Our roads are often littered with rusty nails and other sharp objects that may cause that dreaded puncture. And there’s never any guarantee that you’ll have someone with you who knows what they’re doing either. So in cases like these, you want to be the person equipped to change their own tyre, not the sad looking person stranded on the roadside holding out for a hero.
The truth is, anyone can (and should know how to) change a tyre and it’s simpler to do than most people think. In fact, all you need are a few trusty tools and a bit of elbow grease
Before you get your hands dirty, a little planning goes a long way. This is mainly for your safety, as well as a quick and easy tyre change.
First (and this seems like a no-brainer, but you never know) make sure there is no one inside your vehicle. Ensure that your handbrake is applied and that your vehicle is in park (if automatic) or in gear (if manual).
If possible, your vehicle should be parked a safe distance from traffic. Place your hazard triangle a few metres behind your vehicle.
Next, you will need access to the wheel nuts. Start by removing the hub cap or wheel cover (or centre cover, if you own a 4x4).
Grab your wheel wrench and start loosening the wheel nuts, but don’t remove them completely. Remember, loosen the wheel nuts the way mom taught you to open taps: “Lefty loosey, righty tighty!” Then, make a mental note to thank her for that essential life skill.
The wheel nuts might be a little too tight to loosen by hand, but never fear. Simply use your foot to carefully place a little weight onto the wheel wrench, and that should do the trick.
At this point, it needs to be said that whoever invented the jack should receive a medal.
Place your jack on flat firm ground, just underneath the jacking point of your vehicle. The jacking point is usually the part of the vehicle frame that runs between the front and back wheels, but you can double check your car manual to make sure.
Once in place, start to raise the vehicle. Raise it high enough so that you can remove the wheel nuts and the wheel by pulling it with both hands towards you.
Now that the old tyre has been removed, you can start fitting the spare.
If you are fitting a space saver, always remember that it is a temporary tyre. It is not designed for speeds over 80km/h or for long distances.
Once the spare tyre is in place and lined up, replace all the wheel nuts and use the jack to lower your car once more.
Now all that’s left to do is finish off and head back out on the road. Tighten the wheel nuts with the wheel wrench, and apply a little foot weight to it again for good measure.
Replace your hubcap or wheel cover, pack up and head to your nearest tyre dealership to have your damaged tyre repaired or replaced.
Take care out there – and always have a spare!