The last thing any driver needs is a flat tyre but knowing how to change one is an essential skill for all drivers. Remember to check your tyres (including the spare, if fitted) regularly to make sure they’re in a safe and legal condition and inflated to the correct pressure.
Before starting any journey it’s worth checking your mobile is charged and you have any numbers you might need, like breakdown assistance or a local garage.

1. Depending on the age of your vehicle, it should have either:

  • a full-size spare tyre
  • a narrow space-saver tyre – a temporary fix for emergencies and to get you to the nearest garage. Most have a maximum speed limit of 50mph for safety reasons, so check your handbook.
  • a puncture repair kit – to inflate your tyre and get you to a local garage so, make sure you know how to use it before you get a puncture.
  • Before changing or repairing your tyre make sure you’ve read your vehicle’s handbook. If your safety is at risk, you don’t have the right tools or just don’t feel confident enough, don’t attempt it and call someone for help.

2. Safety First

  • If a tyre bursts while you’re driving, stay calm and keep a firm grip on the steering wheel. Slow down gently, avoid braking sharply.
  • Keep driving slowly until you find a safe place to stop
  • Switch on hazard warning lights to alert other drivers
  • Turn off the engine, apply the handbrake
  • All passengers should exit the vehicle safely and away from the vehicle and the road

3. Get started

  • Take the spare wheel and tools out of the boot
  • Place a wedge or block under the wheel diagonally opposite the one you’re replacing (so, if your left-front tyre has a puncture, put a block behind the right-rear wheel) to stop the vehicle from rolling
  • Lever off any wheel trims or hubcap covers, then loosen the nuts using the wheel wrench (and locking wheel-nut adapter if needed). Half a turn anti-clockwise should do it but if they’re tight use your body weight on the wheel wrench to shift them but don’t remove them yet.

4. Jack up the car

  • Check your vehicle handbook for the lifting points on your car then position the jack in the one closest to the wheel you’re changing. Don’t jack up your car at any other point – it may collapse.
  • Use the jack to raise the vehicle until the wheel is about 15 cms off the ground.
  • Never work under your vehicle while it’s raised on a jack

5. Remove the flat tyre

  • Unscrew the wheel nuts in pairs diagonally and pull the tyre towards you until it’s free from the hub behind it
  • Place the wheel on its side to stop it from rolling away

6. Fit the spare

  • Fit the spare wheel onto the hub bolts
  • Secure the wheel nuts loosely by hand, starting with the top nut then others in diagonal pairs
  • Using the jack, lower the vehicle carefully until the wheel touches the ground
  • Tighten the wheel nuts fully with the wheel wrench in a diagonal sequence
  • Lower the vehicle completely and remove the jack
  • Give the wheel nuts a final turn to tighten, to check they are secure

7. Finish the job

  • Put your tools and flat tyre in your boot and refit any wheel trims
  • Take your punctured wheel to a garage or tyre fitters as soon as you can. They will advise if it can be repaired or if you need to replace it
  • Remember to check your tyre pressures including the spare you’ve fitted