Being as practical and hands-on as you can as a car driver is certainly a good idea. You’ll save yourself a lot of money and time if you’re able to do certain jobs, like changing the tyres on your vehicle, yourself.
However, with the removal of spare tyres in new cars it’s possible that this particular skill could soon die out among the general population. And that’s not all – apparently, not having a spare in the boot of the car is also driving up callouts to emergency services like the AA.
Speaking to the London Evening Standard, executive chairman of the organisation Bob Mackenzie explained that wheels are getting bigger and heavier, so they’ve been removed to reduce weight and increase space… but this has helped to see callouts increase by five per cent last year. Because there is no tyre, drivers are unable to change them in the event of a puncture or similar – so they have no choice but to call out roadside assistance.
Despite this, it’s still a good idea to know how to change a tyre yourself. For your own safety, do not try to do this by the side of the road or on the hard shoulder of the motorway. You should always pull over as far from traffic as possible. Also avoid changing the tyre on uneven or soft ground, or with people still in the car.
In order to change the tyre successfully, you’ll need your spare, a jack, your handbook (which will show you where to put the jack), a wrench with an extension bar and locking wheel nut adaptor, something to kneel on, gloves, a torch and a wheel chock to stop your car from rolling when on the jack.
Turn the engine off but leave the hazard lights on. Put your handbrake on and leave the car in first gear, then put the chock under the wheel that’s diagonally opposite whichever one you’re trying to change. Put the spare on the ground somewhere convenient for you to reach, then remove the wheel trim.
Put the jack in the lifting point closest to the wheel and make sure the head engages properly. Extend until the vehicle starts to lift on its springs. Loosen your wheel nuts anti-clockwise. Raise the jack again until the wheel is just off the ground, then remove the wheel nuts, leaving the top one until last so you can take the wheel off the hub easily. Then put the spare tyre back on in its place – and remember to put the old wheel back in your car before driving off again.
Always check to see if your spare tyre is a temporary one as well, since you shouldn’t drive over 50mph on one of these – and it needs to be replaced with a proper tyre as soon as possible.
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