If you are the owner of a motor vehicle then changing a tyre is something you should
know how to do, you may even have already had to change your tyre. Its not the most
exciting thing you’ll ever do nor is it the easiest, however with the correct tools
and a suitable spare tyre, it is very straightforward if you use Finelines guide
to changing a tyre. We recommend having national breakdown cover just in case you
are unable to change your tyre as they will be able to assist, you can compare different
breakdown companies with Finelines breakdown cover comparison service by clicking
Always be prepared
First and foremost, you need to ensure that you have the correct tools to change
a tyre if you need to. Your car should always carry a correctly sized and inflated
spare tyre at all times as well a tyre change kit, this is normally included with
every car however it is your responsibility to check as the vehicle owner. The tyre
change kit should include a fully functional car jack, wrench and if needed, a locking
wheel nut remover, figure 1 show the equipment required to change a tyre on a typical
Figure 1. – Equipment to change a tyre.
Finelines step by step guide to changing a tyre
If you are ever in the position where you need to change a tyre, our step by step
guide will help you through such a task. Safety should always come first, are your
surroundings safe to change a tyre? If you are on a dark motorway and by yourself,
you may want to consider calling for assistance as this could prove a tricky task
best left to professionals. Make sure you don’t sit in your vehicle if stranded
on a motorway, put your hazard lights on, leave your vehicle (try to leave out of
the passenger side door) and stand on the other side of the barrier and away from
any possible danger. Here’s our guide to changing a tyre:
1) Ensure the surface is stable, upon realising you have a flat tyre try to position
your car away from traffic and on an even, non gradient area (no hills). Ensure
your vehicle is turned off, turn on your hazard lights to alert other road users,
if you have an automatic vehicle you should select the park position and if you
have a manual vehicle you should select the 1st gear or reverse gear. Put some form
of block in front and behind the wheel which is diagonally opposite the wheel you
are changing, as shown in figure 2 below;
Figure 2. Place blocks on the wheel diagonally opposite the wheel you are changing.
2) Make sure your spare wheel has been removed from the vehicle and there is space
left for the flat tyre to be placed, you must now remove the flat tyre and to start
this process, position the jack between a suitable jacking point and the other on
the flat ground below, as shown in figure 3. Aim for a jacking point that is close
to the wheel you are changing, the jack has a groove which should align with a notch
on your cars underside, use a light to align the groove and notch as this prevent
the jack from slipping (never put your head under the vehicle). Begin to slowly
jack the car up until the wheel leaves the ground by at least 2 inches.
Figure 3. Align the jacks groove with the notch under the car, ensure the jack is
on smooth flat ground and slowly begin to jack the car up.
3) Use the wrench to unlock the nuts in the wheel, they may be stiff so you can
use your body weight and stand on the wrench to unlock them, keep your hands on
the vehicle for support. The wrench should turn CLOCKWISE to unlock the nuts. Use
the locking wheel nut adapter for the final nut if needed, remove the flat tyre
and put into the empty space in your vehicle. You should clean the mounting surface
with a cloth or paper towel to remove any interfering debris.
Figure 4. Remove nuts by using a clockwise motion and take spare tyre off, use a
cloth to clean mounting surface.
4) Place the spare tyre on the vehicle, put all of the nuts in loosely by hand and
begin to tighten them in an anti-clockwise motion with the wrench. Ensure each of
the nuts are tightly fastened to the mounting hub of the wheel, use the locking
wheel nut again if your vehicle has one.
Figure 5. Fasten each nut in an anti-clockwise motion.
5) Lower the car by turning the handle on the wrench, ensure nothing is under the
vehicle before lowering the vehicle. Check again to make sure each nut is securely
fastened with the wrench and place everything from the tyre changing kit back into
its original place.
Figure 6. Lower car and double check the nuts are fastened.
FINELINES summary to changing a tyre
Please feel free to download a copy of this guide to keep in your vehicle, you should
use it for guidance purposes only and as mentioned earlier in the guide, you should
call for assistance if you are in a vulnerable place and never compromise safety.
Here are a few points to bear in mind when changing a tyre;
• Make sure that it is safe to change a tyre in the place where you got a flat,
it might be safer to call for assistance if you are on the motorway or a busy carriageway.
• Follow the steps we have outlined carefully and try not to panic, changing a tyre
really isn’t as hard as it seems.
• If you have used a space saving tyre, do not exceed 50MPH and do not travel a
distance of over 50 miles whilst using the wheel, remember that it is for temporary
• Try to use the jack that was provided by your vehicle, unless it is an industrial
universal car jack. You should never use more than one spare tyre at any one time.
• If the tyre hasn’t been changed in a while, it can become jammed into the wheel
mount and therefore quite difficult to remove by hand. When breakdown companies
encounter this problem they usually use a soft hammer and hit the tyre from the
inside outwards to nudge it out of place. Again, always have national breakdown
cover all year round, occasions like this are what they are they for.
• NEVER EVER PUT ANY PART OF YOUR BODY UNDER THE VEHICLE WHILE IT IS RAISED! The
reasons for this are obvious!