18 August, 2018

How to change a tyre / wheel

There’s nothing worse than driving somewhere, normally far from home, and the tyre goes flat. You’ve got a spare wheel in the boot, but you’re not sure how to change it?

With a story running in the Independent, suggesting that nearly 75% of all millennials are unable to change a car tyre / wheel, so if you’re one of those who can’t change a tyre, let us help you.

First of all, you need to make sure your car has everything. So you will need a spare wheel, of course, a jack to lift the car and somewhere near to the jack will be a wheel brace. (pictured below). You should find these in the boot of your car underneath a solid carpet lined board.

Step 1 - Loosen the nuts You should use your wheel brace to loosen the wheel nuts, but DO NOT remove them at this stage, just loosen them.

Step 2 – Lift the car Use your car jack to lift the car. Most car jacks that come in your car are scissor jacks (as pictured above). The larger square section of metal rests on the floor and the small square section of metal (normally with an indentation) goes underneath your car. Through the middle of the jack you will see what looks like a long piece of tubular metal that is threaded and on the end of that you will see a loop. Use your car jack bar to spin that, remembering to turn it right to lift the car and left to lower the car.

Each car has specific points where it is safe to lift from as not everywhere on the car is strong enough. You can locate these either by looking in the owners manual, or if you don’t have that to had, visually looking underneath the car. As you look under the car, you will notice a long piece of body work which runs directly under your doors (both front and rear). That bodywork is called a sill. If you look at the sill it should be perfectly straight, but at a point on the front and rear of it, you will see an indentation or even a logo with a scissor jack. This is where the manufacturer has added extra strength to the body of the car to lift it. Make sure the handbrake is applied before lifting the car.

Step 3 – Remove the wheel Once you have the car in the air, loosen and remove the wheel nuts and then remove the wheel. If you’re doing this at the roadside, be careful how you position yourself so that you are not in the way of other vehicular traffic.

Step 4 – Put the spare wheel on Once you have removed the punctured wheel, place the spare wheel on in its place. Replace the wheel nuts and secure them in place. See our image on the order of tightening wheel nuts.

Step 5 -Lower the car Doing the opposite to step 2, lower the car, turning the loop towards the left.

Step 6 – Tighten the wheel nuts Once your car is on the ground, you can use the wheel brace tool, to tighten the wheel nuts ensuring they are tight. Wheel nuts need to be tightened to around 120Nm of torque, although you should check the tightness of your wheel nuts in the owners manual. If you have tightened them at the roadside, but you’re not sure if they’re too tight, you should take your car to the garage to have it checked. If you don’t think you have tightened your wheel nuts enough, try to tighten them further. If you can’t and you’re still not happy they’re safe, you might have to consider contacting your local garage or calling a breakdown service out.

Step 7 – Recheck the wheel nuts After about 25 to 100 miles, using your wheel brace tool, or preferably a torque wrench if you have one, check the tightness of your wheels. Too tight can be just as back as not tight enough, so it’s really important to check the manufacturers recommended torque settings in the owners manual.

I know reading words on a page don’t mean a lot to some, which is why I’ve included a link an RAC video produced on this very subject. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89rghWSBFgE