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Thankfully it's a fairly rare occurrence to get a puncture, but it's worth practicing how to change a wheel just in case you are unlucky. Of course, you could phone someone for help, but what if you are somewhere without mobile phone signal? Changing a wheel should normally take around 15 minutes - here is what to do:


GETTING PREPARED

Park the car somewhere safe that has flat and solid ground, and apply the handbrake firmly. Jacking up a car on a hill is dangerous, as the car might roll and topple off the jack. If you have passengers with you, ask them to get out of the car and wait somewhere safe.     

Open the boot and locate the car’s spare wheel, jack and tools. The tools and jack can be stored in unusual places on some cars, so if they are not easily found take a look in the car's manual. 

If your car has plastic wheel covers, remove the one on the flat tyre's wheel. If your car has locking wheel nuts, find the adapter and place it on the locking wheel nut. Some cars have plastic covers over the wheel nuts - remove these if needed.


REMOVING THE WHEEL

Place the jack under the jacking point for that wheel - look for two small notches on the sill underneath the car body. Do not put the jack anywhere else as you might damage the car - consult your cars manual if you need further clarification. Now use the handle supplied to raise the jack until the car body lifts slightly, but the wheel is still on the ground.

Use the wheel nut wrench to loosen (but not remove) the wheel nuts in an anti-clockwise direction. It's safer to pull the wrench upwards, so if it does come loose you won't hit your hand into the ground accidentally. If the nuts are very tight then try standing on the wrench instead to get more force, but be careful.

Raise the jack to lift the car high enough that the wheel is just off the ground.

Now remove the wheel nuts completely, and finally lift the wheel off the car. Make sure you don't put any part of your body underneath the car, as you could be trapped if the car falls off the jack.


FITTING THE SPARE

Lift the new wheel onto the wheel studs, and then hand tighten the nuts clockwise back onto the car, ensuring the wheel is fully seated against the cars hub and does not wobble.

Lower the car back to the ground with the jack.

Fully tighten the wheel nuts to secure the wheel. Tighten nuts opposite to each other, to ensure the wheel seats correctly onto the car.

Replace the old wheel and tools into the boot.

Get the flat tyre repaired or replaced as soon as possible, just in case you get another puncture!


TIPS

Check your wheel nuts are still tight after driving 100 miles.

Wheels are usually covered in brake dust, so keep a pair of thin rubber gloves in your boot to keep your hands clean.

Use a floor mat from inside the car to kneel on if the ground is dirty or wet.

If your car has a 'space saver' spare wheel (with a very skinny tyre) these are intended for temporary use at a low speed. Read the warning stickers and drive carefully.

Many new cars don't have a spare wheel, instead they are supplied with a can of emergency tyre sealant and an inflation device to quickly repair minor punctures without needing to change a wheel. 

Remember to check the air pressure in your spare tyre when checking the other wheels, as you don't want to find it flat when you need to use it.

PDF of this page

Emergency Advice Pack

How To Change A Wheel