How to Change a Car Tyre


  • Although the bolts on the wheel may be removed in any order, I always make it a habit to remove them in a cross-star order; meaning if there are five bolts and they were numbered in a clockwise order of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, they would be removed in the order 1, 3, 5, 2 and 4. This is very much like drawing a star from point to point. If there are 4 bolts, then it would be in the order 1, 3, 2 and 4.
  • BUT, when replacing the tyre, the bolts should be installed in this cross-star order. The bolts should not be completely tightened one after another, but gradually tightened in the cross-star order described above. The final complete tightening will take place only once the jack is lowered and the weight of the car is resting on the tyre.

Removing and replacing a car tyre is a skill that every motorist should learn to do. If you are stuck with a punctured tyre in a remote part of town, knowing how to change a tyre may not only get you going on your journey but perhaps also save your life.

Following my recent encounter with a huge and deep pothole, I found myself in a situation where a punctured tyre needed to be temporarily replaced with a spare.

Speaking of spare, it would do you good to periodically check that your spare tyre in the car boot has sufficient air.

In my case below, I had found that the spare tyre was not only flat but that the valve was leaking and could not contain the air within the tyre. The spare tyre had to be first sent to the workshop to get the valve replaced and the tyre filled with air before I could proceed.



It pays to heed the following warnings and precautions before you commence with the tyre replacement. Too many accidents have occurred and lives lost because of carelessness and lack of awareness. Even plain common sense is worth repeating. Kindly take note of the following precautions:

  • Always ensure that your car is stopped deep enough by the side of the road, and that you’re do not run the risk of being hit by a moving car on a busy road. This has happened too many times in my country, it is ridiculous!
  • You should use a hazard cone, reflective emergency triangle or other forms of warning to indicate to other road users that your car is stopped by the side of the road. If you do not have one, see the links below, purchase and keep one in your car boot. Wear a high visibility neon yellow or orange safety vest while working on your car if you have one.
  • Turn on your hazard or signal lights to draw attention to other road users of your emergency situation, whether it is day or night.
  • When using a spare tyre, do not exceed the maximum allowable speed which is usually indicated on the tyre. This is typically between 50 to 80 km/h. To be safe and if unindicated on the tyre, do not drive faster than 60 km/h on a spare tyre.

Read on for a step-by-step procedure for changing a car tyre.
IMPORTANT: Before removing your tyre, ensure that your car is in the PARKED or P position if it is of automatic transmission type. For a manual car, you may put it in first gear but this is not really necessary. For either car transmission type, ensure that your handbrake is engaged!

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Removing the Punctured Tyre

how to change a car tyre
1. Grab the wrench from the trunk and loosen the bolts one by one. DO NOT loosen it completely, but just slightly out of their locked position. A quarter turn of the bolt should suffice.
how to change a car tyre
2. Use the weight of your body for leverage by stepping and rocking your weight on the wrench for bolts which are too tight and cannot be removed by hand. This will always do the trick, but be careful not to rely on the wrench entirely to bear your whole body weight as you run the risk of slipping or falling off. Support yourself with your hand on the car body, and have the other leg on the ground, and lift it up slightly only if you require more force. Remember, this is just to loosen the bolts from its locked-tight position.
how to change a car tyre
3. Next, get the jack from the trunk and place it on a flat ground surface with its fixed vise aligned to the ridge on the underside of the car, as shown above. Turn the screw with your hand or the accompanying lever rod until the underside ridge is sitting inside the channel of the fixed vise and the base is snug against the ground level.
how to change a car tyre
4. Turn the screw with the lever rod in the clockwise direction to lift the car up.
how to change a car tyre
5. Check by pushing the tyre slightly. You may stop jacking the car up once the tyre is just touching the ground surface, without the weight of the car resting on it. If the tyre can rotate slightly, that’s fine too.
how to change a car tyre
6. Proceed to remove all the bolts from the wheel with the wrench. Once all the bolts have been removed, you may jack the car slightly higher until the tyre is free to rotate.
how to change a car tyre
7. Remove the tyre and wheel from from the axle and put it aside.

Replacing with a Spare Tyre

how to change a car tyre
8. Install the spare or a new tyre onto the axle. Note that for some spare tyres, there is a hole on the wheel to which a guide pin on the axle is supposed to fit through, as pointed in the above photo. However, do not be surprised to find your spare tyre wheel without this additional hole.
how to change a car tyre
9. Replace the bolts and tightened them by hand.
how to change a car tyre
10. Replace all bolts in a cross-star order. The tightening at this point should only be hand tight and not completely tight. If you try to tighten tightly with a wrench at this point, the wheel will begin to rotate freely, assuming the tyre is off the ground, so…
how to change a car tyre
11. Lower the jack by turning the screw counterclockwise until the weight of the car just rests on the tyre. The jack should still prop the car up a little and left where it is.
how to change a car tyre
12. Tighten all the bolts tightly with a wrench in the cross-star order. It is important to follow this order at this stage. If your arm is not strong enough to generate sufficient torque, you may step on the wrench handle end slightly, but do not jump or put your whole body weight on it.
how to change a car tyre
13. Once all bolts have been tightened tightly, lower the jack completely and remove it from under the car.
You’re good to go!

That’s it…you’re done! You may choose to make sure that all bolts are tightened properly once more after this, before driving the car off at the maximum allowable speed not exceeding 80 km/h.




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