Have you been caught out by a puncture, or perhaps worse, experienced a tyre blowout while driving? Thankfully, changing a wheel is relatively simple process but you’ll still want to do everything possible to avoid the situation altogether. Having a tyre fail at high speed can put you and your passengers in a dangerous situation and likewise, being faced with changing a tyre on a busy road is also something you’ll want to avoid.
Keeping up good tyre maintenance habits is essential if you want to avoid problems. Ensure you regularly check to make sure that your Vauxhall’s tyres are correctly inflated. It is best to check the pressure of cold tyres every two weeks and before you undertake any long journey. Make sure you don’t forget to test the pressure of the spare tyre too, otherwise you might face the possibility of not being able to rely on it when you need it most. Poorly inflated tyres increase wear and can lead to internal damage, resulting in tread separation and perhaps even complete tyre failure. When checking pressures, also inspect your car’s wheels and tyres for damage, which can be caused by everything from curbs and objects on the road to poor road surfaces. If you find any cuts, disfigurements or potential damage then make sure you get a specialist at Pentagon to take a look as soon as possible.
Of course, despite your best efforts when it comes to maintaining your tyres, it is still quite possible for the worst to happen. It’s important to remember that if you do not feel safe or comfortable changing a tyre, regardless of your location, then you should request assistance from a friend, family member or a professional organisation. Never attempt to change a tyre on a motorway – it is simply too dangerous. Move to the hard shoulder and call for help.
If it is safe to do so and you feel comfortable changing a wheel, then first of all make sure your Vauxhall is stopped on a level surface that is firm and won’t allow the car to skid or move. Make sure the front wheels are pointing forward and that the handbrake is on. You’ll also want to put the car in gear, so either select first, reverse or P if you’re driving an automatic.
The next thing you’ll need is the spare wheel. This has a steel rim and will probably be located in the load compartment of the Vauxhall’s boot, beneath the floor covering. The wheel is secured in place with a wing nut, which you will need to undo before it can be removed. It is important to remember that the use of temporary spare wheels can affect the drivability of the vehicle and so the wheel will need to be replaced again at the earliest opportunity. There will be a label on the wheel indicating a maximum speed – note this speed and remain below it to ensure your safety. Directional tyres need to be fitted so they are rolling in the direction of travel. You can check this by referring to the side of the tyre wall where you’ll find an arrow. Only ever attempt to change one wheel on your Vauxhall at a time.
If you can’t already see the wheel nuts then you will first need to remove the wheel’s cover. Use the supplied hook. If the wheel bolts are already visible then you can carry straight on. With alloy wheels it may be necessary to remove the bolt caps by using a screwdriver – it’s a good idea to mask the head of the screwdriver in a piece of cloth to prevent damage to the wheel. If the vehicle has locking wheel bolts, you’ll also need to fetch the key (which is probably in the glove compartment) and fit this into the wheel wrench before loosening the bolts half a turn each.
Once all of the wheel bolts have been loosened, you will need to raise the vehicle. Take your jack and use it to lift the car off the ground so you will be able to remove the damaged wheel. It’s best to remove any heavy objects from the car, along with passengers and any pets beforehand. You’ll find the jacking points on your Vauxhall behind the front wheels and in front of the rear wheels. It’s important to note that certain Vauxhall’s can’t be jacked up because of sill panelling and doing so could cause damage to the vehicle. Once you have set the jack to the correct height for your vehicle so it is resting directly below the jacking point, fix on the handle and rotate it slowly and steadily so the car is lifted off the floor.
Take your wheel wrench once again when the tyre is clear of the ground and finish loosening the bolts. You will then be able to slide the wheel free. If the wheel does not want to come off easily you may need to apply some pressure or give it a sharp knock to dislodge it. However, it is vital to take additional care at this point not to destabilise the vehicle and dislodge the jack.
Once the damaged wheel is free of the car, it is simply a case of repeating the above points in reverse by replace the damaged wheel with the spare and then doing up the bolts once more so they are finger tight. Lower the jack and bring the car back to the ground before taking the wrench once more and finishing the bolts in a clockwise order. Replace your tools and remember to check the pressure of the newly installed tyre as soon as possible. You will also want to head to the nearest Pentagon service centre at the earliest opportunity in order to have your damaged wheel replaced or repaired.
Via Pentagon Vauxhall