As luck would have it, three weeks after purchasing 4 new tyres one of them got a puncture. A tiny fragment of glass, about the size of a pea, went through the brand new tyre and I was greeted with a sad hissing noise after getting home from the fortnightly grocery shop. It was one of those manic mornings with all kids home on term break, a cousin visiting for the day, and hubby flying out the door to get to work on time.
Luckily, I was able to move the car off of our sloping driveway and out onto the road before it went completely flat. And thus, today’s topic:
How to change a car tyre
Changing a car’s tyre is something every driver should know how to do. It’s pretty straight forward, but there are a few tips that can help. The most important thing is safety. So ensure you work on a flat surface, use your hazard lights if you’re on a road, and ensure your car is turned off and in park.
Locate your spare tyre and jack. If in doubt, consult your car’s handbook which is usually kept in the glove compartment. Most spare tyres are under the boot’s floor or under the car itself to maximise boot space. This car is an SUV and the jack was concealed behind a panel in the boot, and the tyre was under the car.
Instructions on how to remove the jack was written inside the panel. The spare tyre was lowered using the jack’s handle on a bolt in the boot.
By turning the handle, the tyre was lowered slowly from underneath the car. Once it had fully descended, unhook the bar and remove the tyre. Replace the bar back on the hook and turn the handle in the opposite direction to rise again.
Before using the jack to raise the car, loosen the lug/wheel nuts (but don’t remove them). You do this before jacking the car so the wheel doesn’t turn. We used a wheel brace (pictured below) which cost around $15 in auto shops, but you may find the handle on the jack fits the nuts too as most jack handles have the nut attachment on one end. This is probably the trickiest part as the bolts can be difficult to turn. The wheel brace was excellent to use as we had more leverage. We found pushing down on one side of the brace with our foot whilst pulling on the other side was enough for us to loosen them off.
Once the nuts are loose, you need to jack up the car. The car may have jacking points underneath the car to show where the jack needs to sit. This car didn’t, so we made sure we selected a flat, metal point close to the tyre, being careful to avoid the soft plastic outer body.
Use the handle on the jack to raise the car so it is high enough to turn the tyre. Remove the lug/wheel nuts and pull off the flat tyre. *Note, when you’ve removed one nut, select the opposite nut to remove next. This will stop the tyre from tipping forward and twisting on the bolts as it is being removed.
Line the new tyre up with the holes and push the tyre on as far as it will go. Replace the lug/wheel nuts in the same way as above (first one, then the opposite nut) and tighten them by hand.
Unwind the jack to gently lower the car back down to the ground. Use the wheel brace to tighten the nuts as tight as you can.
That’s basically it! Your first drive on your new tyre should be to a service station to check the air pressure on the replacement tyre. If it’s been unused for a while it may need a top up. Your second trip should be to your local mechanic or auto shop. They’ll be able to tell you if they’re able to put on a patch, or if you’ll require a brand new tyre. A patch should set you back between $20-$40, but it pays to shop around as a lot of independent shops are cheaper than their big name counterparts.