Cars are big, complicated beasts, and many of us have no idea how to fix them when something goes wrong.
Fortunately, breakdown services are on hand to get us out of trouble when there’s a big issue, but there are a few basic skills anyone can learn that can save you time and money at the roadside.
Changing your wheel is one of those things. So, if you get a puncture and have a spare tyre in the boot, you could be back on the road in minutes with some basic, inexpensive tools. Here’s what you need to do…
Find a safe place to stop
This might seem obvious, but making sure you’re in a safe position to work on the car is important. For example, you’ll be beside the car, so don’t stop somewhere that forces you to work on the car in a live carriageway.
You should also find somewhere solid and level, place a warning triangle behind the car, and wear a high-visibility jacket.
Get your equipment out of the boot
Once you’re in position, take the spare wheel out of the boot, along with the jack and wheel brace. You should note that many modern cars do not have a spare wheel and instead give you a foam that plugs the gap in the tyre if it’s not too big, so this is worth checking.
If you don’t have the right tools for the job, you should head down to your local car parts store when the car’s in perfect working order. They’re not very expensive and can be placed under the boot floor until you need them. Of course, it’s worth doing this well ahead of time so you’re not left stranded.
You might also need locking wheel nuts. There might be a nut on each wheel that’s specific to your car which requires a special adapter to remove it. It’s a security feature, so make sure you have this in the car at all times.
Loosen the wheel nuts
With the car still on the ground, place the wheel brace over the nuts and loosen each one without removing them. You might need to put your foot on the brace and use your body weight to loosen them.
Raise the car using the jack
Check your owner’s manual to find where the jack point is – this is a sturdy spot on the chassis that can take the weight of the car. Then use the jack to lift the car until the wheel is just off the ground.
Remove the wheel nuts
Once the wheel is clear of the ground and can spin freely. Grab the wheel brace again, this time fully removing each wheel nut. Make sure you’re careful not to drop any as they can roll away and be lost quite easily.
Swap the wheels
With the wheel nuts removed, carefully take the wheel with the flat tyre off the car and roll it safely to one side. Then grab your spare wheel and place it beside the car, lining the holes up with the bolts, before lifting it onto the car.
Tighten the wheel nuts
Use the wheel brace to tighten each of the wheel nuts, securing the wheel in position. You can then lower the jack to put the car back on the ground, before returning to the wheel nuts to fully tighten them. Do this, and you’re good to go!