Before following our instructions on how to change a tire, make sure you are in a safe location and in a calm frame of mind, as a flat tire can be frightening.
First and foremost, never attempt to change a tire if your personal safety is at risk or if you lack the proper equipment.
The good news is that a spare wheel is the most dependable way to get back on the road if you are in a safe location, equipped with the proper tools, and feel confidence in your ability to change the wheel.
Your vehicle will come with either a space-saving spare or a full-size spare. Nonetheless, the procedure for changing a wheel is identical.
If there is no spare wheel but simply a tyre repair kit, please visit our article on tyre repair.
What equipment do you need?
In addition to the spare wheel, the following are required:
- Wrench – to remove the wheel lug nuts
- Jack – for lifting the vehicle off the ground Wheel chock – to prevent the vehicle from rolling when it has been jacked up (bricks can be used instead)
- Wheel nut key – if locking wheel nuts are installed
- Car owner’s manual – for reference (e.g. on jacking points)
Additionally, it may be useful to carry:
- Torch – for nighttime employment (check batteries regularly)
- Gloves, as the wheels will be soiled
- Reflective jacket to increase visibility
- Warning triangle – to inform other vehicles of an impediment or hazard
- As a level platform to support the jack, a short plank of wood.
- Tire pressure gauge — for verifying that a brand-new tire is properly inflated
How to change a tyre
Wheel replacement is a valuable life skill. Here’s our 10-step guide:
1. Get the car ready
- Apply the handbrake and exit the vehicle with all occupants.
- Take the spare wheel and required tools from the trunk.
2. Install the wheel chocks
- Chocks prevent the vehicle from rolling while it is on a jack.
- Place a chock on the wheel opposite the one with the puncture.
- For instance, if your left-front tire is flat, place a wheel chock behind the right-rear wheel.
- If the left-rear tire of your vehicle is flat, you must place a chock in front of the right-front tire.
- If you have chocks for both the front and rear wheels, use them.
- If you do not have a specialized chock, bricks or large rocks will suffice.
3. Remove the wheel studs
- This is easier and safer to perform with the vehicle on the ground.
- It may be necessary to remove a plastic wheel trim first.
- Turn the wheel wrench counterclockwise and loosen the nuts until they can be turned manually (be warned – they may be tough to loosen).
- However, do not yet eliminate them entirely.
4. Jack up the vehicle
- Consult your owner’s manual to determine the location of your vehicle’s jacking points.
- Aim to put the jack alongside the vehicle, near to the flat tire.
- A tiny wood plank placed beneath the jack will aid in its stability.
- Raise the vehicle till the flat tire is 10 to 15 centimeters off the ground.
5. Eliminate the flat tire
- Fully loosen and remove the wheel nuts, and then pull the tyre toward you until it is free.
- Place it on the ground flat.
6. Install the spare wheel.
- Warning: it is heavy to raise it off the ground to do this. Slide the spare wheel onto the protruding hub bolts or in line with the wheel nut slots.
- Replace the wheel lug nuts and hand-tighten them.
7. Lower the vehicle and tighten the fasteners.
- Use the jack to gently lower the vehicle until the spare tire is in contact with the ground.
- Now, fully tighten the wheel lug nuts with the wrench.
8. Completely lower the vehicle
- Bring the vehicle to the ground and remove the jack.
- Consider performing a final tightness check on the wheel nuts.
- Put the spare tire and the jack in the trunk together with the rest of your equipment.
- If your vehicle is equipped with a space saver, the old wheel will take up extra space in the trunk.
9. Verify the pressure of the spare tire
- If available, use a tire pressure gauge to verify that the spare tire is properly inflated.
- Alternately, cautiously drive to a gas station and use the gauge there.
- If necessary, inflate the tire to the recommended pressure, as specified in the owner’s manual.
10. Bring your flat tire for repair
- Visit a garage or tyre shop immediately and give them the wheel with the puncture.
- They will recommend whether it should be repaired or replaced.
- Don’t use a space-saver spare wheel for any longer than strictly necessary; they’re only intended for use in an emergency.
- If the tire cannot be repaired and you must replace it, you may find our guide to purchasing tires useful.