You Don't Know Jack

Monday, August 8, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow

Wouldn't you like to be able to change your own tires and wheels for occasional track days, seasonal tire swap or even just regular tire rotations?

Tire rotation should be done at regular intervals, to maximize tire life and even out tire wear. Each position on your car will wear tires differently and most tire company's mileage warranties require tire rotation to keep the warranty valid. Tire rotation can even provide performance advantages such as more balanced handling and better traction.

Tires should typically be rotated every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. If you wait until the tires show signs of wear it may be too late to prevent long term effects, such as noise generated when tires wear unevenly. These mileages will usually coincide with other scheduled maintenances such as oil changes.

With dealership labor rates at $100.00 or more per hour in many locations, being able to perform some of this routine tire maintenance yourself can save you a lot of money, down time and scheduling headaches. The basic tools required would be:

  • Floor Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Lug wrench or power impact wrench with sockets
  • Torque wrench
Tire Rack Aluminum Jack and StandsThe Tire Rack Aluminum Service Jack and Jack Stand Set is a rugged, lightweight (50 lbs.) jack that stores easily and can be carried in your trunk for easy transport. At its lowest point the jack measures only 3.5" tall making it easier to get under lowered cars and it will extend to a maximum of 19.5". It has a 2-ton capacity, wide track casters and a 50" removable handle. The rubber saddle pad and foam handle bumper protect the exposed surfaces of your vehicle. Included with the jack and also available separately are a sturdy pair of aluminum jack stands with a lift range of 10.5" to 15.5". Mounted on a 7' circular base, the stands weigh in at only 10 lbs.


Gorilla Extendable Power Wrench Set 1721




The Gorilla Extendable Power Wrench is a hardened steel, 1/2" drive wrench with a telescoping handle that extends from 14" to 22" for additional power and leverage.

For even quicker removal of lug hardware you might also consider the Tire Rack Cordless Impact Wrench. It is a lightweight, 18V cordless, impact that comes with two batteries, charger and a plastic case.
Tire Rack Cordless Impact Wrench

The Cordless Impact Wrench Kit is designed for removing wheel hardware only and should not be used to torque lug nut hardware. Proper lug nut/bolt torque is imperative to provide an even clamp load and proper bolt/stud stretch for longevity of the attachment hardware and security of the tire/wheel assembly.

Tire Rack Adjustable Torque Wrench

The Tire Rack Adjustable Torque Wrench
is an inexpensive, light duty tool that would allow you to properly set wheel nut/bolt torque when installing your wheels. It is a 1/2" drive "click" type, adjustable wrench that accurately measures up to 150 ft./lbs. of torque.

Proper installation requires that the wheel lug torque be set to the recommended specification for your vehicle. These torque specifications can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, shop repair manual or obtained from your vehicle dealer.

For further information on tire and wheel installation see the Tire Rack Owner's Manual.

A few simple tools and a little of your time may save a you a lot and give you the piece of mind that the job is done right. Who knows, you may know Jack after all.

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