How to change a flat tyre

By Anna Kantilaftas, 19 Oct 2016 Car Advice

changing spare tyre

Nothing screams bummer like a pesky flat tyre, but don’t let it ruin your day. Here’s a step-by-step guide to changing a tyre.

SAFETY

Don’t make a blown tyre worse by risking more damage to your car, or potentially to yourself, by stopping in the middle of the road. Your first and most important step is to ensure your safety. Pull the car over to the side of the road, and out of the way of traffic. Like any road-side problem, hazard lights should come and you should put your handbrake on and your car in park (or in gear if you’re in a manual).

EQUIPMENT

Once your car is safely on the side of the road, it’s time to get the equipment from the back of your car. If your car comes with a spare tyre, either full size or space saver, you’re took kit should include a wheel brace with a wedged side, a jack and a jack handle.

You’ll also need to familiarise yourself with hub caps (if your car has them), and wheel nuts.

These days, some cars also feature Run Flat Tyres or a puncture repair kit so your tool kit will be quite different – make sure you’re familiar with what your car offers before purchase. 

When changing your tyre, make life easier by laying everything out next to your vehicle.

PREPARATION

Before you get to the nitty gritty part of replacing a tyre, there are a few initial steps you need to take.

  1. If your tyre comes with a hubcap, that needs to come off. Using the wedge side of the wheel brace, loosen the hubcap and pull it off so you can access the wheel nuts.
  2. Next, using the brace, loosen nuts by twisting them anti-clockwise. You don’t need to take them off, just loosen them enough to make life easier later. One twist anti-clockwise should do. This can be the most difficult part.

JACK UP THE CAR

This is probably the most daunting part of a tyre change, and it’s at this point it’d be a good idea to make friends with your owner’s manual.

  1. Find the jacking point (use the owner’s manual because each car can be different.)
  2. Using your hands, wind up the jack to meet the jacking point.
  3. Then it’s time to connect the handle and give your shoulders a bit of a work out by jacking up the car. Make sure you lift it high enough to still leave space for the inflated tyre.
  4. Once the car is off the ground, it’s a good idea to place the spare tyre under the car to protect you and the car if the jack fails.

TAKE OFF THE FLAT

  1. Now it’s time to take the wheel nuts off. Keep in mind, removing the wheel nuts can be the most difficult and labour intensive part of changing your tyre so if you haven’t loosened them properly earlier, you’re in for a bit of fun now.
  2. Pull the flat tyre off the car and use it to replace the new tyre currently sitting under the car. You still want protection if the jack fails.

TIME FOR THE NEW TYRE

  1. Line up the centre holes of the new tyre with the studs and push it on to the car.
  2. Then, by hand, put all the nuts onto the tyre and tighten with fingers to stop them falling off.
  3. Then it’s time to remove the ‘safety tyre’ and let the jack down before you tighten the nuts.
  4. In a star pattern, tighten the nuts as much as possible.
  5. Pop the hubcap back on and you’re done.

Take it slow for the first few metres, or drive backwards and forwards a little to ensure the tyre is on properly. Then, clean the grease off your hands and you’re on your way.

Now read our new car buyers glossary to decipher dealership lingo.