How to Change a Tyre: Cars and Motorbikes
Getting a tyre puncture on the road can be a terrifying experience. However, with the right tools, a safe space and a little confidence, changing a tyre will be easy. By having to change a tyre by hand, it serves as an important life skill for you and your friends. Here, we delve into the steps of how to change a tyre, at home or on the road.
The most important step of all is keeping you and others safe. Making sure to drive on the tyre slowly, and reaching a safe spot to park, before beginning. Of course, putting the car’s hazard lights on is also a must. For those new to driving, you should know that your hazards always need to be used, when there is a situation which can cause traffic, or may be a hazard to other road users. As such, this will indicate to other drivers that your vehicle has broken down in a dangerous location. Thus, a situation that can affect traffic.
When you park up, apply the handbrake so the car doesn’t move. If your car is automatic, select the park option. If there are other passengers, make sure they are safe, first. Before changing the tyre, retrieve the spare tyre first. You should also go ahead and grab the tools required from the car boot. Most new cars will have a “space saver” tyre kit. In which case, you’ll need to know how to use this, as a spare tyre won’t be given.
Prepping the Car
Before using the car jack to lift the car, drivers will need to loosen the wheel nuts. Most older cars, and cars with the optional spare tyre, will come with the essentials of tyre changing. These include a locking key and either a wheel brace or a wrench to loosen the wheel nuts. Make sure to turn the brace or wrench anti-clockwise (to the left) for them to be loosened slightly. Sometimes, a little bit of body weight will support the wheel nuts in moving, if they’re stiff.
If you have wheel chocks then place one on the opposite side of the flat tyre. Wheel chocks support the car is not rolling over when the car is jacked up. However, if the driver does not have a designated chock, a rock or a brick would be fine too. Make sure to use the chocks (or rock) on both the front and rear tyres. For example, if the left-rear tyre had a puncture, then the right front tyre would need the chock.
Lifting the Car Up
Every car has dedicated points where the car jack would go. First, the driver will need to sweep any debris and stones from the area, so the jack doesn’t get stuck. Drivers must then place the jack on the side, close to where the punctured or flat tyre is. Using a plank of wood will keep the jack stable when lifting the car too. When the jack is stable, carefully wind the car jack and raise the car slightly.
However, drivers can change a tyre without a jack. In this case, you can use a wooden block, a log or a tree stump. These will serve as blocking tools when they are slid to the closest point near the flat tyre.
After the stacking materials are placed, drivers will need to start digging a hole in the soil. Realistically, the hole should be a few inches deep so the axle and the flat tyre are supported.
Removing the Damaged Tyre
When the car has been raised, remove all the wheel nuts from the flat tyre. After, gently pull the flat or punctured tyre towards yourself until it has come off. Make sure to be careful when removing the tyre as it will be heavy. When it has been fully removed, lay the tyre on the ground, flat. Remember to keep the wheel nuts from the previous tyre safe, so they can be used for the new tyre.
Fitting the Spare Tyre
Before switching the tyre over, drivers must check that the replacement is the correct way round. However, if the tyre has the required nuts and bolts it should be easy to notice this. Keep in mind that the tyre will still be heavy!
When the new tyre has been placed, fit the wheel nuts in a diagonal order. For example, top-left and bottom-right, first. Once they have been placed, turn them clockwise for them to tighten. Be careful, as cars can slip from the jack or blocking materials. So, never get under the car as you are changing the tyre with the jack supporting it.
Lowering the Car Safely
After the new tyre has been fitted, the next step is to carefully lower the car. Using the car jack or blocking materials (if you change the tyre without a jack). Lower the car’s body so the spare tyre has made contact with the ground. When the car is firmly on the ground, remove the jack (or, again, blocking materials) from the area so there is nothing around the car.
Following the lowering of the car, drivers should think about double-checking the wheel nuts. Using a wheel brace or wrench, check if the wheel nuts are fully tightened on the wheel. When the driver is happy with everything, store the tyre tools and old tyre in the boot.
Make sure to check the tyre pressure as well. This is because the pressure inside the tyre will decrease over time. Take into consideration that there are other factors such as the weather, if it is hot the pressure will decrease when it is cold. Drivers can check this by using a tyre pressure gauge. Although, some pumps will give you a pressure reading, too.
Changing Motorcycle Tyres
There are many vehicles out in the world, but there is none that is quite like the motorcycle. However, changing a motorcycle tyre has some differences from a car tyre. For starters, you’re on a two-wheel vehicle instead of a four-wheel. In any case, to change a motorcycle tyre, at home or on the road, these steps should make it easier to swap them.
Removal of the Old Tyre
After finding a replacement tyre (much like having a spare for the car), either use stands or a jack to lift the bike. Once it has been lifted and is stable, you can remove the damaged tyre.
Next, create a mixture that is 50% water and 50% dish soap. This will make removing the tyre much easier. Spray this on the rim and tyre before continuing. This next part requires either a special tool or a good bit of body weight.
Motorcycle tyres have a bead that must be deflated and broken before removal – and this can be done with or without a tool. The tool is called a tyre spoon, which helps in lifting the tyre, breaking the bead in the process. However, if you don’t have the tool, using a little bodyweight and the top of your foot will provide enough pressure for the bead to break.
To lift the tyre, you can use either the tyre irons or zip ties. Using the tyre irons, lever one side of the tyre over the rim. Once one side is over, change to the other side by flipping both the rim and the tyre over. At this point, the tyre should be pulled free from the rim.
Fit the New Tyre
For the second time, spray the mixture, before checking the rotation markers on the tyre. Riders can also check the rotation orientation that is on the tyre rim with this easy method:
Firstly, push the first sidewall over the lip of the rim and grab the tyre irons. Next, take little “bites” and use the levers to lift the second sidewall over. The key here is to work slow and smart, spraying the mixture every two “bites” when lifting. Lastly, and probably most importantly, line the balance dots up with the valve stem that is on the rim. This will support you in balancing the wheel.
Inflate the new tyre and set the bead with an air compressor if you decide to change a tyre by hand, or at a gas station. As the bead starts to set, it can become very loud. Double-check that there are no wrenches, fingers or toes near the rim as it can pinch any nearby objects. Also, check that the beads are not leaking, since this can cause disastrous consequences. Not to mention the need to reinstall the tyre. After, riders can either go to the local repair shop, or the nearest one if you are travelling, to have a second opinion.