Changing a Flat: A Guide to Car Tube Repair Techniques

While tubeless tires have become the norm in modern cars, many older vehicles and some commercial trucks still utilize tube-type tires. When faced with a flat tire on a vehicle with a tube, knowing how to change it effectively is crucial. This guide by Top Car Removal in Sydney delves into the essential techniques for changing a car tube, ensuring you get back on the road safely and efficiently.

Safety First:

Before attempting any tire repair, prioritize your safety:

  • Park on a flat, stable surface away from traffic.
  • Engage the parking brake and set wheel chocks behind the wheels opposite the one being changed.
  • Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.

Gathering the Necessary Tools:

  • Jack: Consult your car’s owner’s manual to locate the designated jack points and ensure you have the appropriate jack for your vehicle.
  • Lug wrench: This tool is used to loosen and tighten the lug nuts that secure the wheel.
  • Tire iron: This tool helps pry the tire bead off the rim.
  • Patch kit: This kit contains patches, rubber cement, and a roughening tool to repair the punctured tube.
  • Spare tire: Ensure your spare tire is inflated to the correct pressure.

Step-by-Step Guide to Changing a Car Tube:

  1. Loosen the Lug Nuts: Using the lug wrench, slightly loosen the lug nuts on the flat tire while the car is still on the ground. Do not remove them completely at this stage.
  2. Jack Up the Car: Locate the designated jack points on your car’s frame and carefully raise the car until the flat tire is off the ground.
  3. Remove the Lug Nuts: Once the car is jacked up, completely remove the lug nuts and set them aside in a safe place.
  4. Deflate the Tire: Use the valve stem to deflate the tire completely.
  5. Remove the Flat Tire: Pry the tire bead off the rim using the tire iron, starting from one side and working your way around the entire circumference.
  6. Inspect the Tube: Carefully remove the tube from the tire and inspect it for the source of the puncture.
  7. Repair the Tube (if repairable):
    • Roughen the area around the puncture with the provided tool.
    • Apply a thin layer of rubber cement to both the patch and the tube around the puncture.
    • Firmly press the patch onto the puncture, ensuring good adhesion.
  8. Mount the Repaired Tube: Place the repaired tube back inside the tire.
  9. Re-inflate the Tire: Inflate the tire to the recommended pressure, as indicated on the tire sidewall.
  10. Mount the Tire Back on the Rim: Carefully position the tire back onto the rim and use the tire iron to pry the bead back onto the rim edge.
  11. Tighten the Lug Nuts: Screw the lug nuts back on hand-tight, then use the lug wrench to tighten them in a star pattern. Ensure they are secure but not overtightened.
  12. Lower the Car: Carefully lower the car using the jack and remove it.
  13. Double-Check the Lug Nuts: After lowering the car completely, re-check the tightness of the lug nuts to ensure they are secure.

Additional Tips:

  • Carry a spare tube: Having a spare tube readily available can save you time and hassle in case of a puncture.
  • Practice makes perfect: Familiarize yourself with the process beforehand to avoid fumbling during an actual flat tire situation.
  • Seek professional help if unsure: If you are uncomfortable changing a tube yourself, it’s always best to seek assistance from a qualified mechanic.



Knowing how to change a car tube can be a valuable skill for drivers of older vehicles or those who frequently travel in remote areas. By following these steps and prioritizing safety, you can effectively repair a flat tire and get back on the road with minimal inconvenience. Remember, practice and a well-equipped car kit can make the process smoother and less stressful.