In our last article, we talked about the basics of winter tyres and choosing a tyre that’s right for your car. Now it’s time to get stuck into fitting them. That means knowing what you need to do, the tools required and what mistakes not to make!
Before the job begins
Ensure your car is clean (unless you like caked-on dirt) and remove any items you don’t want to be scratched or broken (like sat navs). If possible, raise the front end using trolley jacks until both front wheels are off the ground. If possible, you will need to move them back and forth during the job and leave them in this position throughout. Warm up your car engine until all windows steam up, and then switch it off. If you have a garage, open the door or try to get somewhere dry if outside.
Put on your gloves! There’s nothing worse than cold, wet hands while trying to fit tyres, so don’t skimp here. We’ve been caught out before, and it’s NO FUN AT ALL. Get a decent pair of waterproof work gloves that won’t kill you when they’re brand new! Also, check the weather forecast- screwing around in the snow isn’t much fun unless you have a snow shovel! And be prepared for everything going wrong- Michelin Tyres London levers snapping while taking old rubber off is standard, as are punctured rims from zealous tyre levers (it’s always the last tyre…) so have some spares on hand.
Now you are ready to begin. Remember- take your time! Even if it takes more than one day, don’t rush it. Better safe than sorry!
Remove all four tyres is required before you can fit your winter rubber. If you have an alloy wheel hub that needs unscrewing, do this first and remember not to lose any of the little locking rings that sit in their grooves (We’ve made this mistake before). Also, remove the anti-theft wheel nuts (where applicable) and store them in a safe place where they won’t roll off onto the floor. Now pop the centre cap for your wheel.
Use tyre levers to prize the tyre off the rim, working all the way around until it slides off easily. Don’t try to force them, you will scratch your rims and end up busting a good set of levers into the bargain. If you are replacing old Buy Tyres London with new ones on rims with an exposed nut on each side of the centre hole (common on older cars), remove these before taking off your old rubber! Once all four are off, put them somewhere out of harm’s way- not so close to where you’re working that they get squashed.
Using an appropriate sized socket or spanner (see owners manual) undo your wheel nuts until they are hand tight (i.e. you can still move the wheel with your fingers). Ensure that there is not too much rust on the thread or that these will snap when you undo them! Time to vent your anger.
Lift the car- again, if possible, try and get underneath it, so it’s friendly and easy to slide onto stands (use chocks for any wheels that touch the ground) or lift using a proper lift or hydraulic jack. Remember to support your car securely with jack stands before crawling under! Now obliterate all four nuts. If you do this when on axle stands, just lower each side slowly until the tyre starts touching the ground, then take away one of the stands at a time.
Slide the wheel off the hub- you may need to give it a bit of a tap with a rubber mallet if they are stubborn. Wiggle them from side to side if necessary, but take care that you don’t damage any bearings or brake discs in the process. Once one is off, slide another onto your tyre lever and workaround until they all come free. Any stubborn nuts can be loosened by tapping them on the top with a hammer (be aware of where you do this!). Be patient and make sure not to slip and hit anything vital.
Put your new wheels on starting at the top and working down, sliding them into place as before. Don’t do it the other way around as you could end up dropping them and hurting yourself! When putting on your locking rings (if applicable), make sure they are inside the grooves. Use a hammer to tap them into place if necessary, but check that there is no rust here either, preventing them from sitting fully in their grooves. Now apply some wheel grease/lube to each of the rings and push them down to sit flat and secure against the tyre beads.
Fit your new tyres- Slotting one side first, work your way around until all four are firmly seated with plenty of air inside. If you’re not sure how much air goes in, just ask at your local garage- they’ll be more than happy to help. RING RING- Job is done!
Put your wheel nuts back on, ensuring they are hand tight. If there is a locking ring under them (as with alloy wheels), tighten them evenly to secure the ring against the tyre bead. Now lower your car carefully down onto its wheels using floor jacks or stands if you haven’t lifted it yet. If you’re unsure how to do this safely, just ask at your local garage or workshop.
Refit your centre caps and re-insert the anti-theft bolts into their locking rings. Drive around for about 20 minutes to allow the Buy Tyres London to seat correctly and ensure no vibration comes through the steering wheel. If you think there’s any funny business going on, re-check your tyre pressures. But avoid pumping them up to full pressure if they are still cold (which is rare these days!)
Job is done! Drive around for a few miles and enjoy your new(ish) wheels.
Time took –
10 minutes- 1 hour depending on how many punctures/broken bolts you have!
This can be done with tyre irons or specialised workshop equipment. When I used to fit tyres at the local garage. We had specialist tools that made it much easier/quicker than using tyre irons. It’s not worth trying to save money by doing this yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing, as it can be hazardous.