The roads can be unpredictable, and when it comes to hazards such as potholes and nails, it’s a game of chance when or where drivers may get a puncture. For drivers that want to change their tyres themselves, such as those in your grey fleet, providing advice on how to do so safely will help to avoid any road-side incidents.
On the motorway? If you have a puncture on a motorway, pull over and exit the vehicle on the left-hand side. Use the emergency phones or a mobile to alert Highways England or a breakdown cover provider to the situation.
1. Find a safe place to change your tyre
- Slowly reduce your speed and look for a level, straight stretch of road where any approaching vehicles have a greater chance of seeing you.
2. Warn other drivers
- Place your warning triangle at least 45 meters behind your vehicle (do not use a warning triangle on a motorway). Use your hazard warning lights and if you have a passenger, get them to act as spotter and warn you of approaching traffic.
3. Secure the vehicle
- Ensure the handbrake is applied and use wheel chocks on the other axle of the vehicle to keep it from moving when changing the tyre.
4. Loosen the wheel nuts
- Do this before using the jack. The vehicle will be unstable after it is raised, and you’ll be able to get more leverage when it is on the ground. Remember one of the nuts is likely to have a lock function and will require the unique key.
5. Find the jacking points
- It’s worth looking in your vehicle owner’s manual for the location of the jacking points. The right place is usually beneath the vehicle frame alongside the tire that’s flat.
6. Raise the vehicle
- Use the jack to raise the vehicle, making sure to raise it high enough to fit the new tyre (this will be higher than required to remove the old).
7. Remove the wheel nuts and the tyre
- Fully unscrew and then remove the flat tyre, gripping the tyre by its tread. It’s worth wearing gloves to protect yourself from any sharp objects that may have caused the puncture.
8. Mount the spare wheel and tighten wheel nuts by hand
- Place the spare wheel on the hub by lining up the rim with the lug bolts. Tighten the wheel nuts by hand until the wheel sits squarely on the hub.
9. Lower the vehicle and tighten further
- Use the jack to lower the vehicle until the tyre touches the ground and is stable. Then use the wheel brace to do a final tighten of the wheel nuts.
10. Remove the jack
- Lower the vehicle fully and remove the jack. Make sure to stow all of your equipment and leave nothing under the vehicle.
11. Check the pressure in the spare wheel
- Check the pressure so it’s safe to drive on. If fitting a space saver spare, remember the restrictions that apply i.e. no more than 50mph (80kph) and that they should be used to get you to a place of repair – not as a substitute for the correct tyre.
12. Visit a tyre technician
- Don’t drive at high speeds or long distances on a spare wheel, visit a tyre technician as soon as possible and get your punctured wheel repaired or replaced.
Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, said: “Punctures are much rarer these days, but the risk associated with conducting a tyre change has increased with the volume of traffic. Safety has to be your main concern but if you cannot get to a safe area to make the change; get the vehicle off the road and call for assistance. A vehicle recovery service will have access to professional equipment which will allow a much speedier repair to be conducted. If you are in any doubt, call for help.”