The know how guides – Changing a wheel

For many a flat tyre is an absolute nightmare, just the thought of pulling to the side of the road on a wet and windy day is enough to make most grimace. For the experienced hand the whole thing can be done in under 5 minutes, however for the novice it can be intimidating enough to ruin an entire day. While many feel confident and secure about changing a wheel, there are many who feel worried that one simple mistake could cause a serious calamity. While in many cases these people can rely on roadside assistance it can still be helpful to know how to do the work yourself. This is especially true in the rare occasions where roadside is either a long way away or completely unavailable.

The checklist

1. Getting the car on solid level ground and applying the handbrake – this is important as the jack needs to be on solid ground to lift the vehicle. Its also important that the car is on level ground to prevent the vehicle from rolling. Its also advisable to wedge something behind and in front of the wheel diagonally opposite the one you’re working on. Getting everything ready – take out your spare (in some cases this will be a thin space saving wheel), your jack and your lug wrench from where its stored (usually under a thin panel in the boot).

* Note that it is a good idea to loosen the wheel nuts ever so slightly before jacking up the car.

2. Jacking the car up – here you will need to find the jack point which is a marked area that shows you the ideal place to lift your vehicle. It’s important to use this point and this point only as other spots may not offer enough support. If you cannot find this point refer to your vehicle manual. Once you have found the jack point lift the car to a point where the wheel is clear of the ground.

* Note it can be smart to place the spare wheel partly under the car near the jack to act as a safety precaution.

3. Replacing the wheel – once you have lifted the vehicle, remove the wheel trims if there are any. After this you need to remove the nuts with the lug wrench. Once these are removed you can take off the flat. Now grab your spare and put it where the old wheel was. Replace the wheel nuts but don't tighten them fully as this will be done once the vehicle is set down.
* Note never place any part of your body under the vehicle while its jacked up. Also remember to tighten the nuts north to south, then east to west.

4. Bringing the car down and putting everything back – bring the car back down and tighten the nuts and ensure they are secure. Once all of this is done put back all of your equipment and you’re done!

How to build up your confidence

Getting past a lack of confidence in the area can, at times, be a challenge. Like with everything watching and reading how to guides can help, however there is little which compares to actual experience. While it does sound drastic it can be a major help to simply take an hour or two out of your day to go through the motions. The best advice is to do the work under the supervision of someone who knows the process well. The supervision can help you gradually build your confidence, and at the same time help you reduce your fear of getting it wrong.

Final thoughts

There are many areas of car maintenance and repair that can be done by a car’s owner. While many of these areas are important, there are none more important than knowing how to replace a flat tyre. This is because for a well maintained and regularly serviced car the most solvable problem you will encounter is in fact a flat tyre. In the end if you are still not comfortable it is best to lean on roadside assistance. If on the other hand you do decide to get your hands dirty the best advice is to learn and practice before the situation arises for real.  Getting over nervousness in the area can be a challenge but like with most challenges the confidence and sense of achievement at the end is a reward in and of itself.

Can you replace a flat?

Have you ever had a flat tyre nightmare?

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