Knowing how to change a tyre is a basic life skill everyone should have. You never know when you’ll need to do it for yourself, or for someone else in need. And our car maintenance research shows only just over half of Australians know how to change one. Eek!
Don’t wait till you’ve broken down on a holiday roadtrip and are in the outback with no phone signal to YouTube a video. In fact, we’d suggest practicing it at home when everything is safe and you’re under no pressure.
Once you’ve done it a few times, it becomes easy. Really.
What do you need to change a tyre?
Most cars have everything you need to change a tyre, unless you’ve already had someone change a tyre over to your boot spare before. Best check your boot to make sure, where you’ll normally find them under the mat or “floor.”
- Spare tyre
If you don’t have all the equipment, buy it the next time you drive your car and keep it in the back at all times.
How to change a tyre properly every time
Before you change a tyre, find a safe spot to pull over and put your hazard lights on so other cars can spot you better. Regardless, park as far away from the traffic as possible and remember to put your handbrake on.
Choose somewhere flat, because jacking your car up on a hill can be really difficult.
Getting the spare tyre off
- Your first step in learning how to change a tyre is to loosen the wheel nuts. Do this while the car is still flat on the ground. You’ll normally need to turn the spanner anti-clockwise to loosen them. But don’t take them all the way off yet, just loosen them.
- Get lifting. Use the jack to lift the car about 15cm off the ground. Each car will have a set point to position the jack. You can normally find this in the manual. But if you don’t have one, have a look behind the front wheels and in front of the back wheels – they’re the usual points. Your car may have indentations or arrows noting where the jack needs to go.
Here’s a useful video showing how to operate the jack:
Then you will need to:
- Take the wheel nuts off completely. Remember to store them together in a place that’s easy for you to remember so nothing goes missing.
- Pull the tyre off the car. It should come off fairly easily.
Changing to a new tyre
Ok, the damaged tyre is off. Now it’s time to get the spare tyre on your car, pop yourand drive off into the sunset proudly. You know, having successfully learnt how to change a tyre and all that.
Here are the last few steps:
- Put the spare wheel on the car. Line up wheel nut holes in the spare tyre with the nut posts left on the wheel base. Then push the wheel onto the base as far as it can go
- Put the wheel nuts back on, and tighten them by hand just securely that the wheel doesn’t fall off.
- Using the jack, lower the call until it’s flat again. Then, tighten the wheel nuts using the spanner. Don’t fully tighten one nut before moving on to the other. Instead, work in diagonal pairs tightening everything 50% the first time round and then going back to tighten them as much as you can.
Hey presto! You can now change a tyre! All that remains is to put everything back in your boot and give yourself a big pat on the back.
In case you’re struggling to visualise any of the steps, here’s a video for you to see the whole process in action.
Other things to know
You can try to avoid having to change a tyre in an emergency by taking good care of your wheels. Rotate them regularly so they wear evenly, learn why tyre pressure is so important and read tips from the experts on looking after your tyres properly.
If you know how to change a tyre but don’t feel confident doing it for some reason, roadside assist will come out and change it for you. If you’re a PD Insurance member, you can add roadside assistance to your insurance policy from only $89 per year (at the time of writing). Yet another reason why comprehensive car insurance is a good idea!
That’s not to mention our affordable premiums… ease of taking your policy out online… exclusive driver, multi-car and annual payment discounts… range of optional extras… and of course, incredible service. Why not take a few minutes to get a quote?