Tire Rack.com

Tire & Wheel Package Installation

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It usually takes only minutes to install tires and wheels on your vehicle; but remember, they'll probably be on for at least 5,000 miles and will roll over a million times before it's time to rotate them. To make those miles as pleasant as possible, you need to install your new Tire & Wheel Package correctly.

Check Tire Positions

If you selected directional tires and/or asymmetric tires, the first step before installing them is to match each tire and wheel to its final position on your vehicle. To prevent mistakes, actually set each wheel and tire around your vehicle just as race teams do for pit stops.


Refer to the rotation arrow branding on the tire's sidewall.The arrow indicates the direction in which the tire should turn.


All tires should show sidewall branding indicating side facing outward.


Look for "Side Facing Outwards" branding and rotation arrow to determine side of vehicle.

NOTE: If your vehicle uses two different tire sizes, make certain to tell your tire installer to mount the larger size on the wheels used on the rear axle.

Tire lettering highlight in yellow for illustrative purposes only.

Begin Installation

Step 1: Test fit each wheel in its final position. Check for proper fit as described below.

NOTE: If you only purchased wheels, it is imperative that test fitting is done prior to mounting the tires.

The best place to find the correct procedure for tire and wheel removal is in the owner's manual for your vehicle (we use hand tools exclusively; see Photo A). If you don't have a hoist, it may be easier to install new wheel and tire combinations by raising your vehicle slightly (see Photo B), supporting it with jack stands (if available). Be sure to rest the stands or hoist on a flat surface. Then bolt the tires and wheels on the raised car axle.

Step 2: When removing lug nuts or bolts, never use powered impact wrenches of any type. It's best to carefully remove lugs with a four-way wrench or a socket on a breaker bar. An impact wrench may damage the lugs.

ATTENTION: Check the condition of the vehicle's lug studs or wheel bolts as you loosen them. If you feel any resistance or see any roughness after removing the wheels, correct it before reinstalling the wheels. Most automotive stores sell taps and thread repair kits. Wheels must fit flat against the vehicle's hubs. Remove any rust and dirt from the hubs of brake rotors and drums. Remove any temporary retaining devices, like stud clips, used to hold brake rotors and drums in place before the wheels were installed at the factory (see Photo C). They may interfere with the flush fitment of your wheels against the brake hubs. The exception to this rule: large bolts holding Hyundai rotors to their hubs should not be removed. If aftermarket wheels have previously been used on the vehicle, verify that the previous wheel's hub centering rings have been removed from the hubs. If your vehicle is equipped with drum brakes and if the drum's outer flange or balance weights protrude further out than the center of the drum, verify that the wheel seats on the hub are not against the drum's outer flange or balance weights. If you have any questions, contact your sales specialist or Tire Rack's customer service department.

Step 3:

Check the fit of the wheel onto the hub of the vehicle. (Some wheel applications may require the use of a centering ring to create the proper fit onto the hub.) The bolt circle of the wheel must match that of your vehicle and the wheel must make full contact to the mating surface of the hub. If the wheel does not match up to the bolt circle of the vehicle, or the wheel does not have full contact to the mounting surface, please contact your sales specialist or our customer service department at 888-981-3953.

NOTE: We suggest removing the wheel and applying a thin coating of antiseize around the axle hubs to help prevent rust and permit easier removal when it's time to rotate your tires. Do not apply antiseize to the lug hardware or studs

Step 4: In order to verify that you have matching lug or bolt thread sizes, first install the lug nuts or bolts without the wheel.

Step 5: For the next inspections it will be necessary to temporarily install the wheel by snugging down the lug nuts or bolts in order to verify disc brake caliper clearance. Start threading the lugs with your fingers and tighten them until they are finger tight. If you feel resistance while doing this, inspect the lug stud and nut (or hub and bolt) to see if the threads are clean or obstructed. If the lug nut or bolt appears obstructed or does not match the thread pitch of your hubs, try another one. If another lug doesn't thread any better, give us a call. We will verify that you have the correct hardware for your application.

NOTE: Do not force your lug nuts or bolts on with a wrench. They should be able to be turned by hand.

If they can't, something is wrong! Please call Tire Rack's customer service department at 888-981-3953. Only after the lugs have been installed by hand until finger tight should you snug them down with your four-way wrench or a socket on a breaker bar.

Size of Bolt or StudNumber
of Turns
NOTE: Since the thickness of an alloy wheel can differ from Original Equipment wheels, also verify that the lug nuts or bolts will engage the threads. Refer to the chart (on right) to determine the number of turns or the depth of engagement typical for your stud or bolt size.

Step 6: Put your vehicle's transmission into neutral and turn each wheel by hand while making certain that the outer edge of the disc brake caliper doesn't touch the inside of the rim or that the side of the caliper doesn't come into contact with the backside of the wheel or the wheel balancing weights.

If you have any concerns...CALL US! We will be happy to use our experience to help solve your problem. However, if everything is progressing as we expected, it's time to torque them down.

NOTE: If you only bought wheels, you will need to get your tires mounted.

IMPORTANT! Wheel Lug Nut Torquing

Proper installation requires that the wheel lug torque be set to the recommended specification for your vehicle. These torque specifications can be found in your vehicle's shop manual or obtained from your vehicle dealer. Finish tightening the lugs down with an accurate torque wrench. Use a crisscross sequence until they have reached their proper torque value. Be careful if you over torque a wheel. You can strip a lug nut, stretch or break a wheel stud, and cause the wheel, brake rotor and/or brake drum to distort.

NOTE: When installing new wheels you should re-torque them after traveling the first 50 to 100 miles. This is necessary because as the wheels are breaking in they may compress slightly allowing their lugs to lose some of their torque. Simply repeat the same torque procedure listed above. For more information, read our Wheel Tech article, "Bolt Pattern."

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