Can’t Change A Tyre? This Guide Can Help

Tyre Safety Month is drawing to a close and, during this time, we’ve looked at tyre pressure, tyre condition and tread. Now, it’s time for a lesson on how to change a tyre as only 45% of UK drivers know how to do it. 

Knowing How To Change A Tyre

While there might be a service centre in an urban area that can help when you get a flat, what happens when you’re in the middle of nowhere? You could call roadside assistance but they might be a few hours away and costly if you are not a member. 

If you could change a tyre, you’d be on your way in no time, provided you have all the tools and follow the right steps. Knowing how to change a tyre is a crucial skill that we believe everyone should have. It can reduce the amount of disruption to your day and save you money. 

What Tools Do I Need For Changing A Tyre?

If you don’t know how to change a tyre and want to learn, this step-by-step guide can help. But first, let’s list all the items and tools you need, with a few extras just in case.

  • Spare Tyre 
  • Jack 
  • Wheel-nut wrench
  • Warning triangle
  • Vehicle handbook
  • Reflective jacket
  • Torch
  • Gloves
  • Tyre pressure gauge

Tips To Safely Change A Tyre

Before we get started, don’t try and change a tyre if your personal safety is at risk or if you are missing the essential tools. If you are in a safe location with all the tools and a spare wheel or a space-saver, the process of changing a tyre is the same. 

However, if you don’t have a spare wheel and only a tyre repair kit, read this article for some guidance. To see how to change a tyre, have a look at this video from RAC.

Need new tyres? Reserve yours online with Elite Garages.

Can You Change A Car Tyre By Yourself? 

If you know how to change a tyre and have everything you need, you can change a tyre on your own. But before you do anything, make sure you do the following:

  • If you get a flat tyre while driving, only stop in a safe place away from the road 
  • Turn on your hazard lights
  • Make sure nobody is in the car
  • Park on a flat surface as changing a tyre on any sort of incline or decline is extremely dangerous
  • Apply the hand brake
  • Put an automatic vehicle in park or a manual car in gear 
  • Use chocks, or any heavy object (wedges of wood, bricks or large stones) on either side of the wheel diagonally opposite the one being changed

What Are The Steps For Changing A Car Tyre?

  1. Remove the hubcap or wheel cover if there is one
  2. Loosen but don’t remove the wheel nuts with a wheel wrench
  3. Raise the car up
  4. Remove your lug nuts
  5. Remove your wheel
  6. Mount the spare wheel
  7. Tighten your wheel nuts
  8. Lower the vehicle and further tighten the wheel nuts with your wrench
  9. Check the tyre pressure
  10. Refit the hubcap or wheel cover

How Do I Loosen Wheel Nuts? 

Once you’ve removed the hubcap, only loosen the wheel nuts enough to make it easier to remove when you’ve jacked up the car. If your wheel nuts are too tight, gently apply pressure to the wrench keeping it in a horizontal position using your foot.

Put the jack under the car in the location indicated by your car’s manual. Then, slowly and smoothly raise your car until the flat tyre is about 15 cm off the ground. Since you already loosened the wheel nuts, you can now remove them completely. 

How Do I Fit My Spare Tyre?

To remove the wheel, pull it towards you with both hands and roll it away to the side so it’s out of the way. Once again, using both hands lift your spare wheel into place onto the wheel bolts. Now, tighten your wheel nuts by hand at first and one after the other in a diagonally opposite sequence. 

Lower the vehicle and tighten the wheel nuts but this time using your wrench. Carefully apply extra pressure to the horizontally positioned wheel wrench as you tighten them. You should ideally use a torque wrench with the correct force to avoid possible damage to the bolts through elongation. The final step is to refit the hubcap or wheel cover and check your tyre pressure if you have a pressure gauge. 

Can I Leave The Spare Tyre On My Car?

The short answer is a resounding ‘NO’ as temporary spares are usually a different size. They are also lighter, smaller and don’t have the same speed or mileage capabilities as a normal car tyre. If you keep your spare wheel on the car, you could affect your vehicle’s stability when driving. The only exception is if your spare tyre is a full-sized match to the others. When a space saver is fitted to a vehicle it is important to remember they should be driven for a maximum of 50 miles, and should not exceed 50 miles per hour.

Can I Replace Only One Tyre?

In many cases, the issue is tyre tread depth so if all your tyres are still above the legal limit of 1.6 mm (ideally 3 mm) you can get away with changing one tyre. However, it should be the same brand and type with the same tread pattern and load rating to ensure a balanced and safe drive. This is not the case for all vehicles. Some 4X4’s require all four tyres to be replaced at once, this is to avoid damage to their transmissions if there is a devaition in tread depths of tyres.

If you are planning on switching out a complete set of car tyres and you need to store them, label each tyre with a piece of chalk as you remove it. For example, use the letters LF (left front), RF (right front), and so on. This will help you keep track of where each tyre was mounted and take this into when doing tyre rotation in the future.

Free Tyre Checks At Elite Garages

To make sure you, your family and other road users are safe, we recommend you perform regular tyre checks, at least every two weeks. If you are unsure about any aspect of your tyres, visit any of our Elite Garages nationwide for a FREE tyre check

Our expert technicians will do a thorough tyre inspection (including the spare wheel) looking at tyre pressure, tread depth and visual damage. Once completed, we will provide you with a detailed report indicating any concerns. And, if you need new tyres, you can order online or call your nearest branch.