How to change a tyre: 10 Steps
1. Find a flat, stable and safe surface to change the tyre
You’ll want to avoid inclines that could cause the car to shift or fall off the jack when elevated, potentially injuring you or damaging the vehicle. Make sure that you will be able to easily access the vehicle’s undercarriage to place the jack. Also, scan for other potential hazards where you are changing your tyre, especially passing cars.
2. Engage first gear and apply the handbrake
This step is important to make sure the car doesn’t start rolling when it’s up on the jack.
3. Loosen the lug nuts
Many lug wrenches have four sockets. Find the one that fits snugly over the lug nut and push it onto the nut as far as it will go. Turn the nut anti-clockwise to remove it. If it’s very tight and you can’t loosen it with your arm strength, you might need to stomp on the shaft of the wrench. It’s important to do any hard yanking before the car is raised up on the jack.
4. Raise the vehicle with the jack
The jack points vary from vehicle to vehicle, so look in your owner’s manual to find the right placement in each case. You’ll need to raise the vehicle until there are a couple of inches of air under the flat tyre, allowing you to manoeuvre it off and put on the spare, which will probably need more space since it’s inflated.
5. Completely remove the wheel nuts
Since the nuts are already loose, you can probably just unthread them with your fingers. Make sure that you put them in a safe place where they won’t roll away—you’ll need them again in just a minute!
6. Remove the wheel from the axle and place it under the vehicle
Pull the wheel off the car by moving it straight outwards to keep it from tilting diagonally and binding up on the bolts. When it’s off, put it under your car to keep it out of the way and to provide a safety buffer should the car fall off the jack for some reason.
7. Put the new wheel on the axle
You may have to raise the car a bit more since the spare is (hopefully!) inflated and may need more space. Line up the holes that ring the wheel’s hub with the bolts, and slide the wheel onto the bolts, pushing it back until it won’t go any further. Then you’ll need to put the lug nuts back on the bolts (turning them clockwise) without tightening them all the way. You will probably feel the wheel shift a bit as it lines up flush with the wheel hub behind it.
8. Remove the wheel you took off from under the car
Make sure that you put it somewhere out of the way so you don’t trip on it and it’s not a hazard for passers-by or adjacent traffic.
9. Lower the vehicle
Make sure that there are no objects or people below it before you lower it down.
10. Tighten the wheel nuts crosswise
It’s important to follow a cross or star pattern as you put the final torque on the lugs. This ensures that all of the nuts have even torque and lowers the chance of the wheel flexing or shifting after you drive off.
Don’t forget to securely stow all your equipment and your spare tyre before getting on your way!
It is important to use a calibrated torque wrench or take your vehicle to a professional tyre dealership to have wheel bolts torqued to the correct settings.
When does a tyre need to be changed?
- Flat tyre. Obviously, you’ll need to swap your tyre for a spare when you get a flat tyre. A puncture will often make your vehicle pull to one side or you might hear a thumping sound or feel vibrations in the steering wheel. Don’t try to keep driving on the flat. Not only is this dangerous, it can also damage your tyre beyond repair and even ruin your rims or parts of your suspension system. Drive only far enough to find a safe spot to change your tyre.