Depending on where you are and the situation you’re in, a flat tire can be a minor inconvenience or a full-blown catastrophe. A slow puncture on the driveway can be a simple thing to deal with while a blow-out on the motorway can be a disaster. Knowing how to change a tire yourself can save you a lot of time and hassle.
How to Spot a Flat Tire
When the tire is completely flat, spotting the flat tire can be very easy since you can just see by looking at it. But a visual check is sometimes necessary especially when it is a slow puncture.
If only one of the tires is affected, you will notice that the steering is getting heavy or the car will pull to one side. But if the rear tires are involved, you may not notice the difference in handling. This is why it is very important to check the tread depth, condition and pressure of your tires at least once a month and every time you are preparing to leave for a long journey.
When checking for treat pressure, it is important to note that the legal minimum tread depth for tires in the UK is 1.6mm. The easiest and quickest way to check is to place a 20p coin in the tread. The tread depth is fine if the outer rim of the coin is fully covered. If it is not, it may be time to change the tire.
While you are checking for the tread depth, you may also want to check for signs of wear and tear. Tires that are really worn out should be replaced immediately. You may also want to take a look at the owner’s manual for your car to find the correct tire pressure before checking the pressure on each tire, including the spare and then pumping up if you need to.
The correct tire pressure is important since under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by as much as 20% and wear by up to 30%.
How to Change a Tire
When you monthly checks determine that you have flat, follow these simple steps to change the tire;
Step 1: Check the car to on a flat surface the make sure that your tire is really flat. If you get a puncture while driving, pull over onto some level, solid ground to check.
Step 2: Turn off the engine, and the put the car in parking mode or apply the handbrake. If you are on the roadside, make sure that you also turn on your hazard warnings.
Step 3: Collect the spare tire and the tools you will need. Place the jack on the vehicles jacking point and then extend the jack until the car lifts on its springs.
Step 4: Loosen the wheel nuts using the car’s wheel brace, and when they are slightly loose, fully jack the car, so the wheel is clear off the ground.
Step 5: You can now fully remove the nuts and the wheel before placing the spare wheel and securing it in place.
Step 6: Lower the jack until the wheel touches the ground before fully tightening the nuts in a diagonal sequence using the wheel brace.
Step 7: Now put your damaged tire back in the car, and you’re ready to go.