- 14th January 2021
- By Hannah
- In Tips & Advice
- Tags DIY, Tyres
Although it may seem like second nature to many, a study in 2018 found that of 2,000 drivers, many didn’t know how to change a tyre. Almost half of those questioned aged over 36 said they could confidently change a wheel, whereas only 27% of 18-23 year olds believe they could do the same.
As flat tyres are one of the main reasons for breakdowns across the UK, we thought we should share a simple guide for changing tyres roadside.
If you’ve just had a tyre blowout, it can be quite a scary experience so make sure to take a few deep breathes before moving onto any next steps.
First things first, make sure your car is in a safe place away from oncoming traffic. Never attempt to replace a tyre on a hard shoulder on in the road.
You will need:
- Your spare wheel
- A wrench to remove the wheel nuts
- A jack to lift your car above the ground (around 10-15cm high)
- The wheel nut key if your vehicle has one
- A wheel chock (or a big rock) to stop your car from rolling once jacked
- Your vehicle handbook if possible
The items below aren’t necessary but will help you to safely change your tyre
- A warning triangle to warn oncoming drivers
- A reflective coat so you can be seen
- A torch so you can see where you are working (make sure to check the batteries regularly)
- A pair of gloves as the wheels will be dirty – trust us!
- A tyre pressure measurer to ensure the spare tyre is inflated properly
Now, into the steps to get the damaged tyre off, and your new one on
1. Get the car ready for the wheel change
Turn off the engine, apply the handbrake and put your hazards lights on. Get all passengers and anything in your boot safely out the car, and display your warning triangle if you have one.
2. Get the wheel chocks in place
Chocks aren’t just for planes! These will help to keep your car from rolling once you’ve got it jacked up. Simply place a chock behind the wheel diagonally opposite the one you are fixing. For example, if you’re are fixing the right rear wheel, place the chock behind the left front wheel. If you don’t have any chocks, any big rock you can find will do.
3. Loosen the wheel nuts
It’s worth noting that it is easier to do this while your car is on the ground.
Using your wheel wrench, turn the nuts anti-clockwise (left) and loosen the nuts. We aren’t trying to completely remove the nuts here, we just need them loose enough that we can turn them by hand later.
4. Jack the car up
Each car has a specific jack point which will be noted in your manual. A handy tip is to place a solid plank of wood under the jack to keep it steady.
Position your jack in the correct position and then slowly raise the wheel about 10-15cm off the ground.
5. Get that flat tyre off
You should now be able to undo the wheel nuts by hand so get these off and then gently pull the tyre towards you until it comes off. Be careful as these are pretty heavy and the weight may take you by surprise!
6. Get the spare wheel on
Now you can slide the wheel in line with the wheel nut slots, or onto the protruding hub bolts. Once in place, tighten the wheel nuts as tight as possible with your hands.
7. Bring the car almost back down
Use the jack to gently lower the car back down so it is in contact with the road surface again then use the wrench to tighten the wheel nuts. You must make sure that the nuts are securely in place!
8. Remove the jack
Allow your car to be in full contact with the road again and safely remove the jack. Give the wheel nuts another good twist to ensure they are properly locked in.
9. Time for a tyre pressure check
If you have a tyre pressure gauge, now is the time to use it. If not, make your way to your nearest petrol station and use the facilities they have there.
10. Bring your punctured tyre to us!
We’ve changed more tyres in our years than we’ve had hot dinners! As we are an official partner with Black Circles, you can order your tyres through them and have them delivered directly to us to fit for you.
Many space-saving spare tyres have a maximum speed limit on them so it’s worth checking this before setting off. These types of tyres are only designed for emergency use so it’s important to get a new, proper sized tyre fitted as soon as possible. Luckily, this is a fairly quick job for us to do and we can usually fit in a couple of last-minute tyre fittings a day.
If all of this feels too much for you, don’t worry! Breakdown services are always available to replace damaged tyres on the roadside if you don’t feel comfortable with it.