Changing a car tire nowadays! Should it be this hard?

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PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
1,271
MA
I had VW/Audi from 1983 - 2015. They use bolts. They sell a stud you can screw in to make it easier to get wheels started.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,563
Philadelphia
At least you have a spare tire. My new MINI came with run flats.
My car doesn't even have that. In the big styrofoam case under the trunk floor, where you'd normally stow a spare, SRT placed an electric air pump and a fancy can of fix-a-flat.
 

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
1,271
MA
I ordered a space-saver spare with my 2022 Escape. It's an option. Very reasonably priced, too, as an option. Someone on the Escape forum had his dealer price out the components to add it. Much more expensive.

Both our '12 and '14 Escapes have space-saver spares.

My wife will be ordering a Bronco Sport when they open the 2023s. The model she wants comes with a full-size spare.
 

fbelec

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2005
3,322
Massachusetts
the full size spare tire has to be used on a positrac front or rear or you'll burn the clutches in the differential. if anybody ever gets a tire stuck on the rotor or drum that you can't kick loose put all the lug nuts on then unscrew them 1 turn start driving and slam on the brakes. that usually jars them loose. i use brake grease or anti sieze which ever i have, but if you rotate your tires every other oil change they don't freeze in place and the bonus, you get more milage out of the tire. ( from my tire guy )
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,563
Philadelphia
I ordered a space-saver spare with my 2022 Escape. It's an option. Very reasonably priced, too, as an option. Someone on the Escape forum had his dealer price out the components to add it. Much more expensive.
fbelec beat me to it, but my car has a posi rear... so no option to use a space saver.

I like that trick for knocking stubborn lugs loose. Never had to resort to it, stomping on the iron always worked. But my method can be rough on the feet if you're wearing loafers or crocs, when the flat occurs.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,924
Downeast Maine
My car doesn't even have that. In the big styrofoam case under the trunk floor, where you'd normally stow a spare, SRT placed an electric air pump and a fancy can of fix-a-flat.
The inflator is pretty nice. I used it at the drag strip when I had my SRT8 Challenger and aired down the tires. Then I kept it when I sold the car and used it at autocross events in future vehicles till it finally died many years later.
 
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Corey

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
2,698
Midwest
At least you have a spare tire. My new MINI came with run flats.
At least you got run flats. My wife's car came with a plug kit and an air pump. They didn't even include a little note to say "good luck!"
fbelec beat me to it, but my car has a posi rear... so no option to use a space saver.
...
If you have a 'square' set up... all road tires the same size... you could always take the 'long way around'. Replace the rear flat with a good tire from the front, then put the space saver in that spot on the front. Definitely not fun, but if you're stranded in the middle of the Sahara or something...!!
 
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JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,872
Wisconsin Dells, WI
I have summer/winter wheels for both of our daily drivers, so I get to swap them every 6 months or so. The benefit is I don't have to worry about overtightening (as I do it myself) or the lugnut rusting on (as they are removed so often).
 
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tlc1976

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2012
1,049
Northwest Lower Michigan
I have summer/winter wheels for both of our daily drivers, so I get to swap them every 6 months or so. The benefit is I don't have to worry about overtightening (as I do it myself) or the lugnut rusting on (as they are removed so often).
That and you don’t have to deal with shops backed up for days or weeks when winter comes. Just change them whenever you want. And for free.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,337
Northern NH
That and you don’t have to deal with shops backed up for days or weeks when winter comes. Just change them whenever you want. And for free.
I am of the same opinion, for my daily drivers I always try to keep them for at least six years and buy spare steel wheels for winter use. It means I can delay swapping over to snow tires compared to waiting in line at a gas station. I do admit it took me a bit longer to swap out my tires last winter as I was on crutches with one leg in walking cast healing up from surgery. It took me bit longer but still a lot less hassle.

My Unimogs use the same size rim and tire but they only get driven locally an not in the winter. I have the tools to swap them over myself as the closest place with tire machine than can handle them is 45 minutes away. Come to think of it mounted the last two sets of regular tires myself. I just do not have way to balance them but I do have balancing beads for the Unimogs if I was going to do a lot of highway driving
 

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
1,271
MA
I also swap out to my snows as late as possible and take them off as early as possible. Recommended that the soft compound in snows not be run a lot when the temperature is consistently above 45 F (7 C). 7-degree rule.

