How to change a tyre

When it comes to basic vehicle maintenance, one of the first and most important things every driver should know how to do is change a tyre. Changing a tyre is a basic skill, and can be a lifesaver in the event of a flat when travelling on a busy motorway. But even if this skill is used only to change or rotate tyres for routine maintenance, it is one that cannot be overlooked by any driver. Though it may at first seem complicated for those who do not regularly work on vehicles, changing a tyre is simple and easy, especially when broken down into several simple to follow steps.

First, when changing a tyre, it is important for the vehicle to be on as flat a surface as possible so the jack will have a level area on which to rest. When changing a tyre at home, this is simple and easy; when changing a flat on the road, though, this can be challenging. In the event of a flat tyre while on the road, it is important to carefully and slowly maneuver the vehicle to the flattest area possible on the side of the road where the jack can be applied and the car can be safely level.

In the event of a flat, when the vehicle is pulled to the side of the road, three important steps should be followed. First, put the vehicle in park; next, apply the parking brake to ensure the vehicle is stopped; last, turn on the emergency flasher signals to make sure other drivers see your vehicle and understand the need for caution. If changing a tyre at home, simply put the vehicle in park and apply the emergency brake.

After the vehicle is safely parked, the next step is to find and collect the jack and spare tyre. In many vehicles, these are located under the flooring in the boot of the vehicle. With sport utility vehicles, they may be located on the back of the vehicle or underneath it, attached to the frame. Every driver should know where his jack and spare are, and how to remove them before driving. When these are collected, place the jack under the car in the area of the tyre to be changed. Most vehicles now are marked in the areas where the jack should go, either with specifically placed molded plastic or with markings on the wheel wells. For older vehicles, it is best to place the jack on the vehicle frame near the tyre.

When the jack is placed, raise it up until it is firmly supporting the vehicle; it is important to note here that the jack should not lift the vehicle off the ground for now, only support it. Using a cross wrench, loosen the nuts and hub cap, using your body weight to loosen them if necessary. When the nuts are loose, jack the vehicle up the rest of the way, ensuring that the vehicle remains steady, then remove the nuts.

Once this is done, remove the tyre and place it under the vehicle; this is to ensure that if the vehicle falls off the jack, it will fall on the tyre. Place the spare or new tyre on the hub, making sure it is aligned correctly, then put the nuts in place and tighten them as much as possible by hand.

Lower the jack until it is once again supporting the vehicle, then use the wrench to tighten the nuts the rest of the way and replace the hub cap. When all this is done, lower the vehicle the rest of the way, remove the jack, and store it and the jack back in the vehicle. These simple steps are all you need to change your own tyre.