Guide: How to change wheels correctly

Not every driver goes to a workshop or tire dealer to change from winter to summer tires. Many vehicle owners do the wheel replacement themselves. A few things must be observed, because mistakes made during assembly can have serious consequences.

Once the winter wheels have been removed, you should first check the summer wheels and the threads and drives of the wheel bolts or wheel nuts for any damage, advises the Society for Technical Monitoring (GTÜ). Under no circumstances should the thread be greased to prevent corrosion. Unless the car manufacturer expressly allows this and names suitable lubricants. Careful cleaning of the thread and the contact surfaces between hub and rim with a brush, on the other hand, makes sense.

When the wheel is balanced on the hub, the bolts are loosely tightened. It is important that they are vertical. If they can be screwed in easily, they are not canted. When finally tightening, attention should be paid to the correct sequence and to the torque specified by the manufacturer. For hubs with four screw connections, proceed crosswise (e.g. 1-3-2-4). If there are five or six screw connections, they are changed in a star shape. In this way, the rim comes evenly flush on the hub.

The intended tightening torque can be found in the vehicle documents or in the corresponding report for retrofit rims. Very often the value is 110 or 120 Newton meters. The appropriate tool is a torque wrench, as the screws must be neither too loose nor too tight.

After 50 to 100 kilometers, all screw connections after changing the wheel should be checked and tightened again – also crosswise. Switching looks easy, but you can make some mistakes with potential risk for the road safety of the car. This applies in particular to tightening the screw connections. The correct torque and the sequence are decisive. (awm)

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