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AA Guide to changing a tyre

Punctures are the second most common cause of breakdowns

Each year we track the most common vehicle break down causes our break down recovery Patrols respond to and more often than not it’s the simple vehicle faults that are stopping motorists in their tracks. Following flat batteries, punctures are the second most common cause of break down reported to AA Rescue. 

Here AA Patrol, Trevor Freeman, who has been rescuing broken down Irish motorists for more than 7 years, shares his step by step guide on how change your car wheel quickly and safely following a puncture.

Getting started on your puncture

  • First things first, secure your car. That means putting the vehicle into first gear, making sure the hand break is on and that the car is on flat level ground.
  • Secondly, lay out your wheel change tools safe from oncoming cars. You’ll need your spare tyre, jack, towing eye and wheel brace. Here at AA Rescue we also encourage motorists to carry a hi-vis vest and triangle in their vehicles. During the wheel change, you should wear your hi-vis vest and place the triangle at least 20m behind the car to alert other drivers.

Removing the punctured wheel from your car

Taking off the hub caps

  • Firstly, you need to get the hub cap off the car wheel in question. A tip to help you with this is to use your car’s towing eye as it’s got a little screwed edge on the corner.  Lip it underneath the edge of the hubcap and pull it off to expose the wheel nuts.

Removing the wheel nuts

  • Some vehicles have an anti theft nut. You’ll need to start with this. You’ll find the key for this in the car’s glove compartment or in the boot of the vehicle along with your car’s other wheel changing equipment.  If you can’t find it, refer to your vehicle manual. Once it’s off you can start on the 4 other wheel nuts.
  • You’ll need to slacken these off before jacking up the car. Using the wrench supplied with your vehicle, slacken off the 1st wheel nut followed by the opposing nut. Continuing until all 4 are slackened.

Jacking up the car

  • You're now ready to jack up your car. Each car has a jacking point which is reinforced. If you put it into the wrong position you can damage the vehicle severely. Check the diagram on top of your car’s jack or in your vehicle manual to help locate it. Then slide it underneath the car in the indicated position then turn the handle of the jack to raise your car.  

Removing the punctured wheel from the car

  • You are ready to remove the wheel from your car. Your wheel nuts are already loosened so you can now just pop them out. Put them somewhere safe so as not to lose them.
  • You can then pull the wheel off your car.
  • Here at AA Rescue, we recommend that you slide the punctured tyre underneath your vehicle as an added precaution in case the car falls off the jack. 

Fitting the Spare wheel to your Car

  • Roll your vehicle’s spare tyre until it’s in front of the exposed hub then gently lift it onto the wheel and rotate until it lines up with the 4 holes.
  • Start one nut, then the opposing nut, then the other two. Next remove the punctured tyre from beneath your car.
  • You can then wind down the handle of your vehicle’s jack, nice and slowly until the car is on the ground. Then remove the jack from beneath your car.
  • Tighten up the wheel nuts by turning them clockwise using a little bit of force, getting them as tight as you physically can.
  • Then call into your local garage where they’ll tighten them right up.

Don’t forget to replace your car’s spare wheel

  • Have your punctured tyre repaired or replaced and placed back in your car without delay.

To read more about the most common break down causes attended to by AA Rescue visit our blog here. Or if you’re interesting in becoming an AA Member, to secure motoring peace of mind, click here.