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How to Remove a Wheel

For the majority of the time, there are probably two reasons for changing a wheel on a car:

This article describes removing a wheel when working on a car. This article should be read in conjunction with “How to Jack up a Vehicle Safely“.

Note: Not all vehicles are the same? Therefore proceed with caution (at your own risk). Please read the owner’s manual or handbook…

Topics:

How to Remove a Wheel on a Car:

Park the vehicle on flat firm ground, so the vehicle is:

  • Less likely to roll (or, the jack, axle stand may fall).
  • Make sure the jack is well supported (or, it may start to sink into the ground).

When working on a vehicle, axle stands, or a similar type of support must be used to ensure the vehicle is safe whilst it is worked on.

The positioning of the axle stands and jack will be dependant on the vehicle (see the vehicle handbook). For more information, see the article on “How to Jack up a Vehicle Safely“.

  • Make sure the handbrake is on and place wheel chocks around a wheel that is to remain on the ground.
Jacking Up a Vehicle - Chocking the Wheel
Jacking Up a Vehicle – Chocking the Wheel
  • Remove the keys from the ignition.
  • Remove the wheel trim (if fitted).
  • If wheel lock nuts are fitted, find the wheel lock nut key (adapter tool).
Wheel Removal - Wheel Nut Access, Removing the Trim cover
Wheel Removal – Wheel Nut Access, Removing the Trim cover
  • Loosen the wheel nuts, whilst the wheel is still on the ground, (Just Half a Turn).
Wheel Removal - Un-doing the Wheel Nuts
Wheel Removal – Undoing the Wheel Nuts
  • Position the jack according to the vehicle manufacturers handbook, or on a suitable part of the vehicles structure (see “How to Jack up a Vehicle Safely“).
  • Jack up the car. Never place any part of your body (or anyone else’s!) under the car whilst jacking up.
  • Place the axle stands in a suitable position under the vehicle (see “How to Jack up a Vehicle Safely“). Try to place the axle stands without placing your body under the vehicle.
  • Check the vehicle is stable and cannot move.
  • Undo the wheel nuts.
Wheel Removal - Removing the Wheel Nuts
Wheel Removal – Removing the Wheel Nuts
  • Remove the wheel and place under the car (additional safety measure).
Jacking Up a Vehicle - Using the Wheel for Additional Safety
Jacking Up a Vehicle – Using the Wheel for Additional Safety

Replacing the Wheel:

  • Make sure the area where the wheel sits on the wheel hub is clean.
  • Refit the wheel and wheel nuts.
  • Tighten the wheel nuts in turn.
  • Jack up the car just high enough to remove the axle stands. Try to remove the axle stands without placing your body under the vehicle.
  • Lower the car to the point where the wheel is just touching the ground… (so the wheel can’t spin). Re-tighten the wheel nuts to the correct torque.
Wheel Removal - Tightening the Wheel Nuts With a Torque Wrench
Wheel Removal – Tightening the Wheel Nuts With a Torque Wrench
  • You can then completely lower the car and remove the jack.
  • Replace the wheel trim. If the air valve fits through the trim, make sure it is correctly seated.
Wheel Removal - Replacing the Trim (Ensuring the Trim Fits Over the Tyre Valve Correctly
Wheel Removal – Replacing the Trim (Ensuring the Trim Fits Over the Tyre Valve Correctly

For more information, see the article on “How to Jack up a Vehicle Safely“.

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