At some point in your driving life you will encounter a flat tyre. If you’re lucky it will show its ugly little head at home in your driveway, however, you may also experience this on a dirt road far from help. Either way the tyre will have to be changed before the car can be driven any further.
Changing a flat tyre is, I believe, a vital skill to be able to perform and anyone who drives a car should take the time to learn. It is a job that can, at times, be a dirty and even physically hard job, so thats why I have put together this easy to follow process of how to change a flat tyre in six easy steps.
I have broken this process down into 6 easy to follow steps, including two bonus tips, so that you don’t get stuck on the side of the road waiting for roadside assist to change the flat for you.
- Making the car safe to work on.
- Organise the spare wheel, tools and equipment.
- Prepare for the wheel change.
- Changing the wheel.
- Getting back on the road.
- Safety Check.
- Bonus Tips.
STEP 1 – Making the car safe to work on.
This first step is about making the car as safe as possible to change the wheel. Even when the flat happens in a very unsafe spot, such as a steep hill, there are still things that can be done to reduce the risk and increrase safety.
If possible park the car off the road, finding a firm level area to get to work. Next place the car in park, turn the engine off and apply the parking brake.
STEP 2 – Organise the spare wheel, tools and equipment.
It is impossible to change a wheel without the spare, or even the tools to do the job. Now that you have made the car safe to work on, it is the time to remove the spare wheel from the vehicle as well as all the tools and equipment required to change the wheel.
Tools required to change a wheel are the jack and jack handle, to raise the car off the ground. Wheel brace, to loosen and tighten the wheel nuts. Lever to remove the hub cap, if fitted. This lever is often built into the opposite end of the wheel brace. Also if your car is fitted with anti-theft security locking nuts get the lock nut out of the car ready for use.
STEP 3 – Prepare for the wheel change.
Once you have removed the spare wheel and all necessary tools from the car, you need to prep the car and flat tyre ready for the change. Don’t be concerned about spending ages prepping as this is actually a fairly straight forward step, if you follow the process.
If you have hubcaps then remove the one on the flat, by using the lever to pry it off. Next take the wheel brace and loosen the wheel nuts slightly, in an anti-clockwise direction. You do this before you raise the the wheel off the ground, as it stops the wheel from rotating and assists in making it easier to loosen the wheel nuts.
The next part of the prepping step is to place the jack under the cars jacking point and raise the car up until the wheel is off the ground. If you are unsure of where to find the jacking points in your car, it can be found in the owners manual that comes with your car, it will be listed in there.
As this can be a bit of a dirty job to carry out, one tip I would suggest would be to remove a floor mat from the car, or even a picnic rug or towel, etc, that you have stored in your car and lay it down next to the flat tyre for you to kneel on or sit on, whilst you change the wheel, to help keep you clean(er) and out of the dirt.
STEP 4 – Changing the wheel.
I will start this step off with a WARNING, AT NO TIME should you even attempt to get under a car that is sitting on a jack that is NOT supported by safety stands. Doing so is dangerous and can lead to injury or death if the jack happens to fall or collapse. This has and does happen so DO NOT think that it won’t happen to you.
Enough of the doom and gloom, this is the step that is the most physical, yet rewarding and that is, changing the wheel.
In the last step we loosened the wheel nuts and jacked the car up, now with the weight off the wheel, remove all of the wheel nuts and carefully lift the wheel off the hub and roll it out of the way.
Next roll the spare wheel over and position the wheel so that the wheel studs on the hub and the stud holes in the rim line up, this will make fitting the wheel a heck of a lot easier and save you time and energy. Also if you have jacked the car up to the right height then you will only have to lift the spare wheel up a very small amount, roughly the thickness of your mobile phone.
Once you have carefully lifted the wheel onto the hub it is time to fit the wheel nuts and tighten them up. When tightening the wheel nuts, do so in a star type pattern as this will allow the wheel to be pulled up square and even to the hub.
STEP 5 – Getting back on the road.
Now all the hard work is done, although you do need to finish off the job and thats what this step involves, getting your car back onto the road.
To do this you need to lower the jack and get the car back onto the ground. Once the weight of the car is off the jack and on the ground, the jack can be removed from under the vehicle.
Next take your wheel brace and now properly tighten up the wheel nuts, do this in a cross or star type pattern to ensure the wheel is torqued up evenly and squarely onto the hub. Make sure that the wheel nuts are tight as the last thing you want is the wheel coming off due to the wheel nuts being left loose.
To complete this step make sure you pick up and put away the flat tyre, tools and equipment you have been using.
STEP 6 – Safety Check.
This final step is all about your peace of mind, by carrying out a safety check. This is probably the easiest step to carry out.
Once you have finished the previous 5 steps you will now be back on the road , so to ease your mind that the wheel is not going to fall off, recheck and retighten the wheel nuts after you have been driving for about 20-30 minutes. Just find a safe place to park and take the wheel brace back out and check the wheel nuts are still tight.
The other part of this final step is to have the flat tyre either repaired or replaced as soon as possible, that way you have that fully functional spare wheel back in your car as quick as possible for the off chance you get another flat tyre soon after.
Well lucky you here is a couple of bonus tips for you to digest to help make the whole process even easier.
Bonus Tip No. 1.
The majority of nuts, bolts, screws and studs use a right handed thread, meaning, to tighten the nut, bolt, screw or stud, you need to turn it to the right or in a clockwise direction to tighten it up and turn it left or in an anit-clockwise direction to loosen it. So to help you remember which way to turn, not just a wheel nut, but any nut, bolt, screw or stud for that fact remember this little saying.
“Righty Tighty, Lefty Lucy”.
Bonus Tip No. 2.
Practice, Practice, Practice. On your weekend, or day off, instead of binge watching your favourite Netflix series, go out to your car and, using these six steps, practice changing a wheel on your car. By doing so you will become familiar with the process and build your confidence, knowing that when the day does arrive where you get a flat tyre then you can change it, confident in your abilities.
There it is, how to change a flat tyre in six easy steps, all you need to do now is put these into action and before you know it you will be back on the road again.
I hope you find the tips in this article useful and helpful, if you do like this post and leave a comment and let me know how you have put these steps into action. You can also go through the many other post I have written for various other basic car maintenance tips and instruction. Also head over to my YouTube channel, Every Road TV, for the video version of how to change a flat tyre in six easy steps as well as an ever increasing video library of other basic car maintenance tips.
Until next time, keep making tracks on every road.