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How to change a tyre

PA Motoring logoPA Motoring 18/10/2017 Blackball Media

A flat tyre is always annoying, but it doesn’t have to be a burden if you know how to change it.

Yes, it will take a bit of time, but if you can do it yourself it’s bound to be less of a wait than hanging around for the recovery services to arrive. Here’s what to do.

1. Be safe

© Provided by The Press Association Make sure you stop in a safe place on flat, hard and level ground and apply your hazard lights if appropriate. If you can’t move the car to a safe place, and think changing the tyre will put you or others in danger, then don’t do it.

If you are not a member of a breakdown service, you can still call them and they’ll charge you a fee to assist – that’s got to be better than putting yourself in danger.

2. Check it out

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Always ensure the handbrake is applied, and for double certainty leave the car in gear – or park if you have an automatic.

3. Remove the wheel caps

If your car has wheel covers or hubcaps, you’ll have to take them off. More importantly, if you car has locking wheel nuts fitted you’ll need to find the corresponding ‘key’ – a special metal adaptor that matches the locking nut on each wheel. This is usually kept in your glove box or with the spare wheel tools.

4. Loosen the nuts

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Taking a wheel wrench, loosen the wheel nuts slightly, always remembering to push down. You might have to put your back into it because they’re often tightened well – they hold the wheels on after all. Don’t take them off just yet, though.

5. Jack it up

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Place the jack under the vehicle, making sure you find the nearest jacking points for the tyre that needs changing. If you’re completely stuck, consult your car’s manual to find them.

Always use the jacking points when lifting a vehicle, they are there for a reason. The AA recommends looking at your owner’s manual always for complete certainty.

6. Rotate clockwise

When jacking the car up, always rotate clockwise which should push the car off the ground.

7. Keep twisting

Changing a tyre in the event of a puncture doesn't have to be daunting – we show you how. © Blackball Media Changing a tyre

Keep jacking the car up until it is just off the ground, which should give you room to remove the tyre.

8. Nuts off

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Now remove the previously loosened wheel nuts, meaning the wheel should now lift straight off – but take care, it may be heavier than you imagine. Put the nuts in a safe place, you’ll need them later.

9. Spare time

It’s now time for that extra weight you’ve been carrying about in your boot for the past few years to be put to good use. Grab the spare tyre or space saver and mount it on the wheel bolts.

10. Hands first

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Get the (hopefully) safely placed wheel bolts and fasten them on by hand to begin with, then tighten up as best you can with the wrench. 

11. Jack it back

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It’s now time to bring the car back down, lowering the jack in the opposite direction to before – anticlockwise if you’d forgotten.

12. Tighten the nuts

Take the wrench and fully tighten the wheel nuts on the car now it is on the ground. If they aren’t tight enough, your wheel might fall off, so do this step correctly.

It’s worth correctly checking with a torque wrench when you’ve got to a location with one. Now remove the jack.

14. Clean up time

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Make sure you store the jack, wrench and locking wheel nut key (if applicable) away safely again – you might need these again in future. 

15. Final things

Remember that if you’ve fitted a space saver, these normally have a reduced top speed, often around 50mph. This is not just guidance, they have a max speed for a reason.

Take the car to a garage for a tyre change as soon as possible – space savers aren’t designed to be permanent after all.

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