I remember when my high school best friend turned 18, she got a brand new Mini Cooper but she also received an important life lesson – ironically before she’d even got her driver’s license – her dad spent a Saturday afternoon with her teaching her how to change a tyre. He showed her how to change the tyre and then made her remove and replace the other three. At the time I made some ridiculously stupid joke about how I’d make sure I got insurance with road side support (I’m not proud to admit that in high school I may have been that pathetically isolated and spoilt). Now? I feel like a fool.
I don’t know how to change a tyre
And I realised I didn’t know how to change a tyre when a press release dropped in my inbox recently. I was suddenly so embarrassed. Which is why, for the first time ever on this blog, I’m going to copy past parts of a press release for you. Because it is actually rather useful and I do think of value. I actually drive a Ford and I like this direction of content they’re taking which empowers all car owners, regardless of brand.
Here’s how to change a tyre in 10 steps
I’ve included the written steps below but there is also a useful video:
- Pull over as soon as it is safe to do so, preferably on level ground.
- Turn on the hazard lights, use the parking brake, switch off the engine, and place the reflective triangle on the road 45m behind your vehicle.
- Take out the spare tyre, jack, and wrench. In most passenger vehicles, spare tyres are located under the floor of your boot, but on SUVs and 4x4s, spares can also be rear, side, roof, or underbody mounted.
- Remove the hubcap of the tyre that needs to be replaced, and loosen the lug nuts with the wrench, turning counter-clockwise. Use your body weight on the wrench if you need to.
- Place the jack beneath your vehicle next to the tyre, and use the jack to raise your vehicle until the tyre is about 15cm above the ground, then remove the loosened nuts by hand.
- Carefully pull the flat tyre towards you until it is off the bolts. Set it down on its side so it doesn’t roll away.
- Mount the spare tyre on the exposed bolts and replace the nuts, tightening them by hand.
- Use the jack to lower your vehicle until the tyre is resting on the ground, and tighten the nuts with the wrench as much as you can.
- Lower the vehicle completely to the ground, and remove the jack.
- Stow your flat tyre, jack, and wrench, and continue your journey.
A few other things to consider
I’m really bad at checking tyre pressure when I full up with petrol. Something I’m now rethinking. The press release I got these steps from also included some useful information around tyre care. Again, I’m sharing because I feel like there is a benefit here to many of us.
These are the things to keep in mind when choosing or looking after your tyres:
When your tyre and wheel assemblies aren’t balanced, you’ll get an uncomfortable ride, the steering wheel will vibrate, and you could do damage to your tyres and your suspension system. If you have a bumpy ride or you suspect that something may be wrong with your suspension, make sure to have your technician check if your wheels are balanced.
Tyre rotation usually involves moving tyres front to back, and not left to right, as most tyres are directional. To ensure your tyres wear evenly and last longer, have them rotated by a tyre expert at regular intervals as indicated by the vehicle or tyre manufacturer. Hard impact such as hitting a pothole can cause misalignment, which causes uneven tyre wear.
You should have your tyres, including your spare wheel, checked each time you stop at the filling station, or at least once a week, and preferably first thing in the morning when your tyres are cold. The optimum inflation pressure can be found on a sticker, usually located inside the driver’s door. Don’t exceed the optimum pressure, because over-inflating tyres reduces their performance in terms of both traction and lifespan. Tyres with low pressure wear more quickly, degrade your vehicle’s handling, lower your vehicle’s load-carrying ability, and increase fuel consumption.
Most tyres have a tread depth indicator, and once the tyre is worn to that point, it needs to be replaced. To a degree, the tread on your tyres increases their grip on the road, deflects water, and reduces slippage. The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) recommends a minimum tread depth of 2mm.
I realise some of this stuff is obvious to many, but for me it was a reminder that I actually need to pay attention to my tyres. Also guarantee if I ever have a flat I’ll using this post as my step by step guide to get me through my first tyre change!