Changing a flat tyre

How to Change a Flat Tyre?


A flat tyre is something no one ever wants to be confronted with. However, even with very well maintained premium tyres, a sharp object on the road can pierce your tyre and cause a puncture. For this reason, knowing how to change a flat tyre can be a useful skill to have.

Not only that but changing a flat tyre is not as difficult as you might think. If you prepare your car with the right equipment and follow important safety guidelines, you’ll be able to replace your flat tyre yourself and be on your way. 

Close up of car

Equipment You’ll Need to Change a Flat Tyre

  • Spare Tyre – It goes without saying that you’ll need access to a fully inflated spare tyre. Checking your spare tyre is in good working order should be part of your regular tyre maintenance routine.
  • Vehicle handbook – keeping your vehicle manufacturer’s handbook in your car means you will always have access to important information when you need it. In this case, knowing where to attach the jack to avoid damage to your car.
  • Wheel chocks – using wheel chocks help to secure your vehicle by preventing your inflated tyres from rolling. The chocks are usually supplied with your spare tyre kit. If not, you can use alternatives such as heavy bricks.
  • Jack – your car may have been supplied with the manufacturer’s jack, which will be designed for your car.
  • Locking wheel nut key – some vehicles have locking nuts for security. You’ll need the right key to unscrew these wheel nuts.
  • Wrench – your wrench will need to fit the nuts or bolts on your wheel to unscrew your flat tyre and then secure your spare.
  • Warning triangle – display this to help alert other drivers that you are a hazard to them while you change your tyre.
  • Gloves – If you have a puncture, you should protect your hands with a good pair of gloves to avoid hurting yourself. The last thing you want is to cut yourself on a sharp rusty nail.
  • Head Torch – In case you need to replace a flat tyre in low light, you should always have a working torch in your car and more specifically a head torch to ensure your hands are free.
  • Reflective jacket and a raincoat – Make sure other road users can see you easily and protect yourself from a downpour of rain. 

How to Change a Flat Tyre

It is recommended to practice changing your tyre on a sunny day at home to understand where the jack points are and how to work this, rather than figuring these points out for the first time on a dark, wet evening. Here’s our step by step guide on how to change a flat tyre:

  1. Park away from traffic and on a flat surface – you need to think about your safety and the safety of other road users. If you can’t find a suitable spot, do not attempt to change your tyre. Apply your handbrake and turn off the engine.
  2. Use your hazard lights – this will alert other road users that you are a potential hazard. A high visibility jacket and an emergency warning triangle can also be used to increase your safety and ensure that you are seen by oncoming traffic.
  3. Consult your vehicle manufacturer’s handbook – if there are any specific instructions for changing your flat tyre, follow those.
  4. Place wheel chocks or bracing material in place – this will prevent rolling and increase stability. If you are facing slightly downhill, place the chocks or bracing material in front of the wheels. If you are facing slightly uphill, place the chocks or bracing material behind the wheels.
  5. Loosen the wheel nuts - remove hubcaps or centre covers so that you can access the lug nuts and then turn the nuts anticlockwise to loosen them using the wrench – you don’t want to loosen them all the way, just enough so that you can undo the nuts by hand when then the car is jacked.
  6. Lift your vehicle with the jack - line the jack up properly to make sure it’s in the right place to prevent damage to your car. Check your manual if you’re not sure where it should go. Begin to jack the car up while keeping pressure on the ground. Make sure the jack remains straight and stable. Finish jacking the car up so that you will have enough room to slip the tyre off easily.
  7. Finish unscrewing the nuts – place them to one side and make sure you know which way round they go when it comes to re-attaching them. By placing them in a pocket or inside the car this will ensure they do not go missing before you have changed the tyre.
  8. Remove the flat tyre – this may take a little force and the wheel will be heavy, so be careful. Place it to one side, out of the way. If you cannot remove the wheel, seek assistance.
  9. Put on the spare tyre and place the lug nuts in the correct positions – tighten the lug nuts a little with your tyre wrench, this time turning clockwise. Tip: Make sure the lug nuts are tight but don't use too much force. This may knock your car off the jack.
  10. Lower the jack – until the car is back on all four wheels.
  11. Properly tighten the lug nuts with the wrench - Make sure they are as tight as you can get them and don’t forget to pick up the flat tyre and all of your equipment before departing.
  12. Stop and check – it’s a good idea to check that the lug nuts are still tight after driving for a few miles.

Tyre FAQs

Remember that spare tyres are only a temporary solution. So, once you’ve changed your flat tyre, you should drive to a tyre dealer who can advise on repairing your tyre or replacing it. You should also be guided by your vehicle manufacturer’s handbook on your spare tyre’s speed restrictions or driving distance. 

Changing a flat tyre should take around 30 minutes. However, the important thing is not to rush and make sure you go through each step carefully. The last thing you want to do is leave one wheel nut loose or forget your warning triangle because you wanted to change your flat tyre quickly. So if you need an hour, take an hour. 

Sharp objects are the most common cause of flat tyres. This could be a nail, broken glass or a sharp piece of metal lodged in your tyre. There are other causes too, such as bad road conditions, incorrect tyre inflation or damaged rims. Read our guide on fixing flat tyres for more information. 

You can minimise the chance of getting a flat tyre by choosing the right tyres for your car and maintaining those tyres well at all times. This includes keeping your tyres at the optimum pressure levels and not overloading your car with too much weight. You should also be careful where you drive and keep an eye out for any sharp objects on the ground or potholes in the road. However, even the most careful of drivers might still suffer a flat tyre, so it’s a good idea to understand how to change one. 

You shouldn’t be tempted to drive on a flat tyre. Instead, come to a stop as safely and as quickly as possible. If you drive on a flat tyre, you are likely to cause damage to the wheel or even the suspension of your car. And if you do that, it will result in a much more costly repair than a new tyre. 

If your car has run on flat tyres, you will not have a spare tyre supplied with your vehicle. Instead, the reinforced wall of run-flat tyres should allow you to continue driving for around 50 miles at 50mph (unless your vehicle manufacturer’s handbook advises otherwise). This should give you enough time to get home, or to visit a dealer to have the tyre replaced or repaired. Visit the Goodyear website for a guide to Run Flat Tyres.

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