I – A simple guide on how to change a flat tyre in 5 easy steps.
What’s the worst thing about getting a flat tyre? They always seem to happen at the most inconvenient times.
A flat tyre can strike at any moment. Whether you’re about to go to work and notice a flat tyre in the garage, or cruising down the highway and you hear a thudding noise, so it’s a good idea to be prepared for the worst.
We always recommend checking the pressure of your tyres on a monthly basis, including the spare. This can be easily done at your local servo and won’t cost you a penny. Make sure you’ve also got all the tools necessary, just in case the worst happens. We’ve listed what you’re going to need below.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Spare tyre
- Car jack
- Wheel nut wrench / tyre iron
- Vehicle owner’s manual
You’ll usually find these tools under a floor panel in the boot.
Extra tools to consider keeping in your car at all times:
- Rubber mallet (in case nuts are too tight)
- Torch light (in case it’s dark)
Before you change the tyre — Safety first
- Make sure you’ve pulled over in a safe location, away from other motorists, and on a level surface.
- Ensure the handbrake is applied and in park mode.
- Turn on the hazard blinkers.
- If you have wheel wedges, place them in front of or behind the tyres to prevent your car from rolling while you replace the flat tyre. (large stones or bricks will work just as well if you don’t have wedges)
- Check you have a spare tyre and make sure that it is inflated with the correct psi level. If it’s an emergency tyre, which are usually smaller, it requires 60 psi (420 kPa).
How to change a flat tyre in 5 easy steps
1. Loosen the wheel nuts with wheel nut wrench
Before you jack the car up, you’ll need to loosen the wheel nuts on the wheel with the flat tyre. Don’t be afraid to apply a little bit of force, in fact don’t be afraid to put your whole body weight into it if needed. Loosen the nuts about ½ of a turn, loose enough you can easily remove them once the car has been jacked.
Note: If you can’t find your wheel nuts the chances are you’ll need to remove your wheel cover or hubcap first. And remember, lefty loosey, righty tighty.
2. Jack the vehicle up using the car jack.
If you’re unsure where to place the car jack, quickly check the owner’s manual to find the correct jacking locations. To safely lift and avoid any vehicle damage, you’ll want to place the jack on the exposed metal frame, making sure to avoid anything plastic. Raise your car about 15cm off the ground, allowing enough room for a fully inflated replacement.
Note: Never put any part of your body or go under your vehicle after raising the vehicle.
3. Remove wheel nuts with wrench and take off flat tyre.
Now that your vehicle is lifted, using the wheel nut wrench or tyre iron, remove all the nuts and place them aside in a safe place. You might be able to use your hands if the nuts are loose enough. Gently pull the tyre towards you until it’s completely off the hub behind it. Careful the tyre can be quite heavy.
Note: Once the tyre is off, lay it flat on its side to stop it from rolling away.
4. Mount and line up spare tyre with lug bolts, and gently push.
Mount the spare tyre onto the axle the same way the flat tyre was positioned, lining up the lug bolts. Gently push the inflated tyre until the lug bolts appear on the other side and push back the whole way. Put all the wheel nuts back on and hand tighten them until you can no longer twist.
5. Using the jack, slowly lower the vehicle and tighten nuts with wrench.
Lower your vehicle using the jack until the spare tyre is touching the ground but not so the complete weight of the vehicle is on the tyre yet. Grab your tyre iron or wrench and tighten the nuts, turning it clockwise and tightening them as much as you can.
Note: Don’t be afraid to put your entire body weight into it.
Just like that, you’ve changed a flat tyre! But before you drive off…
It’s a great achievement to finally be able to change a flat tyre, especially with such ease. But before you hop back in your car and drive off for a celebratory drink, make sure to put your flat tyre and tools back in the boot. Once you’ve reached your destination, organise to get your flat replaced immediately.
If you’re using an emergency tyre, remember that it can only reach speeds of up to 80km/h and is not made for driving long distances. We recommend visiting a tyre shop as soon as possible and getting a new tyre.
How long does it take to change a flat tyre?
If you follow this guide, it should take you no more than 15 to 30 minutes to change a flat tyre.
II – What should you do if you get a flat tyre on your 4WD?
4WD tyres can take a lot of punishment and get you through all kinds of tough terrain, but they do have their limits. If you’re pushing your vehicle’s tyres hard enough then there’s a good chance you’ll be stuck somewhere rather inconvenient.
If your 4WD gets a flat on the highway you should just change the tyre (please refer to the process above). However, if a tyre goes flat, starts leaking, or even blows out when you’re exploring more exotic terrain, think twice before putting on a new one. The ground is clearly a tough prospect – why risk a brand new tyre?
Unleash Your Inner Bush Mechanic
When a tubeless 4WD tyre gives out far from the bitumen, your best bet is actually to repair the tyre as best you can. You can then replace it when you get back to civilised roadways.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Tyre plug kit
- Air compressor
- Soapy water
You won’t need to jack up your car at this point since we are only repairing an air leak.
Note: Please refer to the safety precautions mentioned at the beginning of this article when stopping your vehicle before proceeding any further.
How to repair a tyre leak on a 4WD
1. Locate puncture with soapy water or your hand.
First you’ll need to find the leak. Usually, you’ll hear air escaping, however you may need to use soapy water and lookout for bubbles, or run your hand along the tyre until you feel air.
Note: You may need to roll the vehicle backwards or forwards in case the leak is against the surface.
2. Insert tyre plug into puncture, using lubricant.
Take a plug from your repair kit and try inserting it into the puncture, using the lubricant provided. If the hole is too small, you can widen it out with the auger in your kit.
Note: Exercise caution when using the auger tool, making sure you don’t make the hole any bigger than you need to. NEVER use the auger tool in a sidewall puncture, as you may slice the tyre irreparably.
3. Use the insertion tool to insert plug all the way in.
With the insertion tool, insert the plug all the way — this will cause it to mushroom out on the inside of the tyre. That’s it you’re all done.
Note: It’s not safe to drive at normal speeds with plugged tyres, so you will need to drive a little slower. We suggest seeking professional assistance or changing a plugged tyre ASAP, especially if you’re travelling on unsealed surfaces.
Changing Your 4WD Tyre
Once you get back to the road, it’s time to change the tyre for a new one then get it to a 4WD service centre for professional assessment and repairs. If you’re using tubed tyres it’s probably best just to change them, even in the bush, as changing a 4WD tube is a big job on your own.
Please refer to the ‘how to change a flat tyre’ process above when replacing a flat tyre.
If you need a professional 4WD service or assistance in Perth, visit the workshop at Perth 4WD Centre. With all the parts you need and more than 10 years of experience, we can help you with everything from flat tyres to vehicle maintenance and 4WD repairs.
Disclaimer: Although changing a tyre can seem like an easy task, there are risks. This article has made the following instructions as safe and risk free as possible, however if you’re not comfortable at any step, you should seek professional help or roadside assistance. To reduce the chances of having an issue with your tyres, view this guide on tyre checks you should do on a regular basis.