Car Advice

Tyre Tales 3: How to change a flat tyre

A flat tyre can happen at the most inconvenient time. Do you know how to change a flat tyre? Some of our readers didn’t… luckily there was someone there to help out

We’ve just given away $500 worth of tyres to one lucky winner.  All you had to do was write in with your tyre experiences, and our team has picked the one we felt had the best lesson for others. But we’ve published most of the entries because there’s something in there for everyone.

This time – can you deal with a flat tyre? 

MAYBE YOU CAN  Maybe you can’t.  It’s not that hard, and is a good weekend project.  Once you get proficient it can be done in under ten minutes, and my personal record is, with a friend, changing a flat while a traffic light was red before it turned green. We realised it was flat as we were slowing and leapt out the car as it stopped, one to the jack, one to the wheelnuts. Lucky it was a long red!
 
How to change a flat tyre
If possible, ensure your spare tyre is the same as the other four. If the spare is a different diameter you are likely to damage your transmission and confuse the car’s stability systems.
 
Even if you can’t change the wheel yourself there’s plenty of other people who can and will.  But of course, you actually do need to have a spare wheel and tools for them to use.  Here’s some stories from our readers, submitted as part of the Goodyear tyre competition:
 
I was very pregnant and pulled over because something felt funny with one of the tyres. It turned out to be a flat. I have no idea on how to change a tyre and being very pregnant I couldn’t bend and left very well anyway. I did have roadside assistance but didn’t have their number and my phone was about to run out of battery charge. I managed to call my husband who was working on the other side of the city and couldn’t help but was trying to ring roadside assistance for me. I was about to break down crying as I was very emotional with my pregnancy when a lovely gentleman pulled up beside me and asked if I needed help, I sure did! He was so great at reassuring me and changing my tyre for me. I also managed to ring my husband back and let him know that this lovely gentleman had pulled over to help, I just got the words out when my phone went dead. Talk about perfect timing all around. I couldn’t thank him enough for pulling over and helping after so many others just drove passed staring at me.
 
I have since put the number for roadside assistance in my phone for any future emergencies and I make sure I have more than 10% battery life on my phone before I leave home. This also let me know that there are still people in the world who will stop and help.
 
PRACTICAL MOTORING SAYS : Can’t add anything more to that!
 
It was peak hour on one of the busiest roads going into the Sydney CBD, three lanes full of traffic, I get a flat tyre. Not only that, my mobile was flat too! 

I managed to find a park on the side of the road (in a bus lane).  My mother had insisted that real ladies knew how to change their own tyres, if only I had listened. 
Then out of the blue, a gentleman came over, changed my tyre, wished me a good day and left.  I made it to work and the Sydney traffic kept flowing.  Would have been cool if I had changed it myself though!
 
PRACTICAL MOTORING SAYS :  Isn’t it funny how the mobile goes flat at the same time as a tyre?  Keeping a cheap 12v USB charger and cable in the car is no bad idea.
 
A few years ago my wife and I were travelling in a Mazda Astina from Winton to Hughenden Queensland on our way to Townsville. At this stage the road was completely dirt for about 210 km. About 120km from Hughenden I had the misfortune to hit a hidden rock which split the sidewall on a rear tyre. The road was not heavily used but whilst changing the wheel every car or transport stopped to enquire if we were OK. With about 500km still to go to Townsville we had to rely on our spare wheel as small western towns do not carry a great range of sizes. Last year we purchased a SUV. We test drove a lot of vehicles and whilst most were good to drive we dismissed any vehicle without a full size spare as we do a lot of country driving.

Finally in July last year we settled on a MY14 Kia Sportage Platinum diesel. We have travelled 15000km so far and this vehicle covers large distances so effortlessly and is not tiring to drive. An excellent purchase.
 
PRACTICAL MOTORING SAYS  : They changed the tyre themselves, but it’s notable how many offers of help they had.  In general, the fewer cars you see on a road, the more likely it is one will stop and offer help. And the advice about full-sized spares… absolutely spot on, could not agree more even if you’re not heading offroad.  Tyres remain by far the most likely part of a vehicle to fail, so it makes a lot of sense to carry a complete, repairable, spare tyre once you head out of the city limits.
 
Now what’s interesting here is the common theme – did you spot it? The stories are of men helping women. So, are there any ladies out there who have changed tyres for helpless men?  Write in if you are that lady, or that man!

Tyre Tips

  • If you buy second-hand, make sure the spare tyre and all the gear are included;
  • If you buy new, ditto, but also get the dealer to throw in a full-sized spare if it’ll fit in the car;
  • Practice a full tyre change one sunny Saturday morning;
  • Your spare tyre will age, change it every 5 years regardless of us; and
  • Check tyre inflation pressure every month. Open the driver’s door and look for the tyre placard, and definitely check before a long trip with a heavy load.

How to change a flat tyre

How to tell if you’ve got a flat tyre

  • Extra noise – thumping, flapping.  Your passengers may pick this up first;
  • Poor handling – car doesn’t brake or turn as well as it used to (especially with a front tyre out);
  • Harsher ride, not as smooth as before;
  • Stability control coming in when it normally doesn’t; and
  • People yelling and pointing!
Pull over as soon as you feel something wrong. If you stop immediately the tyre may be repairable, but the longer you drive on it, the greater the chances of unrepairable damage.
 
 
 


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[…] Tyre Tales 3: How to change a flat tyre – A flat tyre can happen at the … Keeping a cheap 12v USB charger and cable in the car is no bad idea. A few years ago my wife and I were travelling in a Mazda Astina from Winton to Hughenden Queensland on our way to Townsville. At this stage the road … […]

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[…] Tyre Tales 3: How to change a flat tyre – A few years ago my wife and I were travelling in a Mazda Astina from Winton to Hughenden Queensland on … out there who have changed tyres for helpless men? Write in if you are that lady, or that man! If you buy second-hand, make sure the spare tyre … […]

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper