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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 rounders
  • 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 beds evenly
  • 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

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