How to Change a Tyre - Step by Step

May 29, 2014


Car & Road Injuries


Richard Greenwood


Changing a tyre is something most of us will have to do at some point in our lives. If you have not done it before the idea may seem daunting if you get caught with a flat tyre on your own. By being prepared and knowing these simple steps you can get yourself back on the road in no time.

Be prepared and get back on the road quickly and safely

Instructions to change a tyre
How to change a tyre step by step diagram

Before you start

Kid and woman changing car tyre

The first step is to pull over in a safe place at the side of the road, try to park on flat solid ground if possible. Make sure your that:

  • The engine is off
  • The handbrake is on
  • Hazard lights are on
  • All passengers and heavy luggage are removed from the vehicle
  • Your hazard warning triangle is set up a safe distance behind your car if you have one (reflective triangle, more common in European cars).
  • Put on high-vis jackets if you have them in your car. 
  • Most importantly, don’t attempt to change a tyre unless it is safe to do so. If it is not then either wait until it is or call a breakdown service such as RACQ for assistance.

Equipment to change your flat tyre

Equipment for changing flat tyres

Typically your spare tyre will be contained underneath the boot well or attached to the back of your car. Some vehicles include a full size spare tire while others use space saver wheels which can only be used at reduce speed.

You will need the following equipment;

  • the spare tire itself
  • A scissor jack (which is used to lift the car up)
  • Wheel brace (the spanner like device to undo and tighten the wheel nuts).

All of these are typically contained along with the spare tyre. You should be able to find additional information specific to your vehicle in the manual if you have this in your glove box. If not you should be able to search online for the information.

Time to start

Now you've got all the equipment it's time to start.

Step 1: Loosen

Step one is to loosen the wheel nuts on the flat tire before you jack it up. 

Tip: If you are having trouble loosening the nuts then apply your body weight through your foot.

Step 2: Raise it

The next step is to raise the car using the jack. Take a look under the car to make sure you have positioned it in the right place.  Raise the jack until it's supporting but not lifting the car.  The jack should be firmly in place against the underside of the vehicle. Check to make sure that the jack is perpendicular to the ground.

Tip: To find the correct jacking point for your vehicle, be sure to refer to the owner's manual.  Failure to do this could result in damage to the underside of your vehicle. Every car is a little bit different. Below is an example showing a jack point for a 2011 Toyota Corolla.

Placing a jack under the car
Toyota Corolla 2011 jackpoint

And here is an example of what can happen if you pick your own ‘jack point’ using guess work instead of the correct point!

Jack placed in the wrong spot
BMW with wrong jackpoint damage. Source:Reditt

Step 3: Unscrew and remove

It’s now time to use the wheel brace to unscrew each of the wheel nuts and then remove the wheel. You may need to use some force if there is a build up of rust or brake dust.

Note: If you have plastic hubcaps/wheel covers instead of alloy wheels then you may need to remove these to access the wheel nuts.  

Step 4: Fit it

Fit the spare wheel on to the wheel hub making sure the wheel hub is clean and free of dirt and rust, then screw back on the wheel nuts.

Tip: Make sure the spare wheel is fully inflated. It’s a good idea to go to a service station when you can to double check the inflation level.

Step 5: Lower

Now you should carefully lower the jack without placing the full weight on the tyre.

Step 6: Tighten up. 

Once on the ground you can tighten the nuts properly and completely lower the vehicle.  Remove the jack, place the flat tyre & equipment back in the boot and then you are good to go.

Important: If you are using a space saver tyre then be sure to adhere to the maximum speed limit (typically 80kph) and arrange to get a new tyre fitted as soon as possible. If you have a full size tyre then it's best to arrange a replacement or repair as well as getting the other tyres checked.

Tip: Many punctured tyres can actually be repaired by professional tyre shops if they still have plenty of tread. This can be much cheaper than purchasing a new tyre.

If you prefer a video walk through then this one provides a helpful guide:

What if my car has no spare tyre?

What you need to do in this situation depends on the reason for having no spare tyre. If your car is meant to have one then you will need to call for roadside assistance.

Some modern cars such as the Tesla Model 3 simply come without a spare tyre. In this case you should call the recommended roadside assistance number for your vehicle. If you have run-flat tyres then your vehicle may be safe to drive at low speeds to the nearest repair centre. If you sense the car isn’t safe to drive then be sure to stop and seek proper assistance.

Richard Greenwood

Marketing Manager at Smith's Lawyers. Advocate for road safety and fan of technology that makes the roads or workplaces safer.

Marketing Manager at Smith's Lawyers. Advocate for road safety and fan of technology that makes the roads or workplaces safer.