If you’ve ever been driving down the road and your car suddenly starts making a loud thump-thump-thump sound, and your car starts to rattle, it can only mean one thing. You’ve got a flat tyre. And, unless you’re a member of a roadside assistance service, you’ll have to change it yourself.
But there’s no need to panic. If you follow these seven steps, you will be back on the road in no time.
Step one: Pull over safely
The first thing to do is to find a safe place to pull over. The quicker you can get off the road and away from speeding traffic, the better. If possible, try and find a solid, level place to stop such as a car park or a petrol station forecourt – this will make jacking up your car much safer. If you can’t get to a place like this in time, then try to get as far off the road as possible and onto the flattest surface you can find.
Step two: Turn your car off and secure it
The next step is to secure your car by turning off your engine, putting it in park, pulling up the hand brake and putting your hazard lights on if you are close to the road.
If you can find a brick, large rock or a large piece of wood then put it under the wheel on the opposite end and side to where the flat tyre is. For example, if your left back tyre is flat, place a heavy object under the right front tyre. This will help stop your car from rolling back or forward and falling off the jack.
Step three: Find your jack
Once your car is secure, you can then find your jack, wheel wrench and spare tyre. Most cars keep these items under the floor panel in the boot.
Step four: Get your wheel ready to jack
Once you have found all the tools, you can get your wheel ready by removing the hubcap if your wheel has one and then loosen the wheel nuts slightly. You can then place the jack on the solid metal jacking point that you’ll find underneath your car’s exterior panels, close to the wheel.
Step five: Jack your car up
To jack, your car up, turn the jack handle clockwise until the tyre is firmly off the ground. Ensure the jack expands up straight and doesn’t go up on a lean, as this might cause it to dislodge while you are replacing your flat tyre.
Step six: Replace your tyre
Once your car is jacked up, you can then undo the nuts the rest of the way, remove your flat tyre, then replace it with your spare tyre. For additional safety, you can slide your spare tyre under your car while removing the flat, then swap them around once your flat is taken off. Once your spare is attached, you can then screw the wheel nuts back in place.
Step seven: Lower your car
The final step is to lower the jack by turning it anti-clockwise until your wheel is on the ground. You can then tighten up the wheel nuts with the wrench and put the hubcap back on if you have one. For space-saver spare tyres, for example, this won’t be possible.
Once this is done you can put all of your tools away, your spare tyre in the boot, remove any objects you placed under your other tyres, and you will be good to go.
It’s recommended doing a dummy run at home to familiarise yourself with the steps and equipment to avoid having to go through this process under pressure the first time you get a flat tyre.