time. You should also use your hazard lights for this purpose.
The Necessary Tools
In order to change a tyre, you need the right tools. Most cars have a jack, a spare wheel and a wrench in the boot somewhere. It’s important to know where these are kept so you can find them when you need them.
Changing the Tyre
Before using the jack to lift your car, you need to make sure you’re on level ground. You can then use the jack on the peg under the chassis near the tyre to life the weight off the flat tyre, without lifting the car off the ground. Using the wrench, loosen the lug nuts by turning them anticlockwise. When you have done this, you can jack the car up higher, so the tyre is off the ground, before completely removing the lug nuts and then the tyre.
Replace the flat tyre with the spare and use your fingers to put the lug nuts on before tightening them with the wrench. Jack the car back down onto the ground and tighten the lug nuts. You don’t want them coming off when you’re driving, so make sure they’re on tight enough.
Once your new tyre’s on, you can pack away your tools and the old tyre and drive off again, but don’t forget to fix or replace the flat tyre as soon as possible in order to avoid getting stuck on the roadside without a spare tyre when you most need it.
Anyone can learn to change a tyre, but the best time to learn is by practising at home where you can ask for help or guidance if you need it. You’ll be glad you took the time out to learn if you end up on the side of the road with a flat tyre to change.
This article was written by automobile blogger Patrick Guiney who has changed quite a few car tyres over the years!