Click4Warranty's Car Maintenance Guide Part 2 - Changing a Tyre

It’s your worst nightmare, if you are not car wise. Most breakdown or car warranty packages cover the simplest of problems, this may include changing a tyre, but if you are up to it, then here’s a run down of what you should do.

The first thing you need to remember is to stay calm and make sure it’s safe for you to change the tyre.

Find somewhere suitable for you to stop, safely & where you will not endanger yourself, your passengers or any other drivers. (Needless to say, if you’re on the motorway, call someone out. It is far safer. If it is not possible to get out of the road or there is no safe hard shoulder or lay-by, then put your hazards on and move a safe distance away from the car while you wait for assistance.)

The spare wheel

Find the spare wheel, wheel wrench and car jack. The majority of newer cars often have these in a special compartment under the floor of the boot or in the spare wheel. After making sure the handbrake is on, put the car into first gear (manual) or park (automatic). Figure out where your jacking point is this should be pointed out in your vehicle manual. Use the jack to lift the car up just above the ground.

When removing the wheelnuts you might find it easier to take them off in opposing pairs to lessen the tension. Once they are all out you can take the wheel off, sometimes a further knock will help, but please ensure that you don't move the jack. This could cause a serious injury to you & damage your car further.

Fit the spare wheel onto the hub, making sure the holes are lined up and put the nuts back in the same way you took them off. Once you've got the wheel back on, lower the jack and tighten off the wheelnuts. Once you have changed the tyre, go to a garage ASAP and get the damaged tyre fixed or replaced & have the garage check your fitting of the tyre. 
Unfortunately, blow outs can happen when you are driving, often at high speed. Try to remember the following if it happens to you:
  • • Keep your eyes firmly on the road and both hands on the steering wheel.
  • • Try to keep the steering wheel in a steady, only make slight movements.
  • • Turn on your hazard lights to warn others that you are having problems.
  • • If you are on the motorway in any lane other than the inside then don't do this straight away as it may cause impatient people to undercut you and increase the chances of an accident.
Try to find somewhere you can bring the vehicle to a safe stand still, away from the main traffic. If you are on a motorway this will be the hard shoulder, or you may need to just pull up in a lay-by or at the side of the road, avoiding any bends. Don't apply the brake but do take your foot off the accelerator and try to coast - slowing down gently (this is because if you have a faulty tyre, braking heavily can make your car swerve uncontrollably and cause a collision).

As your car slows down, drive into the safe spot, try not to rush, keep watching the traffic around you. If you have your hazards on then hopefully other road users will realise you have a problem and will be helpful & sympathetic. Park up and get yourself and your passengers out of the car, taking care that you do not put yourself or them in danger from passing cars. Move a safe distance away from the car. Call for help & assistance.