If you’re asking yourself “Can I change a car tyre myself?” The simple answer is no. However, you can change the wheel yourself on many cars and it’s really not that difficult.
Keeping your tyres in good condition will help you avoid getting into a situation where you need to use your spare tyre. Prevention is better than cure as the phrase goes. However, accidents do happen, even with the best maintained motors.
Many people will simply call their roadside assist service to change a wheel for them or get a tow to a garage. But you can do this yourself as long as you have the equipment you need and your vehicle includes a spare wheel.
Some modern cars do not come with a spare wheel, so you won’t be able to change it even if you want to. Check if you have a spare wheel, then you’re good to go.
If there’s no spare wheel with your vehicle, then there should be a bottle of additive which you would inject into the tyre via the valve without needing to remove the wheel. This will get you to a garage where you’ll need a mechanic to replace the whole tyre.
Today, we’re going to give you step-by-step instructions on how to change the wheel on your car.
If you want to be able to change a car
tyre wheel: Have a practice run first
Safety first. Cars are heavy. Roads are dangerous places. So if you want to give this a go, it’s a great idea to practice at home on the drive first.
Changing the wheel on your car before you get a puncture means you will know where everything you need lives, and how it works on your specific vehicle. And this will help you feel confident and give you an edge in adverse conditions by the roadside.
A car’s wheel is a bulky item, so some vehicles come with a space saver spare tyre. If you have a space saver spare, this will normally be half the width of the normal tyre and come with a maximum speed restriction.
If you’re really stuck and want to have a helping hand, we’ll be happy to walk you through the process at the garage. Contact us today if you’d like a workshop in the workshop.
OK, ready to change the wheel on your car? Here we go…
Step 1: Make sure you have everything you need to change your wheel
“Measure twice, cut once” as my Nan always said. So before you crack on with changing a wheel, make sure you have everything you need to hand. Your aim is to have the car elevated for the least time possible as it’s heavy and you don’t want anything to go wrong while it’s on the jack.
Here’s what you will need to change the wheel:
- Your vehicle handbook. There are specific instructions in your car’s handbook on how to change a wheel.
- Your carjack. Every car with a spare wheel comes with its own carjack. The handbook will tell you where to find it.
- The spare tyre to fit your vehicle.
- Your wheel lock nut key for the safety nut on your wheel.
- Some wheel “chocks“: This could be a couple of bricks, a piece of wood… Something to stop the car rolling.
Step 2: Move your vehicle to a safe stable location
Standard safety advice is to move away from your vehicle if you break down on a motorway or fast, busy road. It’s not safe to attempt any maintenance or repair on your vehicle with larger vehicles speeding by.
So, if you can, move your vehicle to a safe, stable location before attempting to change the wheel. You’ll need enough space to move safely around the vehicle.
Step 3: Know where to find your carjack
Did you know that all cars come with their own carjack? When you buy a new or used car, always read the handbook. In the handbook you will find the location your vehicles carjack.
This is often in the boot, under the spare wheel, or sometimes under the bonnet. But check the handbook specific to your vehicle as this will tell you exactly where it is on your car.
Step 3: Prepare to jack up the car
You want the car to be lifted on the jack for the minimum amount of time, so preparation is crucial.
Before you lift the car you’ll need to “chock” the wheel which is diagonally opposite your wheel you’re about to work on. This will stop the car moving.
“Chocking” means putting blocks in front of and behind the tyre to hold it in position.
Some people also advise putting on the handbrake and putting the car into gear as additional measures to stop it moving while the car is elevated on the carjack.
Next you need to put the carjack in the right place for your vehicle. You should see arrows on the car’s sills (the bit under the door) which indicate where to position the carjack. There should be a groove on the jack which will fit snugly into the sill of the car.
If you’re not sure, grab the manual and find the illustration which shows you where to position the carjack.
Next, loosen the wheel nuts before you lift the vehicle. If you jack the car before you try and loosen the wheel nuts, the wheel will spin making it much more difficult. You need the weight of the car to keep the wheel still.
You’ll need to use the special locking wheel nut key to get the locking wheel nut off. Your car should come with this tool. If you don’t have this, you’ll need to call your roadside assist because you won’t get the wheel off without it.
Step 4: Jack the car and change the wheel
Because you’ve done all the preparation, this bit is pretty quick and simple.
You’ve already got the jack in the right position and the wheel nuts are loose, now you need to turn the handle on the jack to raise the car. You’ll need to raise it until the car is about 3 inches / 10 cm off the road.
Remove the wheel nuts and then remove the wheel. This could be quite heavy, maybe 10 kg or more, so handle appropriately.
You’ll have your spare to hand, so go ahead and position the spare on the hub. Line the replacement wheel up with the studs or holes for the wheel nuts (this will depend on your specific vehicle). Replace the nuts / bolts and tighten.
Lower the car using the carjack. Once it’s safely on the ground, remove the jack and re-tighten the wheel nuts as tight as you can.
Step 5: You’ve changed a car
Congratulations! You’ve replaced your car’s wheel.
Now you just need to gather up all the equipment – who knows when you might need it again! Then, if you need to, book your car into the garage who can replace your wheel or tyre as required. They should also make sure your wheel nuts have the correct torque to meet safety standards.