Changing a tyre/wheel isn’t hard, but you do need to be careful…
If you’re unlucky enough to get a flat tyre you need to think quickly about what you’re going to do.
Will you change it? Will you call for roadside assistance?
Whatever you do, you need to make sure that you pull into a safe location.
This is particularly the case if you’re the type of driver who is happy to get the jack out and do it yourself.
Road safety organisation, IAM RoadSmart recommends you follow these steps when changing a flat…
Select a safe and secure area – changing a wheel with traffic centimetres away from you is not safe.
If you have to stop on a road, place your warning triangle (if you have one) at least 45 metres behind your vehicle.
Activate your hazard warning lights to warn other traffic.
Raising the bonnet or hatchback will help other traffic realise you have an issue.
If you have a passenger get then to act as spotter and warn you of approaching traffic.
A level hard standing will be best, soft ground will not allow the jack to be used correctly.
Be mindful too that when you raise the vehicle off the ground, a steep angle could see the jack, or vehicle slip, so be extra careful on anything but hard and level ground.
Locate the jack and wheel brace, it may help if you do this during your weekly vehicle checks so you know where it is and how to release it.
This is also a good time to locate the jacking points and find out how the jack works.
Often the kit will have a wheel chock; use this on the other axle of the vehicle to assist keep it still.
Loosen the wheel nuts slightly before you start jacking the car up, the vehicle will be unstable after you raise it and you will not be able to get as much leverage.
Remember one of the nuts may have a lock function and will require the unique key.
When jacking the vehicle, you will need it to be raised high enough to fit the new tyre (this will be higher than required to remove the old).
If you have gloves, wear them when handling the old tyre, if it has punctured it is likely to have sharp steel protruding from it.
Tighten the wheel nuts until the wheel sits squarely on the hub and then lower the jack.
Further tighten the wheel nuts with the vehicle stable.
You may have to get the wheel nuts checked for tightness by a professional (when you repair or replace the punctured tyre).
If fitting a space saver spare, remember the restrictions that imposes i.e. no more than 80km/h and should be used to get you to a place of repair – not as a substitute for the correct tyre.
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