Is It Safe to Change a Tyre on an Incline?

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Changing a tyre on an incline may not be most people’s ideal situation of changing a tyre, unfortunately sometimes we get into situations where we are forced to.

So, is it safe? Changing a flat tyre on an incline is not recommended for the obvious reason that the car could roll away. If you must change tyres on an incline, following safety precautions and using a wheel chock can reduce risk.

This article will outline the key considerations before you proceed and share some helpful advice about how to do it in a manner that is as safe as possible.

Reasons For and Against

Research has shown that is not recommended to charge your tyre on an incline, but it some situations where a tyre has become completely deflated and there is no flat surface within a reasonable driving distance, you may not have a choice. Here are the key things to consider:

Reasons Against Changing on an Incline

  • A jacked up car can be unsteady at the best of times so adding a slope introduces extra risk
  • Gravity will not work in your favour and the car could roll whilst you are changing the tyre
  • Depending upon which tyre is flat, you could put yourself in danger if you are working on the side of the car at the lower end of the slope
  • Extra tools are needed such as a choc to hold your wheels in place

Reasons in Favour of Changing on an Incline:

  • If you try driving too far with a flat tyre, this could be bad for the tyre and dangerous in the long term
  • Moving a car with a known fault on a busy road can be considered reckless driving and land you with a penalty (although you will be permitted to move it a reasonable distance to make the change)

At the end of the day, you’ll need to make a judgement on the safety of changing the tyre based on your own situation, the slope of the road, how busy it is, how flat the tyre is, etc.

What to Do If You Get a Flat Tyre on a Hill

If you are a car mechanic novice or you do not feel comfortable with tampering with your car, in this situation it will be a good idea to seek professional roadside assistance. There are plenty of reliable breakdown services you can call such as the AA, RAC or Green Flag.

You may already have roadside cover through your car insurance or if you purchased your car from a dealership with a service package.

If calling roadside assistance is not an option for you and you are happy to take matters into your own hands, here is a guide on how to change a tyre safely whilst being on a hill:

1. Avoid the situation if possible:

Try to look for a flat spot to move your car to, the flatter the surface the better as there is more risk involved with changing a tyre on a steep inclined surface.

Don’t worry about driving a little further with a flat tyre, providing you drive slowly and with hazard lights on, a little extra distance shouldn’t do too much harm. If your tyre has been punctured by a screw or sharp object, do not remove this before driving onwards as it can let more air out.

2. Make sure you have the tools

Before attempting anything, make sure you have the equipment needed. You’ll need a jack, a lug wrench (or an impact wrench is easier), a wheel chock and, of course, a spare tyre. If you don’t have the tools, then you’ll definitely need to call for help.

3. Park in the safest way

Once you are on the flattest part of the slope, you should align your car safely:

If you are perpendicular to the slope, with the flat tyre that needs changing on the higher side then this should be okay, if the flat tyre is on the lower side then you should move the car to a more suitable position before attempting anything as the car will be very unstable and if something did go wrong whilst changing the tyre, you would be in a dangerous position.

If you are facing up or down the slope, make sure your wheels are in a right-angled turn, as this will help to ensure the wheels are locked into place and this will prevent a vehicle from sliding down.

4. Secure the wheels

Use a wheel chock as this will also help to stop a vehicle’s wheels from moving, this is particularly important. If the car is facing downhill, place the chock under the opposite front tyre of the flat tyre. If you don’t have a wheel chock, you can often get by with large stones found at the roadside.

5. Loosen the lug nuts before jacking up the car

This is standard procedure when changing a tyre, but even more paramount on an incline. You should loosen the lug nuts while the car is completely on the ground. If you try to loosen a tight lug nut when it is jacked up, the wheel will spin and you could rock the car.

6. Make the change

Now you can jack up the car and make the tyre change. Try to keep the jack perpendicular to the car. When tightening the lug nuts, remember to remove the jack first so that the car is flat, as we mentioned when loosening them.

Can you change a tyre on a driveway?

There is not a yes or no answer to this, it really depends on the size of the drive way and the extent of the slope.

Whilst it is safer to change a tyre on a drive way instead of a public high way, it is not always the best option. Follow the same advice shared throughout this article to help you decide which location is has the least risk.

Safety Precautions

Remember these essential tips when attempting to change your tyre on a slope:

  • Ensure the jack safely lifts the vehicle.
  • A wheel chock is essential, and you should not carry out the task of changing a tyre without it.
  • Make sure the wheels are parked at a right angle.
  • If the slope is very high, do not attempt to change a tyre on that surface.
  • If all else fails, call for roadside assistance.

Final thoughts

It is possible to change a tyre on a small incline, if adequate safety measures are put into place and providing the incline is not significant. Changing a tyre is something which is important to get right, and some people may require help from their peers as tyre can be heavy. Lastly, if in doubt seek professional assistance or advice.