Daughters, Sons and road trips!
Knowing how to change a flat, punctured or otherwise damaged tyre is perhaps one of the most useful practical skills to have as far as a driver.
Being stranded on the hard shoulder of a motorway or, worse still, in the middle of nowhere is less than ideal for anyone. In the latter scenario, it may not always be possible to contact a garage or recovery team, either. According to a recent poll, 50% of people aged 36 and above know how to change a tyre whilst only 27% of 18 – 23 year-olds felt that they could do the same. However, the process is accessible and straightforward, here’s everything you need to do…
What You’ll Need: Included with your vehicle should be a spare tyre, vehicle manual, wrench and jack. These are fundamental to the process of changing a tyre. However, you should also consider including a number of other items in your car which will make things easier for you. These include the likes of a raincoat (changing a tyre in pouring rain can be tricky), a durable pair of gloves, wheel wedges, a torch and if possible a block of wood to place the jack on.
First Things First: When you notice that you’ve got a flat or punctured tyre, remain calm and don’t make any sudden manoeuvres. Look for a flat and straight stretch of road with a wide shoulder. Level terrain will help to stop your car from rolling and a wide shoulder will help on-coming traffic to see you. Never attempt to change a tyre near oncoming traffic, it’s better to drive on a flat tyre for a while whilst looking for somewhere suitable than it is to be struck by a car or worse. Once you’ve found a suitable spot, put on your hazard lights and firmly apply your parking brake. It’s now time to apply your wheel wedges. If the flat tyre is at the back, place these in front of the front tyres, if it’s at the front place them behind the rear tyres.
Removing the Punctured Tyre: You’re now ready to remove the damaged tyre. If your wheels have covers or hubcaps that cover the lug nuts, it’ll be easier if you remove it at the beginning. Use your wrench to remove the cover. Once you’ve removed the hubcap, use your wrench to loosen the lug nuts by turning them counterclockwise. Turn them somewhere between a quarter to half of a turn of the wrench. You’re now ready to raise the vehicle with your jack. Typically, the best spot for your jack is beneath the vehicle’s frame, near to the tyre itself. Many car models now have a specific area, usually consisting of a plastic and a metal strip, for the jack.
To ensure that the jack doesn’t come off balance, place your wooden block beneath it. This is particularly useful when on asphalt surfaces. To raise the vehicle with the jack, follow the instructions in your vehicle’s manual. Once the vehicle is safely raised, you can finish removing the lug nuts entirely. Once the lug nuts have been removed, you can take the tyre off completely. Do this by gently pulling it towards you. Once it’s off, place it nearby on its side.
Putting On A New Tyre: Line up your spare tyre with the lug bolts on the car, push it gently on to them until they show through the rim. Put the lug nuts back on the bolts firmly by hand, you can tighten them further with the wrench once the vehicle is back on the ground. You can now lower your vehicle with the jack; lower it so that the tyre makes contact with the ground but so that all the car’s weight isn’t placed upon it. Now tighten the lug nuts with the wrench by turning them clockwise as much as possible. You may then lower the vehicle completely and remove the jack.
Now all that’s left to do is put your wheel cover or hubcap back on the wheel and to safely store the items you’ve used. Make sure to quickly check the tyre for pressure and then make your way to a garage as soon as possible; spare tyres aren’t always suitable for long-term driving, especially at high speeds.
Author : Autoserve - our Motion Maintenance Plan Partners