Everyone has suffered the irritation of a puncture, the only response being to get the car off
the road to a safe position and get on with the knuckle bashing business of changing it!
BUT, if you cannot move the car to a safe position or feel unable to change the wheel and if you
are a member, it's time to call out the Rescue Services.
If you are able to, change the wheel.
If one of the passenger tyres is the problem, and the car is parked well off the
road then change it, but DO NOT attempt to do so if the puncture is on the driver's side
as this puts you too close to the oncoming traffic.
If the flat tyre occurs on a motorway NEVER attempt to change it if on the passenger of the
car even if you are parked on the hard shoulder.
Put on hazard flashers and set out a warning triangle - if you have one - approximately 100
yards behind the car angled towards the oncoming traffic
Apply the handbrake firmly
Locate the spare wheel, jack and wheel brace - usually under the boot floor or nestling in the
inner rear wing of the boot
Place the jack ONLY under the jacking points shown in the car's handbook
Before raising the car, lever off any hub cap with a large screwdriver and ease the wheel nuts off
just one turn - this makes their later removal easier
Jack the car up and, if possible, place a support under it before removing the wheel
If on soft ground ALWAYS place a stout board or similar under the jack to spread the load
Slowly raise the car enough to remove the flat tyre plus a couple of inches to ensure clearance
for the new tyre
Carefully put the wheel nuts into the upturned hubcap as you remove them and put the hubcap where
you will not knock it over - we've all done it
A good tip is to place the removed wheel, on it's side, partly under the car until the spare
wheel is on, this will prevent further damage to the car if it falls off the jack but, more
importantly, may prevent injury to anyone partly under the car
NEVER get under the car while just on it's jack. Those jacks supplied as standard are intended for
temporary use ONLY and more substantial supports are needed if working under the car
If you lack leverage to loosen the wheel nuts then carry a more substantial wheel brace or an
extension tube. Those supplied with the car are rarely strong enough or long enough for sufficient
leverage. " Spider " type wheel braces fit a variety of wheel nut sizes and are the best all
With the new wheel carefully slipped on over the studs in the hubs, replace the wheel nuts,
bevelled end towards the wheel. Initially hand tighten them, working on opposite pairs so
that the wheel beds evenly. Tighten further with the wheel brace
When finally tightening it is best to stand partly on the lever to ensure that they are tight
enough. Wheel nuts should always be tightened opposite pairs at a time to ensure that the wheel
Replace the hub cap.
ALWAYS have the tightness of the wheelnuts checked by a garage as soon as possible.
DON'T forget to get the spare repaired or replaced soon you never know when you will need it again.
Many car spares shops now sell one shot inflator cans which seal and inflate the tyre enough to
run for several miles. These instant kits do not always work, being unable to deal with large holes, but are a
worthwhile addition to any car boot as they may save the need to change the wheel. They are highly recommended
for women drivers who may lack sufficient strength to lift a modern, wide, wheel and tyre into place.
The makers instructions must be followed very carefully.
Article © Graham Benge 2007
Further advice from
First Aid Wheels :