Changing your flat tyre safely
Flat tyres don’t happen very often, but when they do it’s a fair bet that they’re going to happen at the worst possible time and place. Thankyou Mr Murphy for your infallible law. But don’t panic, here’s some straightforward instructions for changing that tyre.
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Firstly make sure that you’re as safe and as visible as possible by putting on your hazard lights. If you have something bright and visible to wear, put it on.
Check your spare tyre. Is it in good condition? If so keep calm and carry on.
Next get everyone out of the car, block the wheels on the opposite side of the flat and put the car in park if it’s an auto, or in gear if it’s a manual, with the handbrake on.
Remove the wheel cover and loosen the wheel nuts while the car’s on the ground. They’ll probably be tight so you may need to use your foot on the wheel wrench. Be careful and make sure the wrench is horizontal when you do this.
Set the jack up on firm ground and check its location carefully to avoid damaging your car. If it’s a sill jack place it under the reinforced section of the sill below the base of the door openings, then carefully raise the jack. Just to be on the safe side, place the spare wheel on its side close to the jack with half the wheel sticking out from beneath the car. While the jack’s unlikely to fail, if it does the car will fall on the wheel, not you. Never put any part of your body beneath the car while it’s supported on a jack or install a tyre while holding it from the bottom.
Using the wrench, loosen the wheel nuts and remove the wheel, pulling it towards you carefully with both hands. Many alloy wheels have a locking nut to prevent theft, so you may have to use the locking nut and the correct socket from your tool kit.
Next, install the new wheel. If it’s a space saver follow the instructions, taking particular note of the 80km/h speed restriction. Make sure the wheel nuts go on with the taper towards the wheel, then tighten them before lowering the car.
Tighten them again with your foot, standing on the wrench with the handle horizontal. Don’t over-tighten them. Finally, replace the wheel cover or hubcap and you’re done. Well, almost – now all you have to do is get that flat fixed.
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