Here’s How To Change The Wheel On Your Car & It’s Surprisingly Doable, Actually

Ever gotten a flat tyre? We did (in a Tesco car park), and learned the hard way how to change it, all so you don’t have to.

Young woman changing a tyre

While it’s safe to say we don’t have too much mechanical mettle – we clearly prefer to spend our money on shoes, lipsticks and the latest IT bag – we think it behoves every car owner to know a little about the machine they’re managing. That came right back home to me while running out of Tesco one cold night – wearing said shoes, a slick of lippie and brandishing the lovely bag (big enough to carry ALL of my groceries, natch) – when I stopped dead in my tracks.

Stock your boot with the following:

  • Spare wheel
  • Socket spanner
  • Car jack
  • Jack handle
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • And for safety, a reflective triangle, fluorescent jacket and torch

The tyre on my car was flat. FFS. Srsly: FFS. I contemplated leaving the stupid banger but I knew it would be clamped, and I couldn’t afford to shell out for the fine.

So I called everyone I knew – I literally had no clue how to change a tyre, I mean a wheel. See? Thankfully my bro arrived on the scene to bail me out. As he struggled with spanners and jacks, I sat on the ground beside him, calling out unhelpful instructions according to Google, and shoving YouTube clips of strongmen removing wheels with just their bare hands in his face.

When it was all over, I drove home at 5mph, terrified the thing would fall off. That weekend I had a date with my dad in the driveway. Step by step, he showed me how to change a wheel. And now, in true sisterhood style, I’m paying it forward.

This is how you do it:

  1. Try to make sure you park away from traffic, pull the hand brake, and put the car in first gear.
  1. Remove the hub cap using the flathead screwdriver – just slide it in behind the cap and yank.
  1. Fit the socket spanner over each wheel nut and turn in an anti-clockwise direction (you may need to use one foot to stand on the spanner as the nuts are usually really tight and your body weight can help get it moving). Loosen – but do not remove – the nuts.
  1. Find the jacking point under the car – this is really important. You’ll notice two small location points (like half circles) in the metal, to the left for rear wheels and to the right for front wheels.
  1. Once the jack is correctly positioned under the jacking point, hook the jack handle through the end of the jack. Wind it up (in a clockwise direction) until contact is made with the car. Keep going until there’s a space (about 3 inches) between the wheel and the road)
  1. Remove the wheel nuts, then the tyre – it should lift off easily.
  1. Fit the new tyre by lining up the bolts with the holes.
  1. Replace the wheel nuts, using your hand first and then a socket spanner to fit the nuts (do not tighten them fully as it’s easier to do that when the car is lowered).
  1. Lower the car. Turn the jack handle anti-clockwise and remove the jack when the car is fully lowered.
  1. Tighten the wheel nuts with the socket spanner. You might want to stand on the spanner again to give them a good squeeze. Replace the hubcap (you’ll notice a space in the design of the hubcap, this parts goes over the air valve).
  1. You’re done! Remember – repair or replace the old tyre as soon as possible. Your spare tyre is just that – a spare – and not designed for regular road use.