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what to do if you get caught out with a flat tyre

an unexpected puncture can leave you as deflated as your tyre looks. Our short and handy guide to changing a tyre will have you back on the road in no time.

December 23rd 2017 info

To be able to change your own tyre you’ll first need to check that you have a spare on board.

While cars used to have a spare wheel in the boot as standard, you will find that newer cars often come without a spare, which can be a nightmare to discover when you’re stranded with a flat. It’s a good idea to check if you have a spare when purchasing a new car.

Spare wheel or not, when a puncture occurs, get into a safe area, then either call your breakdown service to replace it for you, or be prepared to get your hands dirty.

You’ll need a jack, a long-handled socket to remove the wheel nuts and, if your wheels are covered with a hubcap, a flat head screwdriver. It’s also always a good idea to keep the owner’s manual permanently in the glove compartment for reference.

Once you’re all set, here’s ten steps you need to follow:

  1. Make sure you have stopped in a safe place, and that your hazard lights are on, especially at night.
  2. Locate your spare wheel – usually found in the boot, under the floor or under the car itself.
  3. If you need to remove the hubcap this can be done by using a flathead screwdriver. You may need to pry it in a couple of places to fully remove it.
  4. Next, you’ll want to loosen the wheel nuts. Using that long socket-type spanner, fit it over the wheel nut snuggly, then apply pressure to turn the nut counter-clockwise. A top way to help remember which way to turn the spanner is ‘righty tighty, lefty loosey’. You don’t want to fully remove the lug nuts at this point, just loosen them.
  5. As different car models have different areas from which you can jack the car up from, make sure you consult the owner’s manual. Once you’ve located the points, jack the car up to about six inches off the ground.
  6. By hand, continue to loosen the wheel nuts and remove them, keeping them in a safe place. Then remove the flat tyre.
  7. Lift the spare tyre and locate it into place with each hole.
  8. While the car is still on the jack, place the wheel nuts back onto the bolts and tighten them by hand, one by one. Once you’ve done this, use the jack to lower the car to the ground.
  9. Only when the car is safely back on the ground should you use the spanner to tighten the nuts as securely as possible
  10. You’re now ready to continue your journey!

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