I was going to get steelies for the winter than chanced upon a great looking wheel. BBS VZ wheels for my wife's New Beetle were $170 each, and I think for my Audi $179 each. Very surprised that a BBS wheel was that inexpensive

We pulled into a shopping center and a BMW pulled in near us. My wife commented that the driver is staring at our car. He asked about the wheels. I told him. "You have BBS for winter wheels?" Said they were $179 each. Said he was going on Tirerack as soon as he got home.

Sold both sets to a friend that's an Audi tech. He eventually sold one of the sets to another tech.
 
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PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
1,271
MA
These be them. :)
IMG_3830 - Copy.JPG
 

coaly

Fisher Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2007
4,565
NE PA
I had VW/Audi from 1983 - 2015. They use bolts. They sell a stud you can screw in to make it easier to get wheels started.
Ex VW-Audi dealer tech here from the 80’s.

Any wheels using bolts are easily loosened by rapping on the bolt with a hammer. Not enough to deform the head, but pounding it in loosens them right up. None of them had caps that would be damaged doing this, but most mechanics back then beat each one with a good size hammer first before removing.

I see a few recommendations of using anti-seize on wheel lug threads here. Manufacturers want them torqued and left dry. You can use a little engine oil to lubricate threads, but grease and anti-seize on lug studs or bolts is a no-no.

I personally remove all my wheels when buying a vehicle, coat the alloy wheels mating surface with anti-seize to prevent from sticking to hub, and torque fasteners in a star pattern. You are also supposed to retorque after driving about 100 miles. Some will turn down slightly when retorqued. I maintain my state inspection license in PA, but no longer work at a official inspection station to use it. If I have my vehicles inspected where I know they remove wheels (legally required in PA to remove 1 front, 1 rear minimum) I break them loose and torque when I get it home.
 

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
1,271
MA
Ex VW-Audi dealer tech here from the 80’s.
My '87 GTI 16v was from Young VW in Easton. Had it over 9 years, 175,000 miles. Great car.
 

coaly

Fisher Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2007
4,565
NE PA
My '87 GTI 16v was from Young VW in Easton. Had it over 9 years, 175,000 miles. Great car.
They were our nearest competing dealer. My wife did dealer swaps for them, I was at Pocono. Before that it was Weiss VW. 3 years in the shop, then became their Service Advisor, more like Assistant Service Manager with a new title.

They had a body shop in the back and a RV sideline that sold travel trailers. One day the owner came into the shop telling us they were closing down the RV dealership and had a few leftovers to sell, and the RV guy already left. They needed a volunteer from the shop to add accessories and install hitch and wire the last couple buyers vehicles. I volunteered. That sparked my interest in RV’s and when the dealership closed I went to a local RV dealer to work more on the “house” of motor homes and travel trailers than the automotive side. 3 years with the RV dealer in the Poconos, I went to Dewalt’s RV until starting my own RV business. During winter when my RV business was slow I worked for a propane co. one winter, and Steamtown as a locomotive mechanic another winter. That’s how I got involved with local gas companies selling 12 volt gas appliance RV parts to them that their suppliers for residential equipment didn’t have. That led to working for a few gas companies on a referral basis and doing more gas work in homes and commercial kitchens during winter when my RV customers were winterized over the winter. Home heating led to solid and gas fuels, and more classroom time with gas, wood and coal manufacturers. And here we are after 25 years in the heating business, still using the basics of automotive mechanics keeping my stuff going.
 

