How to change a car tyre - A beginners guide

Charlotte Phillips, 4 months ago

4 min read

  • Advice
  • howto
Changing tyre

WhoCanFixMyCar discusses step by step how to change a car tyre as a beginner, including the tools you will need to carry out the job safely.

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 - whether you need it or not.

First things first, there’s some safety guidelines to consider before you begin:

  • Never try and change a tyre without the correct tools

  • Ensure you are in a safe place. Make sure you’re well away from moving traffic and set up a warning triangle around 45-50 metres behind your vehicle to warn other drivers of your whereabouts

  • Only try and attempt to change your tyre if you feel confident in doing so, having read our full guide

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

If you’re satisfied that you’ve met all of these guidelines - great! You’re ready to begin.

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

While it is possible to repair your punctured tyre using a tyre repair kit, this shouldn’t be considered as a permanent fix to the problem. Most tyre manufacturers would recommend tyre repair kits only to be used as a temporary measure to help get your car to the nearest garage for a tyre replacement.

If you’re unsure how to use a tyre repair kit, jump to the ‘how to use a tyre repair kit’ section at the bottom of the page. If a tyre replacement is needed, read on.

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


5. High visibility jacket

6. Warning triangle

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

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

How to change a tyre

  • First loosen up 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 make sure you don’t remove them fully just yet

  • Find the jacking point on the vehicle. The jack point can usually be found on each side between the front wheels and in front of the back wheels. This can also be found in your handbook if uncertain

  • 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

  • Begin raising the height until the flat tyre is about 10-15cm off the ground

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

  • Align your new fully inflated tyre onto the hub, before inserting all of the wheel bolts by hand one by one

  • Once all wheel bolts are in position, gently tighten them down with the wheel brace

  • Use the jack to lower the car slightly until the tyre touches the ground again

  • Fully lower the car to the ground and slowly remove the jack

  • Give the wheel bolts a final tighten, then carefully refit the jack and the flat tyre back into the boot

If you’re not confident in changing a tyre safely yourself, never attempt to do so.

Most of the time you will find that breakdown cover policies include coverage for punctures, as well as changing tyres. Find out if you’ve got a breakdown recovery policy with your car, and contact your provider to find out more.

How long does it take to change a tyre?

It should take roughly around 30 minutes to change a tyre, assuming that you have all of the correct equipment and follow the steps correctly. As with anything, this time may vary slightly depending on your level of experience.

How to dispose of old tyres

Old tyres are known to be notoriously bad for the environment, so once you’ve removed your punctured tyre, it will need to be disposed of in the correct way.

This is because the materials that make up a tyre - steel, rubber and textile - make them tricky to recycle. Despite this, many tyre manufacturers in recent years are taking greater accountability for sustainable tyre recycling.

Recycling centres

Recycling centres are arguably the best and most environmentally friendly place to take your old car tyres to.

Most recycling centres will have a scheme in place where you can drop off your tyres. Check your local centre’s recycling guidelines to be sure.


Many garages offer customers the ability to recycle their old tyres with them when purchasing new ones. If you need to purchase a new tyre soon, this may be the easiest option for you. If you use one of the tyre fitters from our network, they will be able to dispose of the old tyre for you.

Tyre repair kits

If you’ve found yourself with a tyre puncture and you don’t have any breakdown cover, you’ll need an emergency tyre repair kit ready in your boot in order to 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

Step 1: Ensure your vehicle is parked up in a safe space, away from moving traffic

Step 2: Once you’ve located the puncture, drive forward a little bit so that the puncture is at the top of the tyre

Step 3: Switch the engine off and apply the handbrake, before turning your hazard lights on to alert other road users

Step 4: 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.

Air valve

Step 5: You’ll then need to connect the compressor, before plugging it into your car’s cigarette lighter in the cabin

Step 6: Find out the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle in the owner’s manual, then turn on the engine and switch on the compressor

Step 7: 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.

Step 8: Some tyre repair kits will require you to drive a short distance in order for the sealant to spread around the tyre - your kit will outline whether you need to do this or not

Step 9: Check the tyre again. 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 the event of an emergency. Any tyre that’s been punctured and repaired using tyre sealant will nearly always need to be replaced, regardless of how big or small the puncture was. 

With that being said, it’s extremely important that if you choose to use a tyre repair kit that you know exactly how to use them. Oftentimes home tyre repairs aren’t completed to a high standard, which can ultimately cause more harm than good.

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

Run flat tyres

There’s also the possibility to purchase run flat tyres. Tyre punctures are a frightening experience when they occur, particularly when driving at night or in bad weather.

Run flat tyres are designed to help keep control over the steering and brakes in the event of a puncture, due to their design consisting of reinforced sidewalls which offer support to the vehicle. Though generally more expensive than regular tyres, run flat tyres can help you drive up to 50 miles to a safe location should you ever suffer a blowout.

Many garages can offer drivers run flat tyres, amongst standard tyres as part of their services.


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

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