Changing a tyre has become a bit of a lost art. Having found themselves stranded with a flat, some drivers will roll up their sleeves and give it a go.

Many do a perfect job, but for others, things don’t exactly go to plan.

RAC Patrols receive regular callouts to help those who’ve begun to change a flat tyre when they’ve struck a problem, either due to missing tools, not following correct procedures or other issues related to the spare or flat tyre.

RELATED: Spare tyres - what you need to know »

Here are six of the most common issues RAC Patrols come across when members call for help while changing a tyre:

1. Using incorrect jacking points

Placing the jack in the incorrect position under your car and jacking it up can damage your car. The jack could also slip from under the car and injure you.

If you’re unsure where the jacking points are, check your owner’s manual. It will vary with the type of vehicle you have but they are generally just behind the front wheels and just in front of the rear wheels. These points are reinforced and made to hold the car’s weight on the jack.

Raising a car with a jack
Make sure you place the jack directly under the correct jacking points

2. Alloy wheel rims are stuck

This one can catch out even the most experienced motorists. Alloy wheel rims that have not been removed for some time can become stuck to the hub, just behind where the tyre sits, due to corrosion.

3. Not having the necessary tools

It’s not something many people check at any point, even when they buy a car, but if there are tools missing from your car’s jack kit you won’t be able to finish the job. RAC Patrols report that the tool most often missing is the locking wheel nut key. This key is needed for cars where the nut is not the standard type and can only be undone with the correct key.

A locking wheel nut on a car tyre
Some wheels have wheel nuts that require a lock wheel key tool to undo

4. Wheel nuts and studs can’t be loosened

This can be an issue even for those with well-developed biceps. If the wheel nuts have been over overtightened at the last workshop visit they can be almost impossible to loosen by hand. Overtightening can also cause irreversible damage to the threads.

5. An unsuitable spare tyre

The most common problems seen with spare tyres are low air pressure or a tyre that’s too old and has cracks or not enough tread to be safe to drive on. All tyres deteriorate due to age, even the spare, so it’s worth checking both its air pressure and also general condition from time to time. Another problem RAC Patrols come across is having a spare wheel from another car that simply won’t fit.

Tyre with cracked rubber
Check your spare tyre from time to time to make sure the rubber hasn't deteriorated

6. Aftermarket alloy wheels don’t match spare

Where aftermarket alloy wheels are fitted that differ from the original wheels it may mean the wheel nuts in the aftermarket wheels are different to those on the standard spare wheel so they can’t be used.

Know what's in your spare tyre kit

When buying a used car, check that it has a suitable spare in good condition with the correct air pressure. Also check that it has a suitable and complete jack kit. Check it against the description in the owner’s manual to be sure.

It’s always inconvenient to change a tyre but it’s especially disappointing to have to wait for a tow truck because your spare can’t even be used. Most importantly, if you do take on a flat tyre, do it safely, with the car on level ground, the handbrake on and make sure you’re positioned away from the traffic while working on it.

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Last updated: November 2020