Don2222

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
8,898
Salem NH
NASCAR just announced the cars will have aluminum wheels instead of the steel wheels.
Therefore they know having the old 5 bolt steel lug nuts would be a REAL problem holding the wheels on securely due to the increased expansion & contraction properties of aluminum!
Therefore they invented a large single bolt system specially designed to hold Aluminum wheels on securely!
Now why didn’t any of the automakers think of this????
See
https://m.nascar.com/news-media/2020/03/02/nascar-single-lug-nut-design-wheel-next-gen-car/amp/
vid 1

Vid 2

Reason for new NASCAR wheels
https://buildingspeed.org/2020/03/05/nascar-nextgen-wheels/

2702E061-BE5F-4E2C-B885-CAB0AFE574F0.png 7008EFBB-B9EA-46E4-8E8A-710BB053F5E5.png
 
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Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,719
Fairbanks, Alaska
In my experience "torque sticks" are better than an impact wrench with an impact socket on them, but I don't like them for my vehicles. Like a previous poster in this thread I have two sets of rims, one with summer tires, the other with winter tires. When the time comes to switch, all I need is a jack, a torque wrench and some time. When I go to the tire shop, all they get is my rims to mount tires and balance, I do my own changes.

I once upon a time had a car with a finicky suspension and learned to torque in a star pattern to 50 ft/lb first pass and then final torque, usually about 100 ft lb, final pass - with the car on the ground. Same with loosening as another poster has already said, I get the jack under whatever corner, raise the vehicle maybe a quarter of an inch, break the lug nuts free maybe a quarter turn, then raise the vehicle on the jack, and retorque on the way out once the tire is touching the ground. I want just enough weight on the tire to take the torque, with most of that corner's weight still held by the jack.

The nice thing about the fussy car, when I had street tires replaced, I could do a couple burnouts on the way home to burn the shipping finish off the rear tires, then rotate F-R same day by hand with my torque wrench and a star pattern, and have an excuse to make a little more tire smoke next time the car was on the street.

What I learned to do on the fussy car in 2004 that is still working flawlessly for me is 50 ftlb first pass star pattern, 100 ft lb (check your manual) final pass - then drive a quarter mile or so with 4 lefts and 4 rights - a largish figure 8- retorque to 100ftlbs and relax.

I have been using a notably expensive cold weather lube on my studs to minimize rust. I just read the label, Tetra Gun Grease. It is about a dollar per gram and works great on cold weather firearms and my wheel studs. I started lubing my wheel studs when I was driving 70s and 80s GM products with pass through lug nuts that left the tip of each wheel stud exposed to the weather. I will try motor oil this fall when I change again, I just want a rust inhibitor on there- historically I get 250k to 400k miles out of my Toyotas- and have a lot of tire rotations on the way.
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,719
Fairbanks, Alaska
Therefore they invented a large single bolt system specially designed to hold Aluminum wheels on securely!
Knock off wheels were used on some C2 Corvettes - 1963 to 1967 - and had been in use on English vehicles for a while already in 1963.

This link should take you to a 1954 Jaguar XK 120 with knock off wheels. You want a leather mallet for these so as to not mar the chrome finish...

 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,719
Fairbanks, Alaska

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,924
Downeast Maine
I took a few ASE certification courses and there is no rule about re-torqueing lugs every 100 miles. How would any service station be able to do that? The currently accepted practice is to use an impact gun with more torque output than required and use a torque limiting lug socket.



@Don2222 the system you showed is only somewhat similar to old knock off wheels. Nascar is simply joining in with many other racing disciplines with the central wheel nut style. You can even get that type of wheel mounting system on the most expensive Porsche 911 versions, but I don't think there are any other production cars that use a central wheel nut. Unless you have a pit crew and are racing the few seconds saved by using a central wheel nut do not make up for the crazy expense in using such a system. A single F1 wheel gun costs over $6,000 for a racing team. True knock-off wheels do not have the same aerospace engineering used on the current production central wheel nuts.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,337
Northern NH
Key thing with knocks offs, one side of the car they go on clockwise and the other they go on counter clockwise
 

Don2222

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
8,898
Salem NH
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Corey

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
2,698
Midwest
I think those are just torque sticks with a fancy aluminum handle, and a torque stick is really just an extension with a roughly standard designed spring rate. Every extension is really a torque stick, you just have to determine what torque it is.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,238
NE Ohio
This, is a proper "torque stick". Buy it, use it, love it. Those other "torque stick sets" are just a device to separate you from your money. The only benefit to them is they might prevent "Bubba" from snapping your studs off with his Supertorque NutBuster XLimpact gun, maybe. They will NOT torque your lug nuts to factory specs like the below pictured tool will. (assuming its cared for, calibrated and maintained properly...and not some HF POS to begin with)
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