Most of our articles here are geared toward people who have an active interest in cars. But what if you’re not so experienced with using a car? Or what if you hate the darn things? We’ll put our differences aside for a moment here. Having a flat tyre and not knowing how to change one can be extremely stressful, but don’t start panicking! Here’s the simplest possible guide to replacing your tyres.
Image from Flickr
The first thing you have to do is to secure the vehicle. You should never attempt changing a tyre on an incline, and find the flattest place possible. This might mean having to drive for a while on a flat tyre. This can be very bad for the car, but you should put your safety before anything else. If it’s not too far, changing your tyres at home might be the best environment for it. You’ll need to use some kind of chocks to make sure the car doesn’t start rolling when it’s raised. You probably don’t have purpose-made chocks lying around your garage, but that’s fine! Lumps of wood, rocks or bricks will do fine. You just need to ensure they’re wedged firmly under the wheels.
Next, pry off the wheel cover with a flat-head screwdriver, just like you would with a can of paint. Then, get your lug wrench and start loosening the tyre’s lug nuts. Do not take them off completely while the tyre is still on the ground. Just get them loose enough for you to remove them by hand when you’ve jacked the car up. Then, place your jack firmly under the edge of the car. The precise location you lock the jack depends on the model of the car. Consult the owner’s manual for the safest course of action. Whether you’re using a crank or a hydraulic pump, use smooth, even strokes. This will stop the vehicle being lifted too abruptly, and save you a little labour.
When your vehicle’s jacked up, you’re past the difficult part. After this, all you need to do is take off all the lug nuts and put them in a safe place. If you’re outside of your garage, you might want to use the wheel cover or hub as a little dish. Grasp the flat tyre with both hands, and slide it towards you off the bolts. Roll it along the floor and get it somewhere where you won’t trip over it. Then, lift the spare and start doing the whole process in reverse. Start off screwing the lug nuts in by hand, then tighten them fully with the wrench once you’ve lowered the vehicle to the ground. It may feel tight at first, but put your back into tightening them to make sure they won’t come off while you’re driving. The hub cap may feel a little stubborn at first. You just need to slot it in somewhat and beat it in with the palm of your hand.
With this knowledge, you’ll be a little bit closer to mastering your car. Whenever you’re forced to deal with these machines, be sure to keep your head and put safety first!