How to Change a Car Tyre: A Beginner's Guide

Charlotte Phillips, 1 year ago

4 min read

  • How to
  • Tyres
Changing tyre

FixMyCar explains the step-by-step process of changing a tyre.

Whether you’ve found yourself with a tyre blowout on the roadside or you simply want to get more clued up, being able to change a tyre is a useful thing to know.

Contents:

Safety Guidelines

Can I repair the damaged tyre or do I need to replace it?

What tools do I need to change a tyre?

How to change a tyre

How long does it take to change a tyre?

How to dispose of old tyres

Run-flat tyres


Safety guidelines

There are some safety guidelines to consider before you begin:

  • Only try to change a tyre if you have the correct tools.

  • Ensure you are safe from moving traffic and set up a warning triangle around 45-50 metres behind your vehicle to warn other drivers of your whereabouts.

  • Only attempt to change your tyre if you feel confident you can do it correctly.

  • Make sure there are no passengers inside the vehicle or any heavy luggage when changing the tyre.

If you’ve taken all these safety guidelines into account, you're ready to change your tyre.


Can I repair the damaged tyre or do I need to replace it?

While repairing your punctured tyre using a tyre repair kit is possible, this shouldn't be considered a permanent fix. Most tyre manufacturers recommend tyre repair kits as a temporary measure to help get your car to the nearest garage for a replacement, just like a spare tyre.

Read this guide to find out whether you should carry a spare tyre and how to use one safely.


What tools do I need to change a tyre?

It’s extremely important that you have the correct tools to complete the tyre repair before you begin.

You will need:

1. Fully-inflated spare tyre

2. Wheel brace with the correct socket

Wheel brace

3. Locking wheel nut key

Locking wheel nut key

4. Jack

Jack

5. High visibility jacket

6. Warning triangle

Note: Most vehicles should come with a locking wheel nut key as standard. It can usually be found in either the glove box or the boot's storage panels.

You will need to source the other items yourself, as most cars will not come with them.


How to change a tyre

Follow these steps to change a tyre.

Step one: Loosen the wheel nuts

To do this, you may have to remove the wheel bolt covers first. Untighten the bolts by turning the wrench anti-clockwise, but don’t remove them entirely just yet.

Step two: Find the vehicle's jacking point

The jack point can usually be found on each side between the front wheels and in front of the back wheels. This information can also be found in your handbook if you're uncertain.

Step three: Place the jack against the jacking point and manoeuvre it into the correct position

Placing a plank of wood under the jack can help to keep it sturdy.

Step four: Start raising the height

Do this until the flat tyre is about 10-15cm off the ground.

Lifting a car using a jack.

Step five: Fully remove the wheel bolts by hand

Once removed, lift the wheel off the hub by gently pulling it towards you, and place the damaged tyre to one side.

Step six: Align your new fully-inflated tyre with the hub

Be careful, as this tyre will be substantially heavier than your spare wheel.

Step seven: Insert all of the wheel bolts one-by-one

Gently tighten the bolts with the wheel brace.

A man changing a car tyre

Step eight: Lower the car

Use the jack to lower the car slightly until the tyre touches the ground again, then remove the jack.

Step nine: Give the bolts a final tighten

Then, repack the jack and the flat tyre into the boot.

Never attempt to change a tyre if you’re not confident in your ability to do so safely and correctly. Most of the time, you will find that breakdown cover policies include coverage for punctures. Contact your breakdown cover provider if you have one for more information.


How long does it take to change a tyre?

Changing a tyre should take around 30 minutes, assuming you have the right equipment. As with anything, this time may vary slightly depending on your experience level.


How to dispose of old tyres

Old tyres are bad for the environment, so it's important to dispose of them correctly.

Recycling centres

Recycling centres are arguably the best and most environmentally-friendly place to take your old car tyres. Most recycling centres will have a scheme where you can drop off your tyres. Check your local centre’s guidelines to be sure.

Garages

Some garages allow customers to recycle their old tyres with them when purchasing new ones.

Tyre repair kits

If you have a puncture and no breakdown cover, an emergency tyre repair kit could help you get your car from the roadside into the garage.

Note: Not all tyre punctures are suitable for repair with a tyre repair kit.

Do not try to use a tyre repair kit if:

  • The puncture is larger than 4mm.

  • The puncture is outside the main tread area.

  • The tyre has been low or deflated for a long period of time.

How to use a tyre repair kit

  • Ensure your vehicle is parked in a safe space, away from moving traffic.

  • Once you’ve located the puncture, drive forward a little bit. This will position the puncture at the top of the tyre, making it easier to access and repair.

  • Switch the engine off and apply the handbrake before turning your hazard lights on to alert other road users.

  • The repair kit will include a sealant bottle and a compressor. Insert the sealant into the tyre through the air valve (see image below) - your kit will outline exactly how to do this.

  • You’ll then need to connect the compressor before plugging it into your car’s cigarette lighter in the cabin.

  • Find the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle in the owner’s manual, then turn on the engine and switch on the compressor.

  • The compressor will then begin to show you the current pressure level of your tyre. Switch the compressor off and remove it once your tyre reaches the correct level.

  • Some tyre repair kits will require you to drive a short distance for the sealant to spread around the tyre - your kit will outline whether you need to do this.

  • Recheck the tyre. Once you’re satisfied with the repair, drive to a nearby garage to get the tyre replaced. Alternatively, you can book one of our mobile tyre replacement specialists to come to you or your place of work for greater ease.

Tyre repair kits should only be used in an emergency. Any tyre that’s been repaired using sealant will nearly always need replacing, regardless of how big or small the puncture was.

That said, it’s essential that if you have a tyre repair kit, you know exactly how to use it. Often, home tyre repairs aren’t completed to a high standard, which can cause more harm than good.

If you’re looking for a sealant to repair your tyres, check out our guide to the best car tyre sealant.

Run-flat tyres

Tyre blowouts can be a frightening experience - run-flat tyres are designed to prevent them. They have reinforced sidewalls that allow you to keep driving for a while after getting a puncture.

Though more expensive than regular tyres, run-flat tyres can help you drive up to 50 miles to a safe location. Learn more about how they work and their limitations.


Is your car suffering from a tyre puncture? We’ve got thousands of mechanics in our network who can assist you. Click the button below to get an instant quote today.

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