It may seem like a bit of an odd topic for TCR Tech-Talk, but when you own a car, you should know how to change a tyre. An alarming amount of people don’t know how to change a tyre, using the excuse that, “I’ll always have someone I can call for that.” However, if you get a puncture late at night in a not-so-savoury area of town, it could take up to two hours for someone from the AA to reach you, traffic and weather dependant amongst other things. Knowing how to change a tyre will not only save you time, but it will get you back on the road and out of danger quickly.
Equipment required to change a tyre:
Every car will come with the following items:
- Spare tyre – unless your car is equipped with run-flat tyres
- Wheel-spanner – Many cars come with a fairly simple spanner. We recommend heading to any local spares shop and picking up a cross spanner, which not only features multiple size sockets, but helps in being able to loosen tight wheel-nuts.
- A jack – mechanical, pneumatic, or hydraulic. It is important to make sure the jack you have in your car is correct for your vehicle. A jack not correct for your vehicle may collapse under excess weight, possibly causing great damage to your vehicle, and harm to anyone nearby.
We recommend that in addition to the standard tyre changing equipment, you keep the following in your boot:
- A rag – having a rag in your boot means that you can remove a hot wheel without getting burnt. Also, you can wipe down the wheel, etc. – no one likes to get dirty on their way to work in the morning or on their way out to a date.
- A short length of metal or solid plastic pipe – the pipe needs to be approximately a metre in length, light in weight, and must be hollow with an opening between 4cm and 8cm wide. This pipe, should you not be strong enough or should the wheel-nuts be secured too tightly, will lengthen the wheel-spanner and provide greater leverage, making it easier to loosen the nuts. The longer the pipe, the easier it will be to loosen and tighten the wheel-nuts.
- A bicycle pump – a compact bicycle pump will fit easily in your boot or cubby-hole, and should your spare tyre not be fully inflated, will be necessary to get you moving again.
How to change a tyre:
Changing a tyre is quick and easy, we’ve outlined the correct procedure for you below:
- Make sure your car is parked on firm, level ground, with your handbrake securely on.
- Slightly loosen the wheel-nuts on the punctured tyre prior to jacking up the car. Make sure to turn the wheel-spanner counter-clockwise to loosen the nuts. If you are unable to due to the nuts being tight, place length of pipe over the wheel-spanner in a way that the spanner can be rotated counter-clockwise.
- When all wheel-nuts are slightly loose, place the jack underneath the edge of your car. There should be a marking on the panel beneath the door, however if you are unsure, refer t your owners manual which will explain where the jack should be placed.
- Jack up the car, enough to lift the bottom of the tyre 3-4cm above the ground.
- Loosen and remove the wheel-nuts completely and remove the tyre from the wheel-hub.
- Manoeuvre and place the spare tyre in front of the wheel hub, make sure to align the holes in the wheel approximately with the position of the holes on the wheel-hub.
- Place the spare wheel on the wheel-hub and make sure holes are aligned.
- Insert wheel-nuts and loosely tighten them clockwise, making sure to tighten diagonally to prevent the wheel becoming unbalanced.
- When the nuts are tight enough, lower the jack so that the car is resting firmly on the ground. Tighten the wheel-nuts, again making sure to do so diagonally. Make sure the nuts are tightened correctly, but not too much. If you struggle to make sure they are firmly tightened, you may use the pipe from Step 2 to help turn the wheel-spanner.
- Once everything is tightened, you’re ready to go. Make sure to head to the nearest petrol station to make sure your spare tyre is inflated correctly, and if possible, get the puncture in your original tyre plugged by a petrol attendant.
Being able to change a tyre is a must for anyone driving a car. It is not only a matter of knowing how to do it, but is a matter of personal safety too. Regardless of whether you are a man or woman, you need to know how to change a tyre.