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Basic Car Maintenance: How to change a tyre

  Tuesday, 17 February 2015

If there’s one really useful skill you should learn in terms of motor DIY, it’s changing a tyre.  The last thing anyone wants is to get stuck out in the middle of nowhere and have to wait for hours in the cold for a rescue team to appear!

Here’s our guide on how to change a tyre:

What you’ll need to have with you

  • A jack
  • A wrench
  • A spare tyre (obviously)
  • Some tarp or mat to kneel on (not essential, but more comfortable than kneeling on the concrete or in the mud!)

A step-by-step to changing a flat tyre

  1. Find a safe spot to pull over.  If you’re on a motorway or dual-carriageway, taking the next exit is usually the safest bet, even if your tyre’s blown.  If you can’t do this, then pull as far onto the shoulder as possible, and choose a flat spot – trying to jack up a car on a hill can be seriously tough.
  2. Turn on your hazard lights. Safety is definitely first here.  Get out your jack, wrench and spare tyre from the boot and bring them over to the flat tyre, along with anything else you might need.
  3. Use your wrench to loosen up the lug nuts (you may need to remove the hubcap to do this).  Don’t remove them immediately, just loosen them initially.  If they’re really tight, try placing your wrench on the nut and then stand on the wrench arm with your full weight.  Hitting the wrench arm with a rock can also be effective (if a bit crude).
  4. Use the jack to lift your vehicle off the ground.  Ensure you use the specified area for the jack (this will be in your owner’s manual).  Once it’s secure in the right spot, raise the car about six inches off the ground.
  5. Remove the lug nuts, and pull the tyre off the car, ensuring to keep the lug nuts in a safe pile so they don’t get scattered everywhere. Pull the tyre straight towards yourself so it’s properly removed from the wheel base.
  6. Place the spare wheel on the car, lining up the lug nut posts with the holes in the spare.  Then, push the spare all the way onto the wheel base until it won’t go any further.
  7. Re-seal the lugnuts.  Don’t put them on too tightly, but ensure they’re on enough for the spare to stay on the car for the next minute or so.
  8. Use the jack to bring your car back down to ground level, and then remove the jack.
  9. Tighten everything up.  Once the car’s back on the ground, it’s time to give the lug nuts a serious tighten.  Rather than doing one by one in order, tighten each one about 50 per cent, then move to the next one.  Once they’re all at 50 per cent, go back around and fully tighten them all properly.

Get back on the road!

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