How to Change a Flat Tyre

How to Change a Flat Tyre

Do you know how to change a flat tyre? We all hope we will never get one, but even the most careful of drivers can never rule out a flat tyre completely. That’s why knowing how to change your tyres yourself is an important skill to have.

You can reduce the likelihood of getting a flat tyre by looking after your tyres well and keeping them at the correct pressure. But even then, a sharp piece of metal or a heavy nail on the side of the road can pierce a tyre and cause a slow puncture or a blowout.

Fortunately, changing a flat tyre yourself is not as hard as you might think. In fact, with the right equipment, you can be back up and running within 30 minutes. 

Taking Air Pressure for Flat Tyre

What Equipment do you need to Change a Flat Tyre?

Along with a spare tyre, a jack and a wrench, there are a few more items you will need to help you change a flat tyre safely. Below we’ve listed all the equipment you’ll need and why. Make sure you keep this equipment in your car, so you’ll have it ready if you ever need to change a tyre when you’re on the road.

  • Spare tyre – a fully inflated spare tyre to replace the flat tyre. Read more about the different types of spare tyre you might have.
  • Vehicle handbook – your vehicle handbook will contain specific instructions for your vehicle, such as where to place the jack to support the car safely.
  • Wheel chocks – to be placed behind and in front of your inflated tyres to prevent them from rolling while you change your flat tyre. You can use bricks or a heavy piece of wood if you don’t have wheel chocks.
  • Jack – this is used to lift your vehicle off the ground for you to remove the flat tyre and replace it.
  • Locking wheel nut key – some vehicles have locking nuts for security. You’ll need the right key to unscrew these wheel nuts.
  • Wrench – this will need to be compatible with the nuts or bolts on your wheel.
  • Warning triangle – an important piece of safety equipment that you can use to provide other road users with a clearly visible hazard warning while you change your tyre.
  • Gloves, a head torch and a reflective coat – you never know when a puncture might occur, so a head torch and a reflective waterproof coat are recommended to make sure you’re able to work safely whatever the weather or time of day. A good pair of gloves will keep your hands safe from any sharp objects that might still be lodged in the tyre. 
Driving on open road

How Long Does it Take to Change a Flat Tyre?

You can change a flat tyre in 30 minutes if you have all the right equipment ready. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with this process at home on a sunny day - watch YouTube videos of the process and making sure you understand how the jack works and where the jack points are on your car. 

This will ensure if you ever need to change your tyre at the roadside on a dark, wet evening you are sure of what to do. But take your time and make sure you do it right. The most important thing is your safety and the safety of other road users. Follow our step-by-step guide to changing a tyre below. 

How to Change a Flat Tyre

1. Prepare yourself and your car with the required equipment

Make sure you are parked in a safe spot away from traffic. Apply the handbrake, turn off the engine and put your hazard lights on. Consult your vehicle handbook for any specific instructions for your car and put on your protective clothing. Now, get all of your equipment ready, place your warning triangle in a suitable spot and put your wheel chocks in place behind or in front of the inflated tyres.

2. Loosen the wheel nuts

Before lifting your vehicle with the jack, you should loosen the wheel nuts slightly while the flat tyre is fixed to the ground. If your car has locking wheel nuts, you’ll need to start with the locking key. Next, use your wrench to loosen the nuts by turning in an anti-clockwise direction. Once you’ve loosened them slightly, stop and prepare to lift your vehicle with the jack.

3. Lift your vehicle with the jack

Your vehicle handbook will indicate where to line up your jack to avoid any damage to the car so double-check before proceeding. Line up your jack with the jacking point and make sure it remains straight and stable throughout the jacking process. If it looks unstable at any point, lower and start again. Wind the jack carefully until you have enough room to remove the flat tyre easily.

4. Replace your flat tyre with the spare tyre

Because you’ve already loosened the wheel nuts slightly, you should be able to easily finish off loosening them now. Place the wheel nuts in a safe space such as a pocket or inside the car, remembering the correct way round they need to go when you come to reattaching them. Now remove the flat tyre and put it to one side. Replace the flat tyre with your spare tyre and re-attach the wheel nuts.

5. Lower your vehicle and finish tightening the wheel nuts

Carefully lower your car back down to ground level. At this point, tighten the wheel nuts with your wrench again as tight as they will go. Once you’ve done this, you can put away all of your equipment (not forgetting your flat tyre or warning triangle).


6. Continue your journey and re-test the wheel nuts

After driving on your spare tyre for a couple of miles, it’s a good idea to re-check the wheel nuts are as tight as possible and aren’t becoming loose with road vibrations. 

Flat Tyre FAQs

What to do After Changing Your Flat Tyre?

After changing your tyre you should visit a tyre dealer as soon as possible to repair your flat tyre or get it replaced. Check your vehicle handbook for details on speed restrictions and how far you can drive on your spare tyre. Remember, your spare tyre is only a temporary solution. 

What Can Cause a Flat Tyre?

Sharp objects such as nails or pieces of metal are the most common causes of flat tyres. You may also suffer a flat tyre due to over-inflation, under-inflation or poor road conditions. For more details on the causes, read our guide on fixing flat tyres.

Can You Drive on a Flat Tyre?

No, you shouldn’t continue to drive on a flat tyre. This could cause further damage to your wheel or even your suspension and result in a much more costly repair than a new tyre. 

What About Run Flat Tyres?

If your car has run-flat tyres, you can continue to drive on them even with a puncture. Goodyear’s Run on Flat tyres have reinforced sidewalls, which allow you to continue driving for around 50 miles at 50mph. This should give you enough time to get home, or to visit a dealer to have the tyre replaced or repaired. For more information, read our guide to Run Flat Tyres

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