Introduction: Safe Technique to Slacken and Tighten Tire Nuts.
More often than not, us car owners/drivers will have to perform a tire changeout. Be this on the road side or in our garage, it is something we should all know how to do. It's easy enough to do but as always, safety first. Making sure there is a properly inflated and good condition spare tire is critical. A pair of gloves goes a long way to keeping hands clean during this job.
Step 1: Having the Right Tools.
I keep my necessary tools in a bag within the trunk. Included here are the tools to remove and install a tire. For the purpose of this instructable, I won't go into the jacking up of the car. I'm only going to demonstrate the removal/install of the tire nuts which surprisingly is a difficult concept for many car owners. Why? Beats me!
Step 2: Proper Slackening of the Nuts.
This is a well known and quite safe technique to slacken the tire nut. Insert the tool (in my case I use a 1/2inch drive ratchet with socket plus hex adapter) into or over a nut. Have a FIRM hand grip on the end of the handle. Keeping the holding arm straight and knees bent, let your body weight create the torque to back out the nut. A two handed approach is just fine once both hands are firmly gripped onto the tool handle; it all depends on your body weight.
If the tire nuts were pneumatic torqued tightened previously then an extension pipe is often needed to turn those nuts. A thick wall metal pipe slipped over the tool handle will easily turn any nut. The longer the extension pipe, the better! Here a two handed grip is mandatory. One hand on the end of the extension pipe and the other on uncovered portion of the tool handle.
Using penetrating oil on the nuts prior to removal will make this job and many others so much easier. In fact the extension pipe may not even be needed! I always keep a can of CRC Power Lube in my tool bag.
Step 3: Not the Way to Slacken!
Sometimes out of frustration we may be tempted to slam a foot down on the tool to break the holding torque on the nut. Please don't do this. It's very dangerous as the tool can easily come loose from the nut and hit you, someone else or damage property.
Imagine I happened to hear that suggestion from a male safety instructor back in 2004 who was "instructing" a female only group of my coworkers on how to take off a tire. Naturally I couldn't stay quiet about that and asked him if he knew what he was talking about. After explaining to him the danger and receiving several heated sentences from the guy, I told him to keep his tool in his pants and do a proper safety instruction.
Step 4: Tightening.
My hard working civic has 4 nuts per tire. The OEM torque value for the nuts is 80ft-lbs. I don't think there is anyone who keeps a torque wrench in their car just for the sake of tightening their tire nuts. Using my body weight alone and the technique to slacken (this time in clockwise rotation), I tighten those nuts as per the image. Using my torque tool as a measurement, my 166lbs of body weight is sufficient to properly torque those nuts. Mind you I do 1 cycle of tightening by hand then 2 cycles of using my body weight until there is no more movement on the nuts.
I hope this publication has been helpful!