Winter Summer Tire Swap




Introduction: Winter Summer Tire Swap

About: DIY Montreal is all about woodworking & DIY projects. I post how-to videos on my YouTube channel, as well as step-by-step tutorials on my website Builds include mainly woodshop project…

As I write this article, there is 15 cm of snow on the ground and it's -10 degrees. But it's November 13th!? Yeah, I know, we're all feeling it a bit early this year.

Luckily, I installed my winter tires just in time last week. My summer tires are on mags while my winter tires are on steel rims, which makes swapping them out a totally doable do-it-yourself project. I'll show you how in just a few easy steps!

Before getting started you’ll need to find your tool kit, which can typically be found in the trunk, sometimes with the spare tire. You should have a jack and some basic tools like a lug wrench and some wheel chocks.


Step 1: Safety Prep

I’m starting with the front right wheel so before doing anything at all I’m going to circle around the car to the opposite left rear wheel and install my wheel chocks on both sides of the wheel to make sure the car doesn’t roll while it’s up on the jack.

You can also use bricks instead to wedge the wheels. You should also make sure you’re on a flat surface, and activate your parking brake. Safety first.

Step 2: Loosen Lug Nuts

Before you jack up the car, you want to first loosen the lug nuts, just to get them unstuck.

With the car’s lug wrench it can be almost impossible to get off the nuts. If you’re going to do this bi-annually, I highly recommend getting a cross wrench. For stuck on lug nuts, a breaker bar is an essential tool to have.

So with the car still on the ground, use a breaker bar or cross wrench to get the nuts unstuck. You don’t want to unscrew the nuts just yet, just get each of the nuts moving. It’s important to do this before you jack up the car for safety reasons. Otherwise the lateral force could cause the car to roll and fall off of the jack.

Step 3: Jack Up Car

Once your lug nuts are free, grab your jack and start getting it into position. If you’re not sure where that is, be sure to check your manual. There will typically be some symbol or indicator of the fulcrum point, showing where to position the jack. My car says there’s an upside down triangle that leads to the leverage point.

So after finding the symbol I can set my jack into position onto the metal lip under the car’s steel frame, just as shown in my manual, making sure the jack stays nice and square, not leaning to either side. I can then slowly crank the jack to raise the car off the ground. You don’t want to raise it too high though, just enough to get the wheel off the ground.

Step 4: Remove Wheel

You can now use your cross wrench to remove all the lug nuts one by one….

Next you can go ahead and pull off the wheel. If it’s stuck on, give it a whack on the edge with your hand to knock it loose.

It’s also a good time to grad some chalk and mark your tires so you’ll know where to install them next year.

Ideally you want to rotate your tires every year in a criss-cross pattern. However if you have directional tires, which is common for winter tires and indicated on the tire itself by an arrow, you should only rotate your tires front to back.

Step 5: Install New Wheel

Since I have directional tires, I grabbed the tire marked right rear and installed it front right.

The idea is to visually align the bolt holes as best you can then lift the tire into place. It helps to use your knee or foot to help hold the tire on the rim. At least it helps me!

Then grab your lug nuts and get 2 of them on, just to hold the tire in place. Continue to add the remaining lug nuts and tighten them lightly in a star-pattern.

Then continue to go around in a star-pattern to tighten all the nuts, but don’t go full force just yet while the car is still jacked up. Otherwise you could rock the car right off the jack.

Step 6: Remove Jack

At this point you can lower and remove the jack.

With the car back on the ground fully tighten the nuts, again going in a star-pattern. You don’t need to give it everything you’ve got. Stop when you feel a good amount of resistance and that the nut is snug, but don’t tighten to the point where you can’t get them off next year. If you have a torque wrench,this is ideal to tighten to the correct pressure.

Step 7: Inflate Tires

All that’s left is to install the hubcaps if you have them by taping them in.

Repeat the same process for all 4 tires, and make sure to inflate your tires to your car’s recommended tire pressure which can typically be found inside the driver’s side door. In my case, 38 PSI.

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    2 years ago

    Good reminder for us all to find our winter tires and mount them on the car. Your Instructable is an excellent tutorial to enable anyone to do this project. To minimize the force needed to loosen the lug nuts, I apply a small dot of anti-seize lube to each stud before mounting the wheel. In olden days I'd use a drop of WD-40. To avoid over-tightening the nuts, I use a torque wrench to the manufacturer's recommended setting. As you point out, one can simply apply a reasonable force with a lug wrench. Either way, I do recommend driving around the block once and re-tighten any nuts that need it. Finally, alloy wheels can lightly fuse with the steel hub. A very thin coat of the anti-seize lube where the wheel meets the hub makes wheel removal simple. Bring on winter!


    2 years ago

    This is indeed a textbook way of changing the wheels.
    However, you could add an extra step between step 4 and step 5:
    put the wheel that just came off under the car, next to the jack.
    That way you create an extra safety precaution, should the unforseen occurr.
    Nice instructable though!


    Tip 2 years ago

    You should always take your wheels to be balanced before fixing them on your car.
    Where I live the swap + balance costs around ~20usd for 4 wheels and you really cannot balance a wheel without a those machines they have.
    Overall I don not recommend doing it at home unless it is urgent. Your drivetrain will thank you for that.