A faulty tyre or puncture can happen at any time in any season, so knowing exactly how to change a tyre is most definitely a skill that’s beneficial to every road user.
Changing a tyre is something that’s often sought after or benchmarked as big plus point, but unfortunately, the majority of us haven’t got a clue where to start. In fact, as reported in a study by The Independent, nearly 75% of millennials haven’t got the foggiest when it comes to changing a car tyre.
We’re here to change that, so read on below for our handy step-by-step guide and checklist on how to change a tyre.
First things first, let’s double-check that you have everything you need at your disposal to properly change a tyre.
- Vehicle handbook - consult your vehicle’s handbook, it contains useful information such as where to attach the jack on your car and other safety advice
- A jack - a car jack allows you to access the underside of your vehicle safely to change a tyre
- Spare wheel - hopefully, this goes without saying, but you’ll need a spare wheel with a road-legal, inflated tyre. It pays to check your spare tyre regularly to make sure that it’s in good condition, just in case you need to call upon it
- A wrench or wheel brace - you should ensure that either fits the bolts or wheel nuts of your vehicle
- A locking wheel nut key - you’ll need this if your vehicle has locking bolts or nuts
- Wheel chocks or wedges - these are usually in tow with your spare wheel, but if you don’t have any or they’ve been misplaced, use the likes of wooden blocks
- Gloves and overalls - changing a tyre can be messy, while there’s also a risk of cutting yourself on a damaged tyre or wheel
Ready the vehicle
Once you’re confident that you’ve got all the kit you need, it’s time to take the first step towards changing your tyre. To get your car ready for a tyre change, you’ll need to:
- Ensure that your engine is turned off
- Engage the handbrake and put the vehicle into first gear (or park if you’ve got an automatic)
- Turn on your hazard lights if you’re by the roadside and use your warning triangle, you can find one of these in our breakdown kits
- Make sure that the vehicle is free from passengers
- Ready the spare wheel and all of the necessary tools we mentioned earlier
- Place your chocks or wedges either side of the wheel diagonal to the one you’re replacing
Changing your tyre
Now that you’ve got all that you need and your vehicle is prepped and ready, you’re able to go about changing your car tyre. We’ve detailed just how to do so with these four simple steps below.
Step 1 - loosen the wheel nuts
Before going any further ahead and getting your car off the ground, it’s important to check that the wheel nuts are loose enough to remove. If your vehicle has locking wheel nuts, first use the locking key. Next, take the wrench and loosen the nuts; remember, you’re only checking that the wheel nuts haven’t seized at this stage – don’t remove them completely.
Step 2 - use the jack to lift the vehicle
First, check your vehicle handbook, then find the jacking point on your car (it’s usually marked with an arrow). Clear the ground before winding out the jack so that the foot is flat against the ground and it’s attached to the jacking point. Checking that the jack is remaining straight, continue to wind out the jack until the vehicle begins to lift off the ground, leaving you enough room to access the wheel and change the tyre.
Step 3 - remove the faulty wheel
Once the car has been jacked up to an adequate height, you’re then able to fully remove the wheel nuts and the wheel itself. Place the wheel nuts to one side somewhere safe and clean, you won’t want to lose them.
Next, carefully remove the wheel – this may be a little difficult depending on the weather and the age of the vehicle, so don’t be afraid to use a little extra persuasion if you need to. If the wheel won’t remove relatively easily, don’t force the issue, instead, call for assistance.
Step 4 - fit the spare tyre
Once the faulty wheel has been removed, you’re then able to fit your spare tyre. This will differ slightly depending on whether your vehicle has nuts and studs or bolts. If it’s the former, the spare wheel should slide on with no fuss; if it’s the latter, you’ll need your alignment tool to line up the wheel with the holes.
Begin to tighten the nuts and bolts carefully with your wheel brace before using the jack to lower the vehicle until the wheel touches the ground, then fully tighten the nuts and bolts in a diagonal pattern.
All that’s left to do now is tidy up and ensure that you make a trip to a dealership or garage at your next earliest convenience. Here, you should have the wheel’s tyre pressure checked, ensure that the nuts and bolts are properly tightened and make sure that you either repair or replace the spare tyre – you must always have a spare tyre in your vehicle.
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