How to Guide: Changing A Car Tyre

Changing a tyre on your car is an essential skill that any car owner should be able to do. Driving a car with a flat tyre or insufficient wheel tread is dangerous – not only will it damage your own car but it could be a hazard to other road users. As a flat tyre can occur at any time, you should always be prepared with tools, a jack and a spare tyre.

When Should You Change Your Tyre?

You should check your tyres regularly to make sure they meet the required standards that make them roadworthy. If your tyre looks soft, or if it’s completely flat, then you may have to do some maintenance to make sure they’re safe:

A flat tyre could mean you have a puncture. Carefully examine the tread, side walls and bead of each tyre for any cuts, cracks or objects that are embedded into the tyre wall. If you find anything, then your tyre will need to be changed for your spare.

If your tyre is just soft rather than flat, then it’s probably underinflated. Check your tyre for the correct air pressure (psi) using the air pressure gauges at a garage. Your manual will tell you the correct psi level for your tyre, or there is often a sticker on the inside of your car door. If you need to put air in your tyres very regularly, this could be the sign of a slow puncture, which needs to be fixed.

You’ll also need to ensure your tyres meet the legal tread depth. The best way to do this is using the 20p test. If your 20p coin is fully obscured when placed in the main tread grooves, then your tread is above the legal limit.

Step-by-Step Guide

When changing your tyre, remember to put your hazards on so that other motorists are aware they need to drive around you safely. Follow these steps to change your car tyre safely:

  • Park your car on solid, even ground. You don’t want your car to move anywhere so make sure the handbrake is on and if you’ve got a manual car, put it in first gear too.
  • Loosen the wheel nuts (also known as lug nuts) first as it will be difficult to do this once the car has been lifted. You might need to take off the wheel trim first to do this.
  • Use your jack to lift the car so it’s clear from the ground and you have enough space to undo the wheel and fit the new tyre – 15-20cm is usually sufficient.
  • Remove all of the wheel nuts fully and pull the tyre towards you, loosening it from the wheel base.
  • Place your spare tyre onto the car by lining up the wheel nuts with the holes in the spare and pushing it into the wheel base until it can’t go any further.
  • Place the wheel nuts back on loosely.
  • Gently bring the car back to road height using the jack, then tighten the wheel nuts completely once the jack has been removed.

One of the essential checks to make sure your car is in good, road-worthy condition is by inspecting your tyres regularly. If worse comes to worse and you have to change your tyre, you can use our handy tips to do it yourself – just make sure you keep all the tools handy in your boot, as well as a spare tyre.