Car tyres can get punctured anytime, anywhere. We usually leave the changing of a flat tyre to a professional. But as a driver, you should be equipped to repair a flat tyre if you ever need to. This knowledge will come handy if you ever get stranded where there is no mechanic or tyre shop available.
A puncture is inevitable, and can even occur in car tyres or bike tyres from the best tyre brand. So let's understand how you can change a flat tyre of your vehicle on your own. This process usually takes 20-30 minutes.
→ Pull over to safety the moment you notice that you have a punctured tyre.
- However, don't panic. Avoid sudden braking or turning.
- Reduce your speed gradually, but watch out for any motorists coming your way from behind.
- Turn your indicator on and pull over to the side of the road or service lane which has enough space to accommodate you without blocking the traffic.
- Ensure that this spot is flat so that there is no scope of rolling back or forth when you park your car.
- Don't go too far to park on a side. Travelling on flat tyres will lead to more punctures and cause potential damage to the rim.
- Switch on the hazard lights to make yourself visible to other vehicles.
→ Vacate the car and apply the parking brake to prevent your vehicle from rolling. You can also use wood blocks or stones lying around.
- Ensure that everyone is out of the car when you get down to change the flat tyre. Always remember - replace a flat tyre yourself only when absolutely necessary.
→ Locate the tools required for changing the tyre. You will need a spare tyre, jackscrew, and a wheel spanner.
- Spare wheels are generally located in the boot under the floor and need to be unscrewed to be removed.
- If you have an SUV or MPV, the spare wheel might be on the tailgate or underneath the vehicle. You can take the help of the user manual to locate it.
→ Remove the hub cap or wheel cover if it is concealing the lug nuts, before jacking up the vehicle.
- The flat end of your lug wrench will open up the cap. Some vehicles may require a different setting. You can refer to the owner's manual to gain clarity.
→ Loosen the wheel nuts before you raise the vehicle with the jack.
- With the help of a wheel spanner, loosen the lug nuts. There are usually three or five lug nuts, depending on the vehicle.
- Since they are fitted mechanically, they'll require a lot of energy to loosen up. Be prepared to burn some extra calories here.
→ Jack up the car once you're done loosening the wheel nuts.
- Place the jackscrew at a specific point (this is denoted by an arrow) to raise the car. The owner's manual can help you locate the arrow.
- After the jack is set up, rotate the shaft clockwise until the vehicle is 6-inches above the ground. This is essential as the inflated spare wheel will occupy more space.
- Replacing bike tyres is relatively simple compared to car tyres as there is no need for jacking up.
→ Remove the lug nuts and flat tyre using your hands.
- Unscrew the nuts and keep them safe. The flat tyre will come free. Hold its tread with both your hands. Pull it towards yourself until it's ultimately released from the hub behind.
→ Place the spare tyre and brace yourself as this will require some muscle power.
- Hold the spare wheel and try to put it in-line with the lug bolts. Tighten the bolts with your hands and recheck if all screws have been fixed.
- Don't use the wrench and tighten the bolts yet. That step is followed once the car is grounded.
- Once the jack is off; screw the lugs tightly with the wheel spanner.
- If there was a hub cap or wheel cover, mount it back on the wheel.
→ Put back your tools when you're done.
Now immediately head to a tyre shop to get your handiwork examined. The professional will be able to better tell you whether it's time to replace your tyre.
Treat this as your little guidebook to help yourself out of a flat tyre situation. Drive safe, stay safe!