To save space and weight, many new cars come with a puncture repair kit – sealant and compressor – rather than a spare wheel. If you don’t have a spare it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the kit provided so you’ll know what to do if you do get a puncture. If your car does have a spare it’s a good idea to practise changing a wheel at home in the daylight when the weather’s warm and dry. Then, if you do suffer a puncture you’ll be able to cope more easily, even if it’s dark, cold, or wet. Given a safe environment, the right tools and some basic knowledge, changing a wheel on any car should be fairly straightforward.
Before changing tyres
Always ensure that:
- You don’t try to change a wheel on a sharp corner or at the side of a road. Turn off or pull over well away from the traffic and call for help.
- You don’t try to change a wheel on soft, loose, or uneven ground.
- You don’t try to change a wheel with passengers still in the car. Move everyone to a place of safety, well away from the vehicle and carriageway.
- You don’t work under a car while it’s raised on a jack.
- You don’t try to use the jack anywhere other than at the specified jacking points. Attaching the jack in the wrong place can cause damage to the car.
Removing the flat tyre
After ensuring you have the required tools, raise the jack to lift the car sufficiently so that the wheel is just clear of the ground. Remove the loosen wheel nuts/bolts while keeping the wheel in position on the hub using a knee or toe. Leave the top nut on the wheel until both of your hands are free to lift the wheel away from the hub.
Fitting the spare
Fitting the spare is the reverse of the removal procedure. Secure the wheel by refitting the top bolt/nut first, and tighten all the nuts by hand first in stages and in a diagonal sequence. Don’t oil the bolts/nuts before refitting them, as this will make them more likely to work lose. Carefully lower the wheel until it makes contact with the ground before fully tightening the wheel nuts again in diagonal sequence. Store the damaged wheel safety. Replace it in the carrier or boot well.
Word of caution
If the spare is a temporary-use ‘skinny’ space saver spare, note any restrictions on use. The tyres typically limited to use up to a speed of 80kph and should be replaced with a normal tyre as soon as possible. Some dashboard lights may come on while a space saver spare is used because systems like ABS, traction control and some automatic gearboxes can be upset by odd tyre sizes. Also it’s important to check/adjust the pressure in the ‘new’ tyre as soon as possible. Get the damaged tyre replaced or repaired in readiness for the next flat tyre. We recommend taking the tire to one of our approved mechanics for repair.