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How to change a flat tyre step-by-step (with video)

16 November 2022

Knowing how to change a flat tyre is one of those life lessons that may only come in handy a few times, but when those times come, it can really pay off.

Auto Service Technician Robert Richardson shows how to change a flat tyre quickly and safely on your own. Check out the video for the step-by-step process and see how, with the right tools and a little bit of know-how, you can easily get yourself back on the road in no time flat.

Changing a flat tyre

How to know when your tyre is flat

You’ll probably notice an issue while driving – the steering wheel may become unstable, and you might hear and feel vibrations through the vehicle. You may also have difficulty maintaining your speed. In these cases, the safe thing to do is to pull over and inspect your wheels.

No matter where you are or how it happens, knowing the steps to change a spare tyre can get you out of a bind.

Items needed to change your flat tyre

  • A mini air compressor.
  • A car jack.
  • A ground sheet.
  • A lug wrench, aka a tyre iron.
  • Work gloves.
  • A reflector triangle.

Ensure vehicle safety

Pull over in a safe area well away from any passing traffic, and ensure the car is on level ground to keep any wayward wheels from rolling off. You can also activate your hazard lights and place out reflector triangles so other motorists know to keep an eye out.

If your car is a manual, put it into gear and have the handbrake on. If it’s an auto, make sure it’s in ‘park’ and lock the handbrake on.

Prepare to change the wheel

Lay out the ground sheet so you’re not working directly on any uncomfortable ground. Next, place the replacement wheel beneath the chassis to keep it out of the way during the switch.

Use your vehicle owner’s manual to locate your specific car jacking point. Not every car has the same jacking point, so double-check this to avoid damaging your car!

Jacking the vehicle

Before you start jacking the car, loosen the bolts. It’s easier to do this now than when the wheel is lifted – if you do it later, the wheel will just spin along with you!

Once the bolts are loosened, wind the jack until the wheel is off the ground. You don’t need to go overboard here – you just need enough space to get the wheel free.

Hold the wheel by its top and sides, then lift it up, move it off, drop it down and roll it away. Now you can place the old wheel under the chassis and grab the new one out.

Fitting the spare wheel

Lift and place the spare tyre on, lining it up with the bolts. You can just spin the wheel nuts on until they’re finger tight at this point – we’ll tighten them more in a moment.

Wind the jack back down and once all the weight is off, slide it out of the way. Now that the wheel is kept in place, use the lug wrench to tighten the bolts in sequence. Once they’re tight, that’s it – tyre changed!

Keep in mind that some spare tyres are what’s known as ‘space savers’. This means they’re not intended to be a full-time replacement, nor for use at a consistent high speed. They’re just to get you out of your current rut, so you can get home or to your nearest professional tyre technician.

Need some extra help?

If you’re after some extra help with stressful roadside issues, consider Suncorp Roadside Assist^. It’s an optional cover which can be added to our three levels of Comprehensive Car Insurance, from less than $95 per year.

It includes, but is not limited to:

  • 24/7 unlimited service callouts across Australia
  • free emergency fuel delivery worth up to $10
  • free tow to an accredited repairer up to 20kms from where you broke down, and
  • help with flat tyres or flat batteries.#

There are limits, conditions and exclusions which apply, so ensure to check the Suncorp Roadside Assist Terms & Conditions for full coverage details.

If you’re an existing customer, you can log in to My Suncorp or hop onto the Suncorp Insurance App and add it to your active policy. If you’re considering Suncorp Insurance for your Comprehensive Car Insurance you can add the optional cover when you take the policy out, too. It’s worth keeping in mind there's a 24-hour exclusion period from when the Roadside Assist option is taken out or added to your policy, so be sure to plan ahead!

Explore Suncorp Roadside Assist

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^There is no cover for Suncorp Roadside Assist during the first 24 hours of purchasing or adding the cover to your insurance policy. For full coverage details, please see the Suncorp Roadside Assist Terms and Conditions.

#Replacement battery cost is additional.

Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. The Target Market Determination is also available. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it's appropriate for you before acting on it.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.