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Don’t be deflated! Easy steps to change a tyre
When you are out and about, nothing is as deflating as a flat tyre. Here’s how to deal with one if it happens to you, and how to help prevent one in the first place:
How to change a tyre
- Pull off the road into as safe a position as possible. Aim for flat ground. Engage the parking brake and put the transmission in Park in an automatic, or in gear in a manual. Chock (obstruct) the wheel that is diagonally opposite the flat, if possible.
- Switch the hazard warning lights on and place an emergency triangle an appropriate distance away. This will warn approaching drivers of your stationary vehicle.
- Locate your spare tyre, wheel brace and jack. The tyre should be in the load space, but can be underneath on some SUVs with a bolt through the floor holding it in place. The jack is usually stored in the load space near the tyre. Check your owner’s manual though; Toyota’s engineers decided to hide the jack under the front seats in the Yaris, for instance.
- Remove the hub cap (if any) and loosen, but do not remove, the wheel nuts. Turn them counterclockwise to achieve this. You may need to apply pressure to the wheel brace with your foot, which may cause the car to rock – this is the reason to do this before jacking the car up.
- Locate the jacking point – usually under the sill immediately behind the front wheels or in front of the rear wheels. Again, check your owner’s manual – and jack the car up until the bottom of the tyre is completely off the ground.
- Remove the wheel nuts and lift the wheel away. Be aware that it is likely to be heavier than you imagine after seeing Formula 1 mechanics lift them single-handed.
- Locate the spare wheel on the wheel studs and replace the nuts – the tapered ends go towards the wheel – and tighten with the wheel brace, being careful not to rock the vehicle.
- Lower the jack, and tighten the wheel nuts as much as possible. Get the old tyre repaired as soon as possible.
Things you need to know
- Some vehicles are equipped with ‘space-saver’ spare tyres, which are lighter, narrower items designed for short distances at reduced speeds. They have a maximum speed warning on the sidewall.
- More common in European vehicles are ‘run-flat’ tyres, which are made with stiffer sidewalls that can be used even when deflated. Usually these vehicles are fitted with tyre pressure monitoring systems and a warning light on the dash.
- In urban driving the chances of getting a puncture are minimal. Flat tyres are more likely to be the result of leaking valves. Check tyre pressures – including the spare – regularly. Replace the valve-cap after doing so; its function is to keep dirt out of the valve, which helps prevent leaks. Underinflated tyres are also more prone to punctures.
- Stamford Tyres recommends ‘rotating’ the tyres – swapping the front with the rear – every 10,000km. The front tyres are more prone to wear, so rotating the tyres will make a set last longer. Proper wheel alignment is important to minimize tyre wear too.
For more motoring warnings and tips, look out for regular posts in this series.