Tire change: 6 expensive and dangerous mistakes when changing wheels

Six expensive and dangerous deadly sins when changing tires

The rule of thumb is “From O to O”: If you don’t have all-season tires on your car, you have to change your tires twice a year. AUTO BILD shows six deadly sins when changing tires, which can be not only expensive but also dangerous!

W.if he doesn’t use all-season tires, he has to change tires twice a year. The wheel exchange – colloquially also called tire change – can be done quickly and easily in the garage for people with a little skill (instructions for changing tires). But there are still some pitfalls and deadly sins that can be not only expensive, but also life-threatening. AUTO BILD shows all the mistakes you shouldn’t make when changing tires!

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1. Position the jack incorrectly

What many do not know: There are certain points on the body where a jack can be used. Where they are is different from car to car. Therefore always refer to the operating instructions! The points are often marked with a triangle or circle. If you use the wrong place, you run the risk of bent and dented sills. In addition, make sure that the surface is correct, it should be level and non-slip. Cobblestones or lawns are therefore taboo: the jack could buckle and not only cause serious damage to the car, it can even lead to fatal injuries. Especially when the bike has already been removed. Even better: additionally secure the car with a jack stand. More on this: Car jacks put to the test

2. Do not use a torque wrench

These 5 mistakes can cost a lot of money

The tires must be tightened to the correct torque.


Tightening the wheels with a cordless impact wrench is tempting, but can lead to serious consequential damage. If you set a wheel bolt or a wheel nut at an angle, you can destroy the thread when tightening with an impact wrench. The result: the wheel can no longer be properly attached. Better: always apply wheel nuts by hand and tighten a few turns. In addition, the screws must be tightened to a certain torque when mounting the wheels. If you tighten it too tight, the threads can over-tighten. In addition, the screws are then under great tension and can break under load (e.g. sharp braking, accident). If, on the other hand, they sit too loosely, they can bikes loosen while driving. It is therefore essential to use a torque wrench for tightening. The correct tightening torque can be found in the vehicle manual. And: don’t forget to retighten the screws after approx. 50 kilometers. Find out which torque wrenches are good in the test!

3. Forgot visual inspection

These 5 mistakes can cost a lot of money

The remaining profile can be determined with a profile depth gauge.


When installing the new wheels, it is not just the Check the tread depth (ideally a minimum of 2 mm for summer tires and 4 mm for winter tires, even if the law allows up to 1.6 mm). The tires should undergo a comprehensive visual inspection: Is there any damage? Does the rubber appear porous? Also important: Has the tire worn down evenly? One-sided wear indicates an incorrectly set track. If the tire is worn in the middle or at the edges, the tire pressure could have been too high or too low.

4. Drive with the wrong tire pressure

Many drivers underestimate tire pressure. If the pressure is too high or too low, it quickly leads to spongy driving behavior and increased wear and tear. Especially when the tires have been stored for a season, they have often lost air. It is therefore important to adjust the tire pressure immediately after installation. The correct value for the respective tire can usually be found on a sticker in the fuel filler cap or on the inside of the B-pillar. Read more about tire pressure here!

5. Disregard the direction of travel

Not with all tires, but with many of them a direction of rotation is determined by the profile. This can usually be recognized by an arrow and the word “Direction” or “Rotation” on the sidewall. In addition, the profile is usually V- or U-shaped. The profile is always designed in such a way that the rainwater is optimally displaced in order to prevent aquaplaning. If the wheel is fitted the wrong way round, the tire will not stick to the road as well. This leads to greater wear and tear and poorer power transmission. The driving noise is also louder. And: If the tires are fitted incorrectly, the TÜV sticker can be refused.

6. Change to winter tires too early

The rule of thumb is “from O to O”, ie from “October to Easter”. So October is the right time to switch to Winter tires. Nevertheless, one should not only base the wheel exchange on the rule of thumb, rather the weather conditions are decisive. Only when the temperatures drop below seven degrees can Winter tires play to their strengths. If it is warmer, fuel consumption and wear increase. In addition, the braking behavior deteriorates. Therefore, the Winter tires should only be installed when the temperatures drop.

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More tips on changing tires

Always hold the wheels by the side: Especially with heavy SUV wheels, there is a tendency to grasp the tire at the top and bottom in order to pull it off the wheel hub. But you should definitely not do that, because if you slip, the heavy tire falls on your hand. It is better to only touch the tire by the side.

Better rear tires: Basically, the less worn tires belong on the rear axle. Because it ensures stability when driving. Anyone who drives a car with pure front or rear wheel drive should swap the tires for each axle so that they are driven evenly.

Attention TPMS: If you have a direct tire pressure control system (TPMS), you cannot change the wheels yourself. The sensors must be serviced each time they are changed. In the case of indirect TPMS, the system must be relearned after tire mounting. How to do this is in the vehicle manual. Further information on changing tires with TPMS is available here!
Store correctly: Tires must be stored in a dark, dry and cool place. Complete wheels are best stored or stacked on special rim trees; Store tires without rims upright and turn them regularly.

These 5 mistakes can cost a lot of money

Rusty wheel bolts should be replaced.


Don’t ignore rust: A rusted wheel hub and rusted wheel bolts ensure that the next wheel swap becomes an annoying feat of strength. Therefore you should tackle the rust on the wheel hub with a wire brush. The rusty wheel bolts are exchanged for new ones.

Do not drive with imbalance: If the tires run out of round, the driving noise is louder, the steering wheel flutters and the tires are worn unevenly. In this case, you should have the wheels balanced by a professional. Otherwise the chassis and steering can be damaged after a while. All information about balancing!

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