This is a guide you can follow to help you change a flat tyre.
There are many circumstances when a tire can become flat and you have no choice but to change it yourself. I was inspired to write this because I was in the situation where I got a flat tyre in Geelong and I didn’t know what to do. I had to call my dad to explain to me over the phone how to change a flat tyre. Luckily I had a spare and I did not need an emergency towing service in Geelong.
If you are lucky, you will have a spare in the back of your car with the appropriate tools.
If you do not have a spare tyre then you will need an emergency towing service.
Step 1 - Pull over safely
The very first thing you need to do is make sure you are in a safe location. If you are driving along a highway or another main road, you may need to continue a little further and find somewhere safe to pull over. You should not suddenly brake or pull over as you will not have normal control of the vehicle if a tyre is flat, you should slow down carefully.
It is not advisable to drive when you know you have a flat tyre, this can damage the wheel completely and be extremely costly.
It is always best to find an open and clear space as far off the main road as possible.
You also need to make sure the space you use is nice and level, DO NOT PULL OVER ON A STEEP SECTION.
If you pull over on a steep section then it is not safe, the car could roll and will not be stable. This is asking for trouble and you might end up needing an emergency towing service.
Once you have found a good clearing with a nice level ground, pull over, turn the car off and turn on your hazard lights.
You may need to leave the keys in the car and have the key turned 1 dial over so your hazard lights will be activated.
Finally make sure you put your parking brake on, now you may exit the vehicle.
Step 2 - Get the tools
Now you will find everything you need stored away in your boot, usually you can lift up the carpet to reveal your spare tyre and the tools required.
You should have:
1 spare tyre - Make sure your spare tyre is not completely flat.
1 wrench - Used to loosen and tighten the nuts on the wheel to remove the tyre.
1 jack - Used to lift the flat tyre area about 5 - 10cm off the ground.
Step 3 - Position the jack
First thing to do is position the jack under your vehicle near the wheel that is to be worked on.
There are a few spots to position the jack, make sure the jack comes in contact with something solid like the frame. If you do not position the jack so it is pushing up against a solid section such as the frame, you could damage the car. This might mean you will need an emergency towing service.
Also, you want the wingnut of the jack facing outward so you can crack the jack up and down.
Before you start cranking the jack, loosen the nuts with the wrench. It is easier to loosen the nuts while the tyre is still touching the ground. Do not try to remove the tire yet, just loosen the nuts.
You may need to remove the hubcap first.
Now crank the jack and get the tire roughly 10cm off the ground.
Take the nuts off, store them somewhere safe.
Now remove the flat tyre.
Step 4 - Replace the flat tyre
Now you have removed the flat tyre, place it safely out of the way.
Put on your spare tire, lining up the bolts.
Then with the nuts you stored somewhere safe, tighten the spare tire with the wrench.
You may not be able to tighten it completely, just as long as the spare tyre is tight up in position and the nuts are as tight as you can get them for now. Once the tire is touching the ground you can give the nuts another tighten to make sure they are good.
Step 5 - Lower the jack
Now the spare tyre is on, make sure everything is clear before you lower the jack.
Carefully and very slowly start lowering the jack until you are able to slide the jack out.
I have read stories where the jack was dropped too fast, this ended up causing damage to the underside of the car. They needed an emergency towing service because the car was leaking oil.
Now you have removed the jack slowly and the car is back touching the ground, get your wrench.
Give the nuts another tighten, making sure they are all tight.
Now you have changed your tyre, go ahead and put everything back in the boot, the flat tyre and the tools.
Step 6 - Final Check
Before you get excited that you just changed your tire successfully, we must do a quick check over before driving off.
This just makes sure everything looks good and we don't drive off with a loose wheel.
Have a look at the wheel, does it look like it is nice and straight?
Have a quick look over all your tyres, making sure everything looks normal.
If everything looks great then you are good to go.
As you drive off, do not speed off just in case something is not right.
Drive off slowly and smoothly and make sure everything feels normal.
Congratulations, you just changed your tyre and you are free to go!
Good luck and happy driving.
If you are unable to complete a tyre change for whatever reason, then it is highly recommended to call a tow truck service. A tow truck service will be able to safely collect you and your vehicle and take you to a destination of your choice.