The proper way to replace a flat tyre with a spare is one of those life skills that is embarrassing to own up to being ignorant of, but if you have never been shown how to do it in a real situation (or if you have simply forgotten) then here is a simple check-list to help spare your blushes:
- First of all, pull as far away from the main flow of traffic as possible. You want to avoid having to put the spare wheel on while cars zoom past inches away from you, for obvious reasons. Blowing a tyre while travelling at speed can be an unsettling (and potentially very dangerous) experience, so do your best to stay calm if it’s a sudden puncture.
- Park up, put the hazards and handbrake on, and take care not to endanger yourself when leaving the car. You will probably get dirty so grab some gloves if you’ve got them.
- Remove the spare wheel and any tools you need from the boot and place them nearby, so that the car is raised up off the ground for the shortest amount of time possible when doing the job.
- Remove any hubcaps or trim from the punctured wheel.
- You may want to double check the manual to see where on the chassis the jack should be placed – elevating the vehicle when the jack is improperly placed could cause damage to the bodywork. Make sure it is near to the wheel you are changing and rotate the jack until the tire is just barely touching the ground.
- Unscrew the nuts that hold the wheel in place, leaving the top one until last. You may need to use your foot and legs to keep it still while you do this, and some of the nuts might be tough to remove so try to maintain a good balanced body position.
- Jack the car up a little higher in order to put the wheel on, and simply reverse the removal procedure in order to secure the nuts. Take care to tighten them as much as you can, and don’t add any extra oil or grease.
- Lower the jack fully, and store the punctured tyre in the boot.
- Check the replacement wheel for instructions regarding special restrictions on speed etc. Most slimline spare wheels are only temporary replacements and a real tyre should be properly re-fitted by a mechanic as soon as possible.
You may find it useful to practice this procedure at home during daylight so that you are familiar with needing to put it into practice on the roads. If you have any doubts about the safety of doing it yourself then call your breakdown cover hotline to ask for assistance. Many insurers offer roadside support as part of their policy, so look out for these deals when comparing motor insurance quotes. One such provider you may wish to look out for if you’re worried about being forced to deal with a breakdown alone is AXA Insurance.