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Changing a Wheel

kent-tyresBe aware that not all cars have a spare wheel. Some are opting out of this option to save weight and instead supply a puncture repair kit. Familiarise yourself with this kit so you are fully prepared in the event of a puncture.

Our advice is to first practise changing a wheel at home or in a safe place. Doing so on a warm day will help you stay relaxed and prepare you in case it happens at a more inappropriate time. Let’s be honest you are bound to get a puncture during a torrential downpour in the middle of the night.

Providing you have the right tools for the job changing a wheel isn’t particularly difficult. Our basic tips and the owners manual should allow you to change a spare wheel quickly and easily. We always recommend you check the cars manual as it may detail specific requirements unique to your vehicle.

The following bullet points will help you change a wheel safely:

  • NEVER change the wheel on the side of the road or on a motorway hard shoulder. Instead pull over to a safe place where you can change the wheel away from heavy traffic. If this is not possible then telephone for help rather than take the risk.
  • Always park on a hard surface before changing a wheel, never on uneven, soft or loose surfaces.
  • Always ensure the car is passenger free before changing the wheel. Take the passengers far away from the car and road for their own safety.
  • Always use the car jack on the ‘jacking points’ detailed in the handbook. If you don’t it can damage the vehicle or fall off whilst you are working on it. On that note, never go underneath the vehicle whilst it is raised. It is for wheel changing purposes only.

The Tools Required:

  • Your Vehicles Handbook
  • The vehicle’s spare wheel
  • The Car Jack
  • Wrench and locking wheel nut adaptor
  • Gloves
  • A soft rug or towel
  • Sharp Knife
  • Torch
  • High Visibility Jacket

Before you start:

  • Always know what you are going to do in advanced. You don’t want the vehicle left on the jack for any longer than necessary.
  • Make sure the engine is off and the hazard lights are on.
  • Apply the handbrake and leave the car in gear.
  • Take your spare wheel from the boot and place it next to the wheel that’s being replaced.
  • Remove any hub cap that may be fitted to your wheel.
  • Place the jack in the recommended lifting point closest to the wheel that needs changing. To get this exactly write consult your vehicle’s handbook.
  • Engage the jack so it begins to lift the car. At this point only allow it to take the pressure of the car, do not lift it fully from the ground yet.
  • Use the wrench to loosen the wheel nuts. At this point you may need to utilise the locking wheel nut adaptor if required. These may be rather tight so apply heavy pressure until the nuts ‘break’ away and become loose.

Raise the car:

Now the wheel nuts are loose it’s time to raise the car off the ground. Do so slowly using the jack, until the wheel is clear from the ground. At this point remove the already loosened wheel nuts but leave the wheel ‘hanging’ on the threads. Once you have both hands free simply remove the wheel carefully and place to one side.

Fitting the spare wheel:

This is rather simple as it’s just the same as removing the wheel, but in reverse. Line up the wheel’s holes with the thread, then screw the wheel nuts back on one at a time. After all the nuts are back on, finger tight, gently lower the car so the wheel is in contact with the ground.

Using the wrench tighten up each and every wheel nut so they extremely secure.

Essentially the job is now complete, so simply store the faulty wheel. This is usually under your vehicle or in the boot.

‘Skinny’ spare wheels:

If your spare wheel is of the ‘skinny’ variety then there will be restrictions in place. Many manufacturers are opting for these spare wheels as naturally they save both space and weight. Unfortunately they are very limited in terms of mileage and typically cannot travel above 50mph.

You may also notice some of your vehicle warning lights become illuminated. Don’t panic this is quite normal and nothing is wrong with the car or spare wheel. Typically it will be the ABS and traction control lights as the care is unfamiliar with the spare wheel.

We recommend that you check the tyre pressure straight away and arrange for a regular wheel to replace the spare ASAP.