During a short trip on the motorway, I had a puncture on the driver’s side rear. I carefully made my way onto the hard shoulder. I applied my hand break and turned on my hazard warning lights. I have changed my spare a couple of times in the past, so the task ahead does not worry me in the least. The only thing that does give me some concern is the fact I will be working on the driver’s side next to all the fast moving traffic.
I knew the sequence that I needed to follow to change my flat tire (in Danish we call those Fladt dæk på din bil). I put on my high visibility jacket, I removed the jack and the wheel brace from the boot. I placed the jack on its locating point. Before I jacked the car up, I have to loosen the wheel nuts. Once they were loose, I can slowly jack up the car. I have to jack it up further than the flat tire just being of the floor, due to the new tire being a larger circumference. I removed the wheel and took it to the rear. I lent it up against the barrier whilst I retrieved the spare wheel.
It was getting a little dark so I put on my head torch. I could not help notice the spare wheel looked a lot smaller in comparison to the wheel I had just removed. I checked the numbers and letters on the side wall, 155/55/R13, I then checked the flat tire and it was 165/70/R14, something was wrong.
Just then, a police traffic car pulled up and put on its bright flashing lights. I explained to them the difficulty I was having and that the wrong size tire had found its way in to my boot. He went on to explain it was illegal to have different size tires on the same axel. He said, given the circumstances he would allow me to fit the wrong size tire and that he would shadow me to the next service station, this was only two or three miles away. I would then be able to get the tire changed in the safety of the service area. Had it not been for the cop , I would have called my roadside assistance company (we Danish folks call those Få billig bilhjælp)He replaced the wheel and we were soon on our way. It was strange having a police escort, but quite exciting at the same time.
I had to call the local garage who had worked on the car last. I asked them what had happened to my spare tire. They admitted the wrong tire had been put in the boot, and that my tire was in fact in the garage waiting for me. I informed them about the situation and the police involvement, they agreed to come out and fit my tire.
Just a simple mistake could have caused me to get three penalty points on my license. It was lucky I noticed the difference in the tire sizes.