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Flat Tyre 101: Guide on How to Change a Flat Tire, When to Change & Emergency Tips

Grace · Feb 27, 2024 03:04 PM

Before you follow our instructions on how to change a flat tire, make sure you are in a safe location and in a composed state of mind because experiencing a tire blowout can be frightening. 


What to do when you have a flat tire?

First things first: if changing a tire puts your safety in danger or you don't have the right tools, never attempt to do it yourself. 

Fortunately, the most dependable way to get back on the road is with a spare tyre/ wheel if you are in a safe location, have the necessary tools, and feel competent enough to change the wheel. 

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Can you drive on a flat tire? 

It might be necessary to drive on a flat tire in order to reach safety in a remote area without cell phone service, but again, try to drive as little as possible on it in this situation, especially if the tire is completely flat.

An accident or worse, internal structural damage could result from driving on a flat tire. 

On the other hand, you should always plan ahead and make sure your car is always stocked with necessities in case of an emergency. 

Not only is it dangerous to drive on a flat tire, but the longer you drive on it, the more damage you could do to the wheel. For a brief while, the tire will offer some cushioning if it is still fully on the wheel rim, but there is a chance that the rubber will begin to break off.

Whether it's a full-size spare or a narrow space-saver included with your car, the process of changing a wheel, including "how to change a spare tire," remains the same.


Before you Start:

Locate a secure parking spot before you begin. Driving further and possibly causing damage to the wheel rim is preferable to stopping in a risky place, like on a narrow road. 

When you park, leave your hazard lights on. If you have a reflective jacket, put it on. 

You should also set up your warning triangle so that it can alert oncoming traffic. 

It is best to start by consulting the instructions in your car's manual.

What tools are required? 

Aside from the spare wheel, you'll need:

  • Wrench - to take off the wheel nuts

  • Jack - to raise the car off the ground

  • Wheel chock - to prevent the car from rolling when the car is jacked up (you can use bricks instead)

  • Wheel nut key - if the car has locking nuts

  • Car handbook for reference (e.g. g. on jacking points) 


It may also be helpful to have the following items on hand: 

  • Tire pressure gauge - for ensuring the new tire is fully inflated

  • Torch - for working at night (check batteries often)

  • Gloves - because the wheels will be dirty

  • Reflective jacket - for visibility

  • Warning triangle - for other drivers to notice a hazard or obstruction

  • Short plank of wood for stabilizing the jack



Flat Tyre 101: Guide on How to Change a Flat Tire, When to Change & Emergency Tips 01


How to change a flat tire? 

This is our 10-step process: 


1. Prepare the Car:

Put the handbrake on and get everyone out of the car to get it ready. Extract the required tools and spare wheel from the boot. 


2. Position the Wheel Chocks:

Arrange the wheel chocks. When the car is jacked up, the chocks keep it from rolling. A chock should be placed on the wheel that is not punctured. For example, place a chock behind the right rear wheel if the puncture is on your left front tire. 

You need a chock in front of the right front tire if your left rear tire is flat. 

If you have chocks, use them on both the front and rear wheels, as necessary. 

If you don't have a designated chock, bricks or big rocks can serve the same purpose.


3. Remove the wheel nuts:

Doing so while the car is on the ground is safer and easier. It might be necessary to remove the hubcap or wheel cover first. To loosen the nuts, turn the wheel wrench anti-clockwise until they can be turned by hand. However, be careful—they might be difficult to loosen. Don't remove them entirely just yet, though. 


4. Jack up the car: 

All cars have specific places for jacking up; check your handbook to find out where these are. Place the jack as close to the punctured wheel as possible on the car's side. It will remain more stable if you place a little piece of wood underneath the jack. Slowly lift the vehicle until the flat tyre is between 10 and 15 cm off the ground. 


5. Remove the flat tyre:

Take off the flat tyre by completely loosening and removing the wheel nuts, then slowly dragging the tire in your direction until it comes free. Lay it out on the ground level.


6. Install the spare tyre/ wheel: 

(Warning: it's heavy to lift it off the ground to do this) Slide the spare wheel onto the protruding hub bolts or in line with the wheel nut slots. Hand-tighten the wheel nuts after replacing them. 


7. Lower the car and tighten the bolts:

Use the jack to gently lower the car so that the spare tire is in contact with the ground, then tighten the bolts. 

Now tighten the wheel nuts all the way with the wrench. 


8. Completely lower the vehicle: 

Lower the vehicle to the ground and take off the jack. 

Consider performing a last tightening check on the wheel nuts. 

Place the other tire and the jack in the boot with the rest of your gear. 

(The old wheel will take up more room in the boot if your car has a space saver.) 


9. Check the spare tyre pressure:

Utilizing a tire pressure gauge, make sure the spare wheel is fully inflated if you have one. 

As an alternative, take a cautious drive to a gas station and use the gauge there. 

If required, inflate the tire to the recommended pressure as stated in the handbook. 


10. Bring your punctured tire for repair:

As soon as you get a chance, take your punctured wheel to a garage or tire shop. They'll offer advice on whether to replace it or fix it. 

Space-saver spare wheels are meant for emergencies only; don't use them for longer than absolutely necessary.

If you find yourself stranded with a flat tire, Google “flat tire service near me” for reliable flat tire service near you to ensure prompt assistance, getting you back on the road in no time.


When to change tyre? 

The idea that your tires need to be changed every certain number of miles or time is untrue! Tire wear is influenced by a variety of factors, such as driving habits, weather, and road conditions. Consequently, tread depth is the primary determinant of whether a tire needs to be replaced rather than a time- or distance-based scale. It's a good idea to replace all four tires at the same time when replacing your tires. This gets rid of any grip variations between the semi-worn and new tires, which could lead to less-than-ideal handling qualities and possibly an accident.

While it was previously stated that tires do not necessarily need to be replaced at specific intervals, there is an exception to this rule, particularly if you own an off-peak car (OPC) or a classic car.

Additionally, it is advised that you replace tires that are more than ten years old, even if they appear to be in excellent condition. Tiny, hardly noticeable cracks may have developed on the tread and sidewall of the tire as they become stiff and brittle, which could drastically reduce grip.

What should you do when you experience tire blowout?

If your tire suddenly blows out while you're driving, it's important to remain calm. Release the gas pedal, keep your eyes focused on the road ahead, and try to steer the vehicle in the right direction.

If possible, gradually slow down and pull over safely to assess the situation. It's not safe to change the tire on the highway yourself, so it's best to call for help from the emergency hotline or your insurance provider.

In rare cases where assistance is not immediately available, remember to use hazard lights and place a safety triangle behind your vehicle, and change the wheel quickly while prioritizing safety.

Dealing with tire blowouts can be unexpected, so taking advanced driving courses can help you be prepared to handle emergencies like this effectively.

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