Flat Tyre

If you get a flat tyre whilst you're about and about, try to find somewhere firm and level to park. Switch on your hazard warning lights, turn the engine off and apply the handbrake. If you're forced to change a wheel with your car on soft ground, you will need to place a plank or something similar under the jack to prevent it from sinking into the ground.

If you have a manual transmission, engage first gear if the car is facing uphill and reverse if it's facing downhill; if your car is an automatic, leave it in 'park'. Get all the passengers out of the car and safely away from the road. If you have any luggage in the boot, take it out if it's obstructing access to the spare wheel and tools. If you have an emergency warning triangle, you should place it about 30-50 m behind the car.

Never attempt to change your wheel on the hard shoulder of a motorway. Contact a breakdown service; they are trained to carry out roadside repairs safely, and their flashing lights will be much more noticeable than your car's hazard lights.

Method

  1. Take out the spare wheel, wheel brace and jack; these are often located in the boot of the car, under a cover in the floor.
  2. Chock the wheel diagonally opposite to the one that is being changed with either wooden blocks, bricks or stones.
  3. Remove the plastic wheel trim or cover (you may need to cut the nylon cable ties) using a flat-bladed screwdriver.
  4. Use the wheel brace to slacken the nuts on the affected wheel by about half a turn. The nuts may be very stiff and you may have to use your body weight on the brace to move them.
  5. Consult the owner's manual to find out where to place the jack; this step is essential - if you do not place the jack at the correct lifting point, it may collapse and seriously damage the car.
  6. Use the jack to raise the wheel, sliding the spare wheel under the car near the wheel to be removed as soon as there is enough room. This will act as a safety measure should the car slip off the jack.
  7. Continue to raise the jack until the tyre is 2.5 to 5 cm off the ground.
  8. Once the wheel is just clear of the floor, unscrew the nuts in diagonal pairs and remove. Make sure that you put the nuts somewhere safe, such as a cup, hat or pocket so that they do not roll away.
  9. Lift off the wheel; be careful here as it will be dirty and heavy.
  10. Pull out the spare wheel from underneath the car and slide in the damaged wheel in its place.
  11. Lift the new wheel onto the car, ensuring it is the right way round.
  12. Screw on the wheel nuts in diagonal pairs and turn until finger-tight.
  13. Use the jack to lower the car gently until the tyre of the replaced wheel just touches the floor.
  14. Tighten the wheel nuts lightly, and pull the punctured wheel out from underneath the car.
  15. Finish lowering the car and remove the jack.
  16. Fully tighten one wheel nut securely using the wheel brace, and then tighten the one diagonally (or nearly diagonally) opposite. Tighten the other nuts in a similar way, and then refit the wheel trim.