Every driver should know how to replace a flat tyre. Not only does it help in the time of uncertainty but also makes you independent and more confident in your driving abilities. Most people consider it too difficult to be done by them and shun the knowledge completely. The basics of changing a flat tyre are mandatory if you drive. So here is a step by step guide on how to change your flat tyre.
You have just found that your car tyre is punctured and with no signs of help at a distance, you need to change the flat tyre yourself.
Things you will need:
- Spare tyre
- Wheel spanner
- Jack handle
Step 1 – Park on a flat, stable surface safely
If you happen to find a flat tyre and need to change it, first and foremost look for a flat even surface to park your car. Parking on a concrete road is most preferable, but if you may not find that; look for an even road surface that will be stable when you make the change. Avoid soft grounds, hills and slopes. You don’t want a car rolling down the slope unattended. Try and park as far as possible from the traffic, put your hazard lights on when changing the tyre.
Step 2 – Apply handbrake and put your car in gear
To make sure that your car does not move from its place or slips make sure you apply the handbrake and also put the car in the first or reverse gear so that it does not slip. If you have an automatic, put it in park. Make sure to look out for oncoming traffic or pedestrians when exiting the car. Place a rock or a heavy object that you may find on the front and the rear tyres.
Step 3 – Loosen the wheel nuts
In most cars, the tools are stored below the luggage compartment in the boot of your car. Remove the carpet, and you will find the spare wheel, jack, jack handle, wheel spanner placed. Now that you have the tools, remove the wheel cap from the tyre safely and loosen the wheel nuts. You will have to use the wheel spanner to loosen the nuts. Most wheel spanners come with different size options; the best fit for the wheel nuts will be the one that slips in easily and does not rattle. Use the wheel spanner counter clock wise to loosen the nuts. The nuts will most certainly be very tight, so be prepared to apply lots of force for loosening them. If all goes in vain, step on the wheel spanner and this will surely loosen them. Make sure you loosen the nuts diagonally, so first if you do the top right nut, the next will be the bottom left and vice versa. Remember to only loosen the nuts and not remove them completely.
Step 4 – Place the jack below the car
This is the most crucial step, when changing the tyre. Modern cars have a mark where the jack needs to be placed, behind the front tyre and in front of the rear tyre. If you don’t find it, look for it in the owner’s manual (Please carry it in the car at all times). Once you have placed the jack at the right spot, lift it until it is supporting the car. Make sure that the jack is perpendicular to the ground and does not bend, otherwise it will slip.
Step 5 – Raise the jack
Most car jacks are a screw type scissor jack which means you need to turn the knob at the end of the jack using the metal hand crank provided. Now raise the jack till a certain level where you can easily remove the flat tyre and replace it with a spare one. While raising the car, keep a look out for the car moving or being unstable. If you find any of those happening, stop immediately; lower the car, take care of the issue and start over.
Step 6 – Remove the flat tyre
Since you have already loosened the nuts, you just have to remove the nuts by unscrewing them from your hand. Once the nuts are out, keep them safe in the boot or in your pocket wherever you find it safe. Now remove the flat tyre and place it below the car as a preventive measure in case the jack slips. If the tyre is old, it may take some nudging to remove the same.
Step 7 – Place the spare tyre
Place the spare tyre in alignment with the wheel bolts. The tyres are heavy so remember to balance it on with the help of your foot to move into position. Make sure the wheel is placed in with the protruding wheel studs located on the brake hub with the air valves facing out. Now put back the nuts on the bolts again diagonally with your hand. Do not tighten them till the jack has been lowered again.
Step 8 – Lower the jack
Once the spare tyre is in place and the nuts are screwed in; lower the jack without applying full weight on the tyre. Now tighten the nuts using the wheels spanner in the clockwise direction. Make sure the nuts are very tight and put the wheel cap back on. Remove the jack once the car is completely lowered and place the wheel cap back on the tyre.
Step 9 – Put the tools back in the boot
Make sure all your tools are back in the boot along with the flat tyre. Some car companies provide the spare tyre that may be smaller than the regular tyre size on your car, thus it may not fit inside the space for the flat tyre. Don’t forget to check for tools of your car on the road or under the car before you leave the location.
Step 10 – Get your flat tyre repaired
Make sure you get your flat tyre repaired at the earliest. In case you have a full size spare tyre, it is fine to continue using the same. But if you are using a smaller spare tyre, you will have to restrict driving at the permissible top speed for the same. The top speed for the spare tyre is mentioned on the side wall. It is also better to get the flat tyre repaired immediately in case there is a situation again.
Now that you have successfully replaced your tyre, you can drive away to your home or the nearest tyre repair shop.
Things to remember –
- It is better to check your spare tyre occasionally for sufficient air.
- Repairing a flat tyre will cost you not more than Rs. 100 to Rs. 150 per tyre depending on the size of the tyre and the puncture, so do not delay it.
- Re-check the nuts after some running just to be sure there is no wobbling.
- When the car is up on the jack, do not climb under the car.
- In case the nuts are not locking in place, use a hammer to hammer them in place.
- It is better to practice once at home just to be sure of what you are doing.
- If the tyre is jaded, it is recommended to replace the tyres itself.
- Read the manual book to be familiar with the spare tyre and tools.