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How to change a wheel

Changing a wheel is a lot easier than you think, as long as you follow these simple steps it will enable you to sort out a flat tyre and be on your way again in no time at all. It is important though to ensure that your spare tyre is kept in good condition, and inflated properly. If it's flat or has hardly any tread, it won't be much use to you in an emergency.

You will need some basic equipment to change a wheel. The essential items are a wheel brace and a working jack, these normally come with any new car but you might want to double check that they are in the boot just to be sure. It is also helpful to have a couple of small blocks of wood so you can wedge one of the wheels to ensure it does not move. You may also need a flat blade screwdriver to lever off the wheel trims.

If you have not done this before it might be an idea to practice the procedure on sunny day at home. The chances are when you have to do it for real it will be at the side of the road in the pouring rain - so the quicker you are the better!

What to do

  • Apply the handbrake and put a manual transmission car in first gear or an automatic transmission to P. Use the blocks of wood (if you have them) to chock the wheel that is diagonally opposite the one you are changing

  • Get the spare wheel, jack and wheel brace from the boot

  • Remove the wheel trim from the wheel if it has one, you may need to lever them off with a flat blade screwdriver. Use the wheel brace to loosen each wheel bolt/nut on the wheel by about half a turn

  • Put your car jack under the jacking point closest to the flat tyre. Push the spare wheel half way under the car near the jacking point, just in case the jack slips. Raise the jack up until the wheel is about 40mm (a couple of inches) off the ground

  • Remove the wheel nuts completely and lift off the wheel. Pull out the spare wheel from under the car and put the flat one in its place

  • Put the spare wheel on the hub and hand tighten all the wheel nuts back in place. Tighten up all the wheel nuts with the wheel brace until they are just holding the wheel firmly, pull out the flat tyre from under the car and lower the jack

  • Tighten up one wheel nut securely with the wheel brace, then tighten up the one diagonally opposite. Tighten the remaining wheel nuts in a similar fashion, and push the wheel trim back on

  • When you are done, put the wheel back in the boot and secure it along with the tools. If you have a pressure gauge, check the tyre pressure is correct and top up if necessary with a foot pump or at the nearest service station

  • Don't forget to get your spare wheel repaired as soon as possible, you made need it again sometime!

If you have been involved in a road accident that wasn't your fault, just give us a call on 0845 6768898 or start your free claim enquiry using our online claim form.
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