It’s an unfortunate reality that flat tyres are not really a thing we can plan for.
However, as strong independent 21st century women, it’s important that we know how to change a tyre if one should go flat while we’re out there conquering the world on our own. We could phone a friend or call the AA to do the job, but time may not always be on our side – and it may not be safe to sit at the side of the road and wait for help.
Imperial Auto has compiled a quick and easy step-by-step guide to changing a tyre. It’s not nearly as difficult as our knights in shining armour make it out to be – and there’s no doubt that there’s a sense of achievement if you’re a woman completing something that is conventionally seen as a ‘man’s task’.
- If you are in an urban area, drive slowly to a public place where you can park your car off the road. If you are on a freeway, park off the road on the verge or in an emergency lane. If you can, make sure that the flat tyre is on the verge-side of the vehicle, rather than on the traffic side. Once you are in safe secure area, put the car in park/neutral, pull the handbrake up and put your hazards on.
- Erect your emergency triangle on the road, approximately 20 metres behind you.
- Find something to put behind the other wheels so the car doesn’t roll, such as bricks, a log, or rocks.
- Fetch your spare tyre and all the tools you will need to change your flat tyre – these are usually stored under the floor of your boot but can also be found under the car as well sometimes.
- Place the jack under the metal frame near the tyre that you are going to change and raise the wheel off the road, just enough to release the weight of the car from the affected tyre.
- Remove the hub cap and loosen the lug nuts with the wrench by turning counter clockwise. Do not remove them completely yet, just loosen them.
- Once the nuts are loose, jack the car up further, so that the car is high enough for you to completely remove the lug nuts and dismount the flat tyre.
- Place the flat tyre under the car in case your jack gives in, so that at least it will fall on the old tyre and not cause any damage to you or your car.
- Put the new tyre on, align the rim of the new tyre with the wheel bolts, and replace the lug nuts.
- Tighten the nuts with your hands so that they are nice and snug.
- Tighten opposite bolts in a star pattern to ensure even torque – ie don’t tighten the bolt next to the one you’ve just worked on, but rather the one opposite it.
- Use your wrench to tighten further (double check the lug nuts when you lower your car, just in case).
- Finally, lower your car, remove the jack and put the damaged tyre into the boot along with your tools.
- If your spare wheel is a ‘marie biscuit’ wheel and not a full replacement, check your service booklet for advice on the maximum recommended speed for driving (usually about 80 km/h), to ensure your safety.
- Head to a tyre shop as soon as possible to have the punctured tyre repaired or replaced – you don’t want to be stuck with a damaged spare tyre if you get another flat.
If you have an older car which has served you well over many years and you aren’t sure what you may find in your boot should you ever break down, treat this article as a reminder to check and replace whatever is missing, so that you’ve got everything you need in an emergency. It might also be a good idea to buy a pack of wet wipes to keep in your boot for such emergencies, so that you can wipe your hands clean when you’re on the go again…