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How to change that flat tyre with ease

Published:Sunday | September 1, 2019 | 12:15 AMPaul Glenroy Messam - Automotives Writer

Dean m, who has been driving for over 10 years, describes the tyre on a motor car as a big rubber donut. Donuts can be eaten, but tyres eat the road. Apart from providing a comfortable ride and adhesion to propel and to stop the car, the tyres play a vital role in a vehicle’s handling characteristics.

“Maintaining the recommended tyre pressure based on the gross weight of the car is vital,” says Michael Smith, digital marketer and tyre repair specialist. “Heat is a tyre’s greatest enemy, plus underinflation, along with sustained high speed that generates fantastic temperatures,” he adds.

According to Smith, to drive with tyres that have only one-sixteenth inch or less of tread depth is inviting an accident.

When tyres are worn to a point where only one-sixteenth inch of tread depth remains, the indicators show up as a smooth band across the face of a tyre. A driver does not have to be a tyre expert to determine how his or her tyres are wearing. A sight inspection will reveal if the tread is wearing off one section of the tyre faster than another.

“Running the finger tips over the tread surface will also help,” Smith advises. Sometimes a puncture is caused by a nail being driven through the tread. A bent nail can scuff and weaken the carcass from inside. During his experience of dealing with tyres, some of the things that cause the tyre to go flat include glass bottles, bones, ceramic materials, and scrap metals. It is advised that there always be a properly inflated spare tyre in your vehicle.

STEP 1: If you are driving and realise that you have a flat tyre, it is best not to stop abruptly or turn immediately. Slowly reduce your speed and observe the surroundings. Find a levels straight stretch of roadway on which to stop.

STEP 2: As the vehicle comes to a complete stop, switch on your hazard lights or flashers.

STEP 3: Time to apply the parking brake. Whenever you are going to replace a tyre, use the parking to prevent the vehicle from rolling.

STEP 4: Try to retrieve stones, a brick, or board and place them under the wheels. Be reminded, if you are changing the rear tyre, to carefully place the stones in front of the front tyres. If you are changing the front tyre, place the stones behind the rear wheels.

STEP 5: Next, carefully remove the hubcap or wheel cover with your lug wrench. Remember to check the car owner’s manual for the correct hubcap removal procedure.

STEP 6: Time to loosen the lug nuts. With the use of the lug wrench, turn the lug nuts counter clockwise until the resistance is broken. A little extra strength will be needed for this task. Loosen the lug nuts about quarter to half of a turn, but DO NOT REMOVE them completely.

STEP 7: At this point, place the working jack under a firm section of the vehicle. The safe place to place the jack is usually beneath the vehicle frame alongside the tyre that is flat. Again, check the car owner’s manual for the correct way to lift in order to prevent unnecessary damage.

STEP 8: Now it’s time to raise the motor car with the use of the jack. Place a piece of board beneath it before attempting to raise the car. When the car is properly positioned, slowly raise the car until the flat tyre is approximately five to six inches above the ground. (Keep your body away from under the car.)

STEP 9: At this stage, unscrew the lug nuts all the way. Having loosened them before, you can now unscrew the lug nuts even with your hands.

STEP 10: Remove the flat tyre by gripping it by the treads. Pull it gently towards you until it is completely off. Place the tyre on its side to prevent it rolling away.

STEP 11: Carefully mount the spare tyre on the lug bolts. Ensure that the rim is lined up with the lug bolts then gently push the tyre until the lug bolts show through the rim.

STEP 12: Tighten the lug nuts by hand. Carefully place the lug nuts back on the lug bolts and tighten them all the way with your hands. When they are all on, double-check each one again and tighten as much as possible. You can further tighten them with the wrench after lowering the car to the ground.

STEP 13: Wow! The task is almost complete. Lower the car, with the use of the jack, so that the spare tyre is resting on the ground, and tighten the lug nuts as much as you can. Then tighten the lug nuts with the wrench in a clockwise position. Push down on the lug wrench with the full weight of your body.

STEP 14: At this stage, lower the vehicle completely. Bring the vehicle all the way to the ground and then remove the jack. Ensure that you give a little pull with the wrench to ensure that they are reasonably tight. Then replace the hubcap in the same manner you removed it initially.

STEP 15: Return all the equipment that was used to the trunk. Cautiously drive to a tyre-repair shop to check on air pressure and to repair the punctured tyre without delay. Keep in mind the old adage, ‘Delay is danger ... and a word to the wise is sufficient”.