Poor tyre maintenance was the most common reason for car accidents in Britain in 2016, and with many families set to hit the road this bank holiday weekend, it’s important the right checks are done to ensure a smooth journey.
According to the Department for Transport (DfT), 446 accidents over the 12 months were linked to defective tyres, beating faulty brakes to the top spot.
Often the roads we drive on can be unpredictable, particularly given the current pothole crisis plaguing British roads, and also if we’re away on holiday and unfamiliar with the area, it can lead to punctures.
For many, getting a punctured tyre will mean cancelling plans and waiting in a safe place for a breakdown recovery vehicle team, but we could actually soon be on our way if we were able to change the tyre ourselves.
Trusted Dealers offers some useful advice below on how to change a tyre.
Changing a tyre on a public road
If you think you’ve punctured a tyre and you are NOT travelling on a motorway, pull off the road to a safe area as soon as it is safe to do so, and activate your hazard warning lights to warn approaching traffic you are stationary.
Raising the bonnet of your car will also help to communicate to traffic that you have an issue. If you are travelling with a passenger, get them to keep a look out for approaching traffic while you see to the tyre.
If you are on level hard ground, you should be able to change the tyre successfully – soft ground will not allow the jack to be used correctly and you may need to seek assistance from a professional.
Locate your jack and wheel brace, making sure you know where these are located before you embark on a journey is a good idea! You should also locate the jacking points and find out how the jack works prior to a journey. Your tyre kit should contain a wheel chock which you can use on the other axle of the vehicle to keep it still.
Before you begin to jack up the car, loosen the wheel nuts slightly, remember the vehicle will be unstable after you’ve raised it so you may not be able to get as much leverage. One of the nuts will usually have a lock function so you’ll need to locate the unique key for this too.
Remember to jack your vehicle high enough to fit the new tyre (this means jacking the car higher than you will need to take the damaged tyre off). Wear protective gloves if possible to remove the damaged tyre as it may well have a sharp object protruding from it.
Tighten the wheel nuts until the wheel sits squarely on the hub and then lower the jack. Further tighten the wheel nuts with the vehicle stable. You will need to get the wheel nuts checked for tightness by a professional (when you repair or replace the punctured tyre).
If you are fitting a space saver spare tyre, remember the restrictions that it imposes i.e. you should drive on it at no more than 50mph and it should only be used to get you to a place of repair – not as a substitute for the correct tyre.
Changing a tyre on a motorway
Changing a tyre on the hard shoulder of a motorway should be avoided at all costs. If you have a puncture on a motorway, use the emergency phones to contact the emergency services who will send assistance to protect the area if required. Or arrange for your breakdown recovery organisation to assist you.