According to an AA survey women are more than 3 times less likely to change a flat tyre than men. Unfortunately this doesn’t mean than women are 3 times less likely to get a flat tyre! Suzanne Keane shares some tips to ensure you’re not stranded waiting for your Knight in Shining Armour to arrive!
- Practise, Practise, Practise – Reading about changing a wheel is great…. but practise makes perfect. You don’t need to even change the wheel – just take one off and put it back on. If you can’t manage this at home in your own time it’s unlikely you will be able to do it at the side of the road when you need to!
- Check your spare – Make sure the tread on your spare tyre is ok, and that the air pressure is ok.
- Make sure the car is parked on a hard, level surface. Concrete or tarmac are best – if there’s a chance the jack will sink into the ground you need to move it to somewhere safer. If you’re on a public road move the car to a safe place, and somewhere that you won’t be knocked down trying to change the wheel.
- Never try to jack up a car on a hill or slope.
- Put the car in 1st gear and make sure the handbrake is on. (If you’re on a public road put on a high vis vest and use a warning triangle)
- If you can’t see your wheel nuts you may need a screwdriver to remove the hubcap or centre cap on an alloy wheel. Now you can loosen the wheel nuts using the wheel brace – just enough so you can turn them easily. One of the wheel nuts may be a locking nut – if so you will need to use the key (usually in the boot with the jack and wheelbrace), attached to your wheel brace to remove it.
- Next you can jack up the car. This has to be done at the jacking point, otherwise you could bend the sill or the floor of the car. It’s best to use a hydraulic jack if you have access to one – and axle stands if possible. Make sure to jack the car up enough so that the wheel is clear of the ground.
- Now you can loosen and remove the wheel nuts and the wheel should be free to come off. It’s a good idea to put this wheel underneath the sill until you’re finished putting on the spare – just in case the jack fails.
- Mount the spare wheel onto the hub and turn it slowly until you get the holes for the wheel nuts to match up. You may need to balance the wheel with your arm/knee until you have the first nut in place.
- You can then put the rest of the wheelnuts back on and when there are all finger tight use the wheel brace to tighten them.
- Once you’re sure the wheel is firmly attached to the hub you can lower the jack – don’t forget the take the punctured wheel out from underneath the sill before you drop the car.
- When the car is back on 4 wheels you need to tighten the wheel nuts again as much as you can – if you’re not 100% sure you have them tight enough bring the car to a garage where they can check them for you.
- And the final step is to repeat the above steps until you’re completely comfortable changing your own wheels!
13th May, 2013