How to change a wheel safely

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

To save space and weight, many new cars have a punc­ture re­pair kit — sealant and com­pres­sor — rather than a spare wheel. If you don’t have a spare it’s a good idea to fa­mil­iarise your­self with the kit pro­vided so you’ll know what to do if you do get a punc­ture.

If your car does have a spare it’s a good idea to prac­tise chang­ing a wheel at home in the day­light when the weather’s warm and dry. Then, if you do suf­fer a punc­ture you’ll be able to cope more easily, even if it’s dark, cold or wet.

Given a safe en­vi­ron­ment, the right tools and some ba­sic knowl­edge, chang­ing a wheel on any ve­hi­cle should be fairly straight­for­ward

For your own safety Don’t try to change a wheel on the hard shoul­der of a mo­tor­way or at the side of a road. Turn off or pull over well away from the traf­fic and call for help.

Don’t try to change a wheel on soft, loose or un­even ground.

Don’t try to change a wheel with pas­sen­gers still in the car. Move ev­ery­one to a place of safety, well away from the ve­hi­cle and car­riage­way.

Don’t work un­der a car while it’s raised on a jack.

Don’t try to use the jack any­where other than at the spec­i­fied jack­ing points — at­tach­ing the jack in the wrong place can cause dam­age to the car and/or risks it col­laps­ing when lifted.

What you’ll need Hand­book — show­ing where to at­tach the jack

Spare wheel — with ad­e­quate tread and cor­rectly in­flated Ve­hi­cle jack Wheel-nut wrench with ex­ten­sion bar and lock­ing wheel nut adap­tor if fit­ted At least one wheel chock Gloves — the wheel/tyre will be dirty Some­thing to kneel on — the ground will be dirty too

Sharp knife or cut­ters to re­move ca­ble ties if these are used to hold wheel trims in place Torch Re­flec­tive jacket and sen­si­ble/strong shoes for your own safety

Be­fore lift­ing the car 1. Plan the job so that the ve­hi­cle is raised for the min­i­mum amount of time.

2. Switch off the en­gine and turn on the haz­ard lights.

3. Ap­ply the hand­brake and en­gage first gear (or ‘P’ if an au­to­matic).

4. Chock the road wheel di­ag­o­nally op­po­site the one to be re­placed.

5. Re­move the spare from the boot/car­rier — a car­rier un­der the ve­hi­cle may be rusty and

dif­fi­cult to move.

6. Lay the spare on the ground where it will be con­ve­nient for fit­ting.

7. Re­move the wheel trim (if fit­ted) — you may have to cut ca­ble ties and/or lever the trim off.

8. Place the jack in the rec­om­mended lift­ing point clos­est to the wheel to be re­moved.

En­sure that the jack head en­gages cor­rectly (as shown in the hand­book) and ex­tend the jack un­til it just starts to lift the car on its springs. Don’t lift the car any fur­ther yet.

9. Slacken off the wheel nuts/bolts (most turn anti–clock­wise to undo) us­ing the ve­hi­cle’s wheel brace and lock­ing wheel-nut adapter if re­quired. (There might be a pro­tec­tive cover over lock­ing wheel nuts).

10. Keep your back straight and body weight evenly dis­trib­uted on both feet. Ap­ply ef­fort down­ward and in a con­trolled way so that when the nut fi­nally ‘breaks’ you won’t lose your bal­ance or fall over. You can achieve greater ef­fi­ciency by ap­ply­ing con­trolled ef­fort through the foot, but only if you can sup­port your up­per body.

Lift­ing the car Raise the jack to lift the ve­hi­cle suf­fi­ciently so that the wheel is just clear of the ground.

Re­move the slack­ened wheel nuts/bolts while keep­ing the wheel in po­si­tion on the hub us­ing a knee or toe — leave the top one un­til last so that both hands are free to lift the wheel away from the hub.

Fit­ting the spare Fit­ting the spare is the re­verse of the re­moval pro­ce­dure — se­cure the wheel by re­fit­ting the top bolt/nut first, and tighten all the nuts by hand first in stages and in a di­ag­o­nal se­quence.

Don’t oil the bolts/nuts be­fore re­fit­ting them, as this will make them more likely to work lose.

Care­fully lower the wheel to make con­tact with the ground be­fore fully tight­en­ing the wheel nuts — again in di­ag­o­nal se­quence.

Stow the dam­aged wheel safety. Re­place it in the car­rier or boot well.

And fi­nally If the spare is a tem­po­rary-use ‘skinny’ spare, note any re­stric­tions on use — they’re typ­i­cally lim­ited to 50mph and should be re­placed with a nor­mal tyre as soon as pos­si­ble.

Some dash­board lights may come on while a space saver spare is used be­cause sys­tems like ABS, trac­tion con­trol and some au­to­matic gear­boxes can be up­set by odd tyre sizes.

check/ad­just the pres­sure in the ‘new’ tyre as soon as pos­si­ble

get the wheel nuts tight­ened to the cor­rect torque fig­ure as soon as pos­si­ble

re­place or re­pair the dam­aged tyre as soon as pos­si­ble. — theaa.com

It is im­por­tant to use ap­pro­pri­ate tools when chang­ing wheels to en­sure safety.

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