January 22, 2020
Whether your car suddenly starts frantically beeping at you, or you randomly begin to hear the dreaded thump-thump-thump outside — you’ll instantly know when it’s time to channel your inner mechanic. How to change a flat tyre? What to do with a broken one? Here are some tips and tricks!
Before you roll up your sleeves and go full MacGyver on your car, make sure you have a spare tyre in the boot (If you don’t, just call for help).
If you’ve made sure that you actually have a fully inflated spare to replace your flat tyre with, you’ll need a jack, a lug wrench and an owner’s manual to get the job done.
It would also be nice if you have a pair of gloves, a working flashlight and something to cover you from rain as well (we all know Murphy’s Law, right?). Make sure you also keep an article of clothing which has reflective material or is easily seen from far away. If you’re super organised, include some wheel wedges and a small piece of wood to secure the jack on your list of “things to keep in your car”, also.
Changing a broken tyre shouldn’t take you more than 15-30 minutes.
Here’s our step-by-step guide to changing a flat tyre.
The most important thing — find a safe place to work. As soon as you realise you need to change the broken tyre you should pull-over. Driving with a flat tyre can ruin the rim of your wheel, however, you need to think about your safety and wellbeing first!
Make sure you’re in a place that you can stop safely for a longer period of time. A car park would be perfect, but a wide, flat stretch of road will do.
Slow down, park up and make your car and yourself visible. Turn on the hazard lights and use any equipment you have to make sure that the ones passing you will notice that you’re there.
Turn on your parking brake and apply wheel wedges. If you don’t have them, put some stones or sticks in front of your wheels to stop your car from moving when you start fixing the flat tyre.
If the wheel that has a flat tyre has a hub-cap cover, it’s time to remove it. Do so by using the flat end of your wrench. That should work in most cases. If not, open the user manual and see what you need to do to get the lug nuts out.
Now, you’ll get to do the thing we’ve all seen in the movies. Loosen the lug nuts by turning them counterclockwise with the wrench. They’ll have some resistance, so it’s okay if you’ll need to use your body weight. All those gym sessions are about to pay off! Just make sure you only loosen the nuts, you’ll remove them when it’s time to remove the flat tyre.
When that’s done, get the jack and put it under your car. The right spot is usually beneath the vehicle frame alongside the flat tyre. To be on the safe side, open up your user manual and follow the instructions there.
To prevent the jack from coming off balance, place a small cut of wood beneath it before raising your car up. This step is extra important when you’re working on asphalt. With the jack properly set, raise your car until the flat tyre is about 15 cm off the ground.
Time to unscrew the already loosened lug nuts. You’ve done the hard work already, so this should be pretty easy.
After that’s done, remove the flat tyre. Pull it gently towards yourself until it’s completely free. Then, set it aside on its side so it wouldn’t roll away.
Mount your spare tyre on the lug bolts and tighten the lug nuts by hand. Lower your car to the level of the tyre touching the ground, but not having the full weight of the vehicle on it. Tighten the lug nuts by turning the wrench clockwise as far as you can.
Now, lower the vehicle completely, remove the jack and make sure you take everything with you — the wrench, the jack, the wheel wedges and everything else you either removed or used. Put it back in the boot.
Finally, call a mechanic and book an appointment to replace the tyre with a proper one. Spare tyres aren’t meant for long drives and high speeds.
The answer to this question is not a straightforward ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It all depends on what created the damage and how severe it is. A professional will be able to tell you if it’s a 15-minute fix or you’ll need to buy new car tyres to drive safely.
Knowing what to do when you get a flat tyre is a great feeling. You’re prepared. But don’t forget about regular maintenance. Keeping the tyres properly inflated and checking their pressure on a regular basis is a basic precaution.
Now that your car is happy and healthy, perhaps it’s time to consider earning some extra money by driving with Bolt? Just fill in our sign up form and you’ll be picking up your first passenger in no time!