There was a time when every new care came with a spare tyre, usually found in the boot. Nowadays, it’s very rare for a manufacturer to include a spare tyre with the purchase. With this, fixing a puncture yourself on a journey has become something of a lost art. Even if you do know how, most people won’t bother to buy a separate spare tyre when breakdown services aren’t too far away. Ultimately, it comes down to money. While manufacturers have claimed in the past that not including a spare tyre saves the customer money because of the reduced weight of the car, really this adds up to peanuts in the long run. We are coming at you with all the facts as your honest car body repairs London team this week.
Simply, for a manufacturer, a spare tyre may work out as £100 per car, which added up for the thousands and thousands of cars that are manufactured, is a lot of extra cost that they can avoid. Puncture repair kits are included nowadays but instructions can be tricky to follow, and they only work on particular types of punctures. You might be stranded regardless.
If you do get a puncture on a motorway, for example, you are at the mercy of said breakdown service – if they’re busy, or far away, or there is lots of traffic, you can be stuck for a long time! There simply isn’t a “good” time to get a puncture, it’s always a problem and it’s always inconvenient. Even though most people forgo learning how to change a tyre, it’s still a skill that doesn’t take a huge amount of time to learn and is always there if there is a rare situation where you can help out. We’ve put together a quick tyre changing guide for those curious on how it works!
Things to Consider Before you Start
Make sure the car is empty! Safety comes first, as with anything. If on the side of the road you need your hazard lights on so people have a visible warning at distance that there is a problem. Ultimately, the side of a road is dangerous. Some recommend never changing a tyre unless well away from a busy area. If your safety is at risk, or there is any doubt, do not attempt to change the tyre. Make sure the jack is functioning correctly and you have a nice flat surface to work on. Don’t use the jack just yet.
Changing the Tyre
Make sure the handbrake is on! Not only this, with a manual, the car should be left in gear when turned off, either first gear or reverse. The handbrake only works on two wheels, whereas being in gear will lock the drive wheels. If you leave it in neutral, raising the car with the jack can mean only one wheel is stopping the car from moving. An automatic can be left in park. Ideally, you’ll wedge a block of wood or something similar on the tyres that stay on the ground, to guarantee absolutely no movement.
Remove the hub cap
Take off the hub cap or cover and loosen the wheel nuts with your wheel wrench. This should be done with the car on the ground. Wheel nuts can be incredibly tight, in which case, have the wrench horizontal, stand on it and start to apply body weight.
This is the point at which you can use the jack. Make sure it’s completely flat on the ground and not pointing at an angle to the car. Then, you can begin to raise the car, making sure the jack doesn’t twist and stays flat. Your car manual should have advice on where it’s best to place the jack for your particular car.
With the car raised, grab the wheel at each side and pull it towards you to remove it. Replace with the spare tyre. Remember that spare tyres are thinner and just designed for temporary use. They may come with a spacer to position the wheel in the right place. Check the manual for information on maximum speed that the tyre can handle, and the distance that it’ll be comfortable with.
Replace all the wheel nuts and tighten them. Then, lower the car back to the ground. Go over each wheel nut and ensure they’re very tight. There is no need to force it, but they must be very secure. Reattach the hubcap/cover if necessary and then put the punctured tyre in the boot to take with you. Ideally, you’ll have something to put it on. Tyres get dirty! Head to a mechanic to get a proper replacement.
Changing a car tyre may be becoming a bit of a lost art but is not very difficult and can save you a lot of time and hassle if you ever find yourself in that situation. And in fact, if you ever do change a tyre yourself, you’ll realise how satisfying it is to have done the job yourself. Thanks for reading!