If you’re a novice, the thought of changing a tyre by yourself can be daunting. After all, it’s a job for a mechanic, right? Actually, you could save time and money by having a go yourself. Read our guide to changing your own tyre and how to stay safe when you do.
What you need
Before you get started, there’s a tick list of things you’ll need to hand:
- Your spare wheel – make sure it’s properly inflated
- Your vehicle jack
- A wheel wrench
- A wheel chock – this is a wedge placed under one of your car’s wheels to stop it rolling when it’s lifted
- A torch – to help you see what you’re doing. If possible, get a second pair of hands to hold and move the torch for you
- A reflective jacket and strong shoes – to keep you safe and protected
- Your car’s handbook – it’s important to check for any specific model or manufacturer guidelines
- You may want to use gloves and put an old towel on the floor to keep your hands and clothes clean
Once you’ve got everything you need, it’s time to prep your vehicle. Switch your engine off, put your hazard lights and handbrake on, and make sure your car’s in first gear – or ‘P’ if it’s an automatic.
Put your chock under the wheel that’s diagonally opposite the tyre that needs changing – this should help to keep your car steady when you lift it. Have your spare at the ready, keeping it flat on the ground next to you.
Out with the old
Next, you need to remove the flat tyre. If you can, remove the existing wheel trim. Then place your jack at the lifting point closest to the wheel. The lifting point of your car should be in your handbook. Certain parts of your car are designed to temporarily take its weight, so putting the jack in the wrong spot can cause major damage to your vehicle.
Extend the jack and begin to lift your car very slightly, so the springs begin to rise. Don’t take it any further for the time being.
You can now begin to loosen the wheel nuts with the wrench, by twisting anti-clockwise. You only want to loosen them for now, not fully remove them.
Next, use the jack to properly lift your vehicle, so the wheel you’re removing is off the ground. Hold the wheel still and remove the nuts. When you remove the final one, you should be able to gently lift the wheel away from the hub.
In with the new
Now you can attach your spare. Lift it into position on the hub and do what you’ve just done, but in reverse. Lightly reattach each of the nuts by hand, and once they’re all on, lower your vehicle using the jack. Tighten each nut with the wrench, remove the jack and chock – and you’re good to go.
Our top seven tips
- Always read your car’s handbook before you attempt to change your tyre.
- Never change your wheel on or at the side of a road, particularly on the hard shoulder of a motorway. If possible, turn off or pull over far away from moving traffic.
- Remove passengers from your vehicle before you change a tyre, and ask them to move to a safe place away from the road.
- You should always change your wheel on an even, stable surface.
- Never place yourself under your car while it’s raised on the jack.
- When you’re reapplying the nuts, never oil them, as it can make them slippery and more likely to loosen.
- Your spare wheel may be a ‘skinny’ spare. Many of these can’t be used at high speeds and are only intended to be temporary. If this is the case, you need to get a proper replacement fitted as soon as possible.