Tires and Jacks
by Pat Goss
I get a lot of questions from people wanting to do their own tire rotation. Can they? Yes, certainly you can. But I think it’s a whole lot better to have a shop do it while it’s up in the air getting some other service performed. Getting an oil change? Lots of time they’ll throw in the tire rotation free of charge. But you really want to do it yourself? Okay, what do you need?
Well first you need an owner’s manual that tells you the torque on the lug nuts and where the jacking points are because you have to jack the car up. More on that in a second. Now you need something to remove the lug nuts, something like this wrench or this breaker bar here. You do not use your torque wrench although you do need one to do the rotation. The torque wrench can be knocked out of calibration if you use it to remove lug nuts.
Alright so we got that out of the way, now we need a decent jack. Not one of these scissor jacks, which is not acceptable to use for jobs like this you need a floor jack. And remember the owner’s manual, the jacking points, make sure you follow that when you jack the car up so you don’t crush a brake line or a wire harness or something like that. Alright now you’re going to jack it up, you have to get all four wheels up off the ground and maintain it there so that means you need four jack stands. So you raise it up, you’ve got your four jack stands, you have to have something to position those jack stands on. If your driveway isn’t concrete, if it’s black top, gravel, dirt, something like that, you have to have a piece of plywood under each one of the jack stands to make it stable and safe.
Alright we got all that done, and oh and speaking of jack stands, you know you're going to buy things if you're going to work on your car make sure you register every one of them. We have four pieces right here, four jack stands, and two of them are recalled, if we hadn’t registered them we would never know they were recalled.
Alright you get the car up in the air, the next thing you do is take the wheels off; use a modified X rotation pattern, that means that the tires that are going on the drive wheels get X’ed. The tires that are going on the non-drive wheels stay on the same side of the car and move to the other end. Get all of that done, then use your torque wrench to properly tighten the wheels. And you have spent a couple three hours doing a tire rotation. Okay your decision.
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