How To Change a Car Wheel

No matter how much care you take, it's inevitable that at some point during your driving career, you will experience a puncture. In some cases, you will still be able to drive your vehicle to the nearest tyre facility for repair or replacement, but what about those occasions when the tyre is simply too flat to continue? 

At times like these, knowing how to change a tyre can be the difference between continuing your journey, or waiting hours for a call-out vehicle to come and assist you.

Most people don't even think about what is required in changing a wheel until the worst actually happens, but spending a few minutes on discovering what to do in an emergency could save you time and money one day. Read our handy guide on changing a wheel, and make sure that you know what to do if it ever happens to you.

Some important points to remember:

  • Never attempt to change a wheel if you are at the side of a busy road, or parked on a motorway hard shoulder. In these instances, it's better to call for assistance than risk being hit by fast-moving vehicles. Passengers should leave the vehicle and wait in a safe place away from the roadside.
  • Park on hard, level ground to provide the support needed for the jack to raise the car safely. Never go underneath any part of a vehicle that is raised on a jack. Only use the established jack points under your vehicle for the jack. These are listed in your vehicle's handbook. Using unspecified points could cause damage to your car, and creates the risk of collapse.

How to change the wheel

  • Before changing the wheel, make sure that your car is in first or reverse gear, or park if it is an automatic, with the handbrake on and the ignition off. Put a large rock or stone in front of and behind the opposite wheel, to further reduce the chance of the vehicle moving.
  • Get the spare tyre from the boot, and put it close at hand, along with your car handbook, wheel wrench and any locking wheel nut keys. Loosen the wheel nuts on the damaged wheel, but don't remove them.
  • Locate the appropriate jacking point, and fit the jack. Wind the mechanism until the damaged wheel is around four inches off the ground.
  • Now remove the wheel nuts and carefully remove the wheel. Store it safely out of the way in the boot of your car.
  • Place the new wheel in position and fasten the wheel nuts, but don't tighten them too much at this stage. Lower the jack, and remove it from under the vehicle. Now you can tighten up the wheel nuts as far as they will go. 
  • Gather up all your tools, not forgetting your locking wheel nuts, and store them safely in your car.
  • You are now free to continue on your journey. However, you should drive with extreme caution, as your spare tyre is unlikely to be of a sufficiently high specification to perform as well as your existing wheels. As soon as possible, get your car to a garage to have the tyre replaced.

About the author

David Sholicar

David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and ...

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