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How to change a car tyre

How to change a car tyre

A flat tyre is a major inconvenience – and it can happen at any time, anywhere. Knowing how to change a flat tyre yourself is a great skill, and ensures your car will be up and running again quickly. Fortunately, it’s not usually a difficult task. Here are the steps to have up your sleeve so you don't have to flag down strangers on the street or wait around for Roadside Rescue.

1. Secure your vehicle safely and grab the spare tyre

It’s important to secure the vehicle safely before you attempt to change the tyre – you don’t want the car to roll! Always change the tyre while your car is parked on a flat surface, with the handbrake on. You may even have to drive a short distance with the tyre flat to find a good place. To further secure the car, place wheel chocks or bricks under the tyres at the opposite end of the car from where you are raising it.

2. Remove the wheel cover or hub cap

This is often best done using a screw driver, so it's a good idea to have this handy in your car. Simply insert the tip of the screwdriver where the cover meets the wheel, and lever the cover off. You may have to lever the cover at several points around the tyre to remove it.

3. Loosen the lug nuts

Grab the wrench and fit it to the first lug nut. The lug nuts will unscrew counter-clockwise, so apply your weight to the bar on the left of the wrench to loosen the nut. Do not unscrew the nuts completely – you want them just loose enough to remove by hand after you have jacked up the car.

4. Jack up the car

Place the jack under the car. The right position for the jack will vary, depending on the make and model, so it may be best to consult the owner’s manual if in doubt.

5. Remove the flat tyre

Remove the lug nuts completely and put them somewhere safe – make sure you don’t lose them! Grab the tyre in both hands and pull it out straight towards you. It should slide along the bolts and you will finish holding all the weight of the tyre in your hands. Roll the tyre away from the car and rest it on the ground.

6. Lift the spare tyre onto the lug bolts

Be careful during this step – tyres can be quite heavy.

7. Replace the lug nuts and tighten by hand

After tightening the lug nuts by hand, give them a quick jolt with the wrench. Make sure you wait until the car is on the ground before tightening them completely.

8. Lower the vehicle and tighten the lug nuts

Lower the vehicle to the ground and tighten the lug nuts fully, using the wrench.

9. Replace the wheel cover or hub cap

Does your car have wheel covers with a delicate finish? It may be best to check the owner’s manual for how to best re-attach them without causing damage. If you have hub caps, place it onto the wheel and whack it on with the heel of your hand.

A note on the spare tyre

The location of the spare tyre differs depending on the model. Make sure you know where to find it – and that the jack and lug wrench are there too – before you need it.

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