How to Change a Tyre
Everyone has a flat tyre story – and it always seems to involve the most inconvenient timing, and the most inappropriate location! Knowing how to change a tyre yourself is an important lesson for any car owner, and may help you avoid further frustration and delays when the inevitable strikes.
This step-by-step guide walks you through how to change a tyre. Follow the 5 steps outlined below to get back on the road safely and efficiently.
Disclaimer: While simple car maintenance like changing a tyre is easy and safe, there are risks. We’ve made these instructions as risk free as possible, but if you’re not comfortable at any stage you should get help from a mechanic or roadside assistance.
Changing a Tyre Preparation
Before you change the tyre:
- Ensure your car is pulled over in a safe location. You should be safe from other traffic and on a level surface.
- Apply the handbrake and ensure the vehicle is in park, or in gear if it’s a manual.
- Turn on your hazard lights. If your car has a safety triangle, put it out behind the car.
- If you have a wheel-chock to stop the car rolling, put it behind the wheel diagonally opposite the flat tyre, in the direction of a potential roll. You can use a brick or large rock if there’s one handy.
- Check your spare tyre is accessible and inflated before you get started.
Here’s the gear you’ll need:
- Your spare tyre
- A car jack
- The wheel nut wrench
You’ll find all of these in your car – normally under a floor panel in the boot.
Once you’ve got all that, you’re ready to change your flat tyre.
Note: If you’re in a GoGet car and get a flat tyre, give us a call before you change it.
How to change a flat tyre in 5 steps:
1. Loosen the wheel nuts
Before raising the vehicle on the jack, you’ll need to loosen the wheel nuts of the wheel with the flat tyre. Do this while the car is still on the ground. You’ll need to ‘crack’ the nuts, which is exactly what it sounds like! You might need a decent amount of force to do this.
- If the wheel nuts are not exposed, you may need to remove the hub cap or wheel cover to find them.
2. Jack the vehicle up
Before raising the car with the jack, check the car’s manual to identify the correct jacking point. Jack the car up so the wheel with the flat tyre can spin freely, then jack it up a few more centimetres to allow enough room for a fully inflated replacement.
- If you’re unfamiliar with using the jack in your car, check your car manual for instruction.
3. Remove the flat tyre
Once the car’s up, remove the wheel nuts fully and put them aside. Remove the flat tyre and lay it underneath the car. This is a back-up safety measure, just in case the car drops off the jack, however unlikely that is. The best place to lay the old wheel is just behind the wheel that you’re swapping over (further under the car).
- Try not to put your arms or legs under the car while you’re working. You’ll need to have them under there a bit, but on the off chance the car drops from the jack you’ll want to be as clear as possible.
4. Secure the spare tyre
Place the spare tyre onto the axle in the same way the flat tyre came off. Make sure it’s lined up correctly and can be pushed back the whole way. Hand-tighten the wheel nuts until you can’t get them on any more with your fingers. Use the wrench to tighten them further – because the wheel is spinning free at this stage, you’ll need to hold the wheel still while you tighten.
- Tighten the wheel nuts in a star pattern, not around in a circle. Start by tightening the top most nut, then skip an nut and tighten the next one. Continue this pattern around the wheel until all of them are tight.
- You won’t need to fully tighten the nuts at this stage, you’ll do this once the car is off the jack. Just tighten them as much as you can easily.
5. Lower the car and fasten the wheel nuts
Lower the jack until the car is back on the ground (remember to remove the flat tyre from underneath the car). Now tighten the wheel nuts up fully. This will be easier now that the wheel can’t move freely.
- Check the nuts are still tight after you’ve driven 50km or so. Give them an extra pinch in any case, just to be safe.
Your tyre is changed! But you’re not done yet…
Put the flat tyre and your jack back in your vehicle. Be an extra safe driver for the rest of your trip, and once you’re home get the flat tyre replaced immediately. Getting a flat tyre while you have a flat spare is much worse than what you’ve just dealt with.
If you were driving a GoGet car when you got a flat tyre, make sure you give us a call before you change it (if you’ve already changed it, call us now!). We need to know when a tyre goes flat so we can get it replaced before another member books the car.
If you’re still not feeling too confident in changing your tyre, drive.com.au have done a great job with this video. Watch it all the way through and it’ll give you a visual feel for how the process works.
Important to Remember:
- If you’re using a ‘space saver’ spare tyre, this is a temporary solution only. They can’t be used to drive long distances, or at speeds over 80km per hour.
- Not all cars have spare tyres, especially new cars. They may have ‘run-flat’ tyres or a puncture repair kit. Read your car’s manual for details on how these work. They’re also typically speed limited to 80km per hour.
- When lifting heavy tyres, always remember to bend your knees and try to keep a straight back. You don’t want to injure yourself!
How to change a tyre: Worth the effort to learn
If you don’t know how to change a tyre, it’s really worth learning. As well as being the first step to learning basic DIY car maintenance, it’s a real time saver when you get a flat on the road. Changing a tyre takes less than 15 minutes once you know what you’re doing, but waiting for roadside assistance can take hours!
If you’d prefer to avoid the costs and hassles of car ownership altogether (including paying for petrol) GoGet car share is something you should learn about. Our members have access to thousands of vehicles conveniently parked around your city, which they book by the hour or the day!
Joining GoGet lets you access hatchbacks, vans, SUVs, and convertibles near you, accessible any time with a smart card. It’s more convenient and often cheaper than car rental, and regularly cheaper than owning a car altogether! Do yourself a favour and learn more about GoGet.