Changing a tyre
The Do’s & Don’ts of Changing a Tyre
Everyone who learns to drive should also learn about changing a tyre in case they’re on their own in the car and suddenly one of the tyres gets punctured. It’s astonishing how many motorists are left totally stranded when this happens because they simply don’t know where to begin.
The process and mistakes
The process of changing a tyre is not hugely difficult, although it’s one that needs to be done carefully so that your wheels, and indeed your car, won’t get damaged. Even those motorists who can change a tyre fall victim to silly mistakes that risk doing more harm than good.
One such error involves excessive tightening of the wheel nuts. Yes, these need to be taut when fixing the new tyre, as otherwise, the tyre could easily come loose, but once the wrench gives resistance, they are taut enough. If you try to force it after this point, you risk damaging the nuts, while also making it very difficult to remove the nuts in future.
Another common mistake that drivers make in changing a tyre is the position in which they mount the jack. It should be affixed to the metal frame of the car, not the plastic one. If the car is mounted on its plastic frame, the pressure from the jack could crack the material and damage the underneath of the vehicle. Also, never crawl under the car when it’s mounted, as the jack could give way unexpectedly and you could get crushed by the vehicle.
You might hear conflicting views as to what gear you should adopt when changing a tyre on your car. That will depend on the vehicle’s transmission. If you drive an automatic, it’s best to put it into Park and apply the parking brake, as these measures will lock all the wheels. However, if you’re driving a car with manual transmission, do not leave it in neutral, as the front wheels won’t be locked in this case. The handbrake only locks the rear wheels, so engage either first gear or reverse when stopping your car to perform a tyre change.
Where to learn how
Where’s the best place for drivers to learn how to change a tyre? Simple answer: at home. It’s a far less pressurised setting than trying to find somewhere to pull in mid-journey, while you’ll also be able to grab tools from your shed if needed. If you can familiarise yourself with the process in a pressure-free setting, you’re unlikely to feel daunted by it if it happens in the middle of a journey. In that case, you can simply pull in somewhere with no traffic and plenty of space (clue: not the side of a busy road) and affix the new tyre in a few short minutes. Also, when you put on the spare tyre, get to a garage as soon as possible to replace it with a proper tyre for your car; the spare is a temporary measure and nothing more.
For further advice on changing a tyre and what not to do, take a look at the infographic below from First Aid Wheels (www.fawheels.co.uk).
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