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Changing tires myself, any gotchas?

 
Old 05-18-2019, 05:47 AM
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Default Changing tires myself, any gotchas?

OK, total n00b question I know... Between very little driving and the awful condition of Boston roads, I've kept the winter skins and wheels on my car thus far.

I am a fairly mechanically competent person who can follow instructions well, is there any reason I should drive out to the dealer and pay them to swap the tires versus buying a decent jack and torque wrench and doing it myself? I have storage space so not paying the dealer $300 to store them until November! Aside from the jack and wrench, any other specific/unique tools I'd need?
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Old 05-18-2019, 05:53 AM
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You have two sets of mounted tires on wheels? If so, easy to do. If not, need someone to swap tires on single set of wheels
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:13 AM
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Correct, the tires are mounted.
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:16 AM
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The lug nut cap puller tool, none of my previous cars had this so it was something new for me.
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:17 AM
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I would rather pay the dealer $50 to swap the winter and summer sets than buy the tools, store them, and potentially screw up. But if you are going to do them yourself, just make sure they are torqued correctly otherwise it is pretty easy and straightforward.
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:20 AM
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I was looking through the vehicle settings and didn't notice any settings for wheel changing. My S6 had a setting that would lock the suspension to stop travel. I don't see that unless i missed it and hopefully someone will comment if it is there. Make sure you have a torque wrench to tighten to the correct specs.
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Old 05-18-2019, 07:02 AM
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Loosen the lug nuts 1 turn while wheel is on the ground, and ditto, tighten to full torque once new wheels are on, on the ground. That way you, you will not need to worry about wheel turning. Tighten every other nut until all 5 are done.
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Old 05-18-2019, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by cwmk View Post
OK, total n00b question I know... Between very little driving and the awful condition of Boston roads, I've kept the winter skins and wheels on my car thus far.

I am a fairly mechanically competent person who can follow instructions well, is there any reason I should drive out to the dealer and pay them to swap the tires versus buying a decent jack and torque wrench and doing it myself? I have storage space so not paying the dealer $300 to store them until November! Aside from the jack and wrench, any other specific/unique tools I'd need?
Changing a wheel is one of those things that every driver should know how to do - if for no other reason that you end up with a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, it's quite an easy skill to master. I won't try to describe it here - I would suggest watching a few YouTube videos in order to pick up some tips and the correct techniques for loosening and the re-torquing the bolts, but you should understand the basics in about 5 minutes time. Once you know what you are doing it should take no more than 30 minutes to swap out your winter wheels for the summers, and vice versa in the fall.

I would however recommend a few pieces of equipment that will make this task easier and safer.
  1. A good hydraulic jack and jack pad. - Don't use the jack that came with the car, those are really only designed for minimal usage in emergency situations. Instead find a good low profile hydraulic jack at your nearest auto parts store. Preferably 2 tons, although a 1.5 will also do. You will probably need a jack pad too - it looks like a hockey puck with a slot cut into it. The slot fits around the pinch weld under the car and prevents damaging it. (
    Amazon Amazon
    )
  2. A 17mm deep socket wrench. (
    Amazon Amazon
    )
  3. A breaker bar - the 17mm socket fits on this. Use one of these instead if a standard socket wrench driver. The longer the bar the better. Very useful when you are trying to remove an over tightened lug bolt. (
    Amazon Amazon
    )
  4. A torque wrench - this is actually optional, once you get a feel for how tight to make the bolts, you can achieve the proper torque just by feel using the breaker bar alone. You will only need this when tightening the bolts, the breaker bar is used for loosening

Just make sure that your torque wrench, breaker bar and socket all use the same size drive (I use 1/2 inch). To make things a little easier, buy 2 17mm sockets, that way you don't have to swap them between the wrenches.

Also consider how you are going to store the extra set of wheels. I use a "wheel dolly" and just stack. I have plenty of room on the garage floor and the dolly makes them easy to move. (
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Old 05-18-2019, 07:12 AM
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And — IF this is your first Audi / VW remember — you are dealing with lug BOLTS not lug NUTS.

In the area where the tire changing tools are stored in your car, you should also find a “locating lug” which is a smooth bolt with no head. It’s designed to be put in the log bolt hole nearest the top of your hub and it’s helps to guide you on reinstalling the wheel while you install and hand tighten the other 4 bolts.

As MRA5SB pointed out about the lug cap puller, the “locating lug” should be stored in the same general area. Just remember to take it out of the last wheel installed and reinstall that bolt.

— John
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Old 05-18-2019, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by njspeedfreak View Post
Changing a wheel is one of those things that every driver should know how to do - if for no other reason that you end up with a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, it's quite an easy skill to master. I won't try to describe it here - I would suggest watching a few YouTube videos in order to pick up some tips and the correct techniques for loosening and the re-torquing the bolts, but you should understand the basics in about 5 minutes time. Once you know what you are doing it should take no more than 30 minutes to swap out your winter wheels for the summers, and vice versa in the fall.

I would however recommend a few pieces of equipment that will make this task easier and safer.
  1. A good hydraulic jack and jack pad. - Don't use the jack that came with the car, those are really only designed for minimal usage in emergency situations. Instead find a good low profile hydraulic jack at your nearest auto parts store. Preferably 2 tons, although a 1.5 will also do. You will probably need a jack pad too - it looks like a hockey puck with a slot cut into it. The slot fits around the pinch weld under the car and prevents damaging it. (https://www.amazon.com/Aluminum-Raci.../dp/B01MA232WY)
  2. A 17mm deep socket wrench. (https://www.amazon.com/TEKTON-47808-.../dp/B000NPULEM)
  3. A breaker bar - the 17mm socket fits on this. Use one of these instead if a standard socket wrench driver. The longer the bar the better. Very useful when you are trying to remove an over tightened lug bolt. (https://www.amazon.com/TEKTON-15356-.../dp/B00MWVAUT6)
  4. A torque wrench - this is actually optional, once you get a feel for how tight to make the bolts, you can achieve the proper torque just by feel using the breaker bar alone. You will only need this when tightening the bolts, the breaker bar is used for loosening

Just make sure that your torque wrench, breaker bar and socket all use the same size drive (I use 1/2 inch). To make things a little easier, buy 2 17mm sockets, that way you don't have to swap them between the wrenches.

Also consider how you are going to store the extra set of wheels. I use a "wheel dolly" and just stack. I have plenty of room on the garage floor and the dolly makes them easy to move. (https://www.amazon.com/Kauplus-Wheel.../dp/B07B94QMMK)
Except for the wheel dollies, you would find everything else listed above at Harbor Freight - their stuff is good for occasional use like ours not for professional use. I will recommend using a torque wrench. Having said that if I were you I'll take to a local place like Mr. Tire or Pep Boys or even a local repair shop and let them swap out the wheels then recheck the torque after a few days.

Last edited by 18A5SB; 05-18-2019 at 07:57 AM.
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