Checking your oil and keeping your screen wash topped up are just some of the checks you should be carrying out on your car on a regular basis, but keeping an eye on your tyre pressure is just as important! Worn, under inflated AND over inflated tyres can seriously affect the steering, braking and handling of your car (especially in wet and slippery conditions!).
If you read our last blog on how to check your tyre pressure, you’ll know it’s actually pretty easy to maintain your tyres even when one of them blows out! So let’s go through some easy step by step instructions on how to fix a flatty as part of our #minimechanics series!
Before we begin – you’re going to make sure your car is equipped with a few things first. Most cars already have these features as standard but if you’re not sure – it’s best to go check and then stock up on some of the below items if needed.
- Spare wheel with inflated tyre – First and foremost and obviously this is the first thing you should make sure you have in your car at all times
- Car handbook – Most people keep this in their glovebox, it’s always worth keeping it in a safe place.
- Jack – Something to prop your car up so you can change the wheel.
- Wheels wrench – This will be used to remove the wheel nuts and pry of the wheel cover.
- A torch – If you get a flat tyre at night, you’re going to need to see what you’re doing!
- Warning Triangle – Hazard lights are probably enough but this is just as an extra precaution
- Wheel chock (if necessary) – this is something to lodge against your other wheels to prevent the car from rolling backwards whilst you carry out the job – however we strongly advise never changing your tyre on a slope or hill as this makes it much more difficult.
- Scissors – To cut cable ties if your wheel trims are secured that way.
First of all make sure you get your vehicle and it’s passengers to a safe place before you attempt to change the tyre. DO NOT use the hard shoulder of motorway even if that means driving with a flat tyre to find a lay by or other safe place. Make sure the car is positioned on flat even ground.
- Switch off your engine – Prop your handbrake up and turn your hazard lights on.
- Make sure all passengers are out of the vehicle – You’re not going to want the car to be weighted down when you need to jack it up in a minute!
- Handbook and spare tyre – The spare tyre should be in your boot – make sure this is inflated and refer to your handbook for the correct lifting point with the jack.
- Remove wheel trim (if applicable) – Not all cars have them, but if yours does you’ll need something to cut the cable ties.
- Loosen the wheel nuts – Unscrew the nuts on the defected tyre using your wheel wrench or locking wheel-nut adapter.
- Jack the car – Once you have found the jacking point for your car, use the jack to elevate it. off the ground about 6 inches – just enough so you can get the wheel off!
- Remove the old wheel – Be careful as wheels aren’t as light as they may look! Take the old wheel off and place it to one side.
- Fit the spare – Make sure the wheel is the right way round, then secure it in place with the top wheel-nuts, then tighten them slightly and the remaining ones with your hand.
- Remove the jack – Lower the car using the jack until the wheel touches the road, then tighten the nuts fully using your wheel wrench and then put your wheel trim back on.
- You’re done! – Put the old tyre in your boot, pack your tools and get back on the road.
It’s worth keeping your old tyre and taking it to your nearest garage to get repaired as soon as possible if the damage isn’t too severe. They can then fix it up and swap it round again for your spare! Spare tyres aren’t designed to last very long, so if it’s a complete blowout you’ll need to get yourself a new tyre regardless.
It’s never a pleasant situation having to change a tyre… Especially if you are on your own and it’s the middle of the night! So if you have a spare half an hour one day its worth practising at least once so you’re prepared if it were to ever happen in real life…
You don’t want to end up with a flatty like daffy! 😉