TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

DIY Tire Rotation

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Pilot_51, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. Pilot_51

    Pilot_51 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    529
    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    #1 Pilot_51, Dec 18, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
    I'm due for my first tire rotation, currently at 6250 miles and exactly 6 months since delivery. Since I'm about 220 miles from the nearest service center and don't really trust anyone else with properly caring for my precious, I decided to rotate my tires myself.

    I bought the Powerzone 3 ton floor jack and Jackpoint Jackstands recommended in other threads (especially by kevincwelch here), as well as a TEKTON torque wrench. I spent $516, way more than I expected to pay going into it, mostly because of the jackstands, but this is something I don't want to take chances on. Since I wanted to have everything ordered last weekend to ensure I have it this weekend when I plan to do the rotation, I ordered the jackstands online instead of waiting to order by phone for the $20 discount. I placed the orders at around 3am Sunday and to my pleasant surprise, the jackstands arrived on Tuesday and the rest from Amazon on Wednesday.

    The other tire rotation threads aren't particularly about DIY, so I've created this thread for people to post questions, experiences, and tips about rotating their own Model S tires.

    I know the basics and don't have any questions off the top of my head, but if anyone has any helpful pointers before I tackle it, please share.
     
  2. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    4,883
    Location:
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    Be careful of the Tesla lugnuts. They are soft ( designed so to save weight) and should not be removed with an impact driver and/or an improper socket size. remove with a manual breaker bar, and be sure to torque to 129 ft lbs.
     
  3. ArtInCT

    ArtInCT Always Learning

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,602
    Location:
    Southern Connecticut
    #3 ArtInCT, Dec 19, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
    Pilot_51:
    Here are some tips....

    With the S on the ground, break loose all of the lug nuts so that each just starts to turn. Righty tighty... Lefty Loosey

    If you try to break loose the lugs when the tires are in the air, then there is little resistance and the wheel will spin against your efforts.

    The entire deal is easier done with two floor jacks, one at each lift point (front and rear). You just walk the car up a few inches to clear the tires from the ground and that is it. Perhaps you have a geared buddy who has a second floor jack?

    You can give yourself some nice clearance using your air suspension. Nice.

    I have found good working floor jacks for $100 each. They have been in service now since 1990.

    When using a floor jack, It is nice to place a square block of wood, 7" x 7" x 1" as a pad atop the jack's lift point, as some jacks have no padding and have fairly aggressive notches. This wooden pad can save scratching of the undercarriage lift point IF you can get height of the pad and the jack under the car's lift point.

    Looks like you are on a good path. Best of Luck Pilot.
     
  4. tga

    tga Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2014
    Messages:
    2,192
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    If the cup of the jack has a large enough diameter, hockey pucks make good lifting pads as well. You want the puck to fit inside the cup, so that the metal edge isn't pressing into the puck, otherwise they will get trashed in short order.
     
  5. Newscutter

    Newscutter Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    Wexford, Pennsylvania, United States
    #5 Newscutter, Dec 19, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
  6. ChrisPDX

    ChrisPDX Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2013
    Messages:
    158
    Location:
    Hillsboro, OR
    Another thing, don't use the torque wrench to loosen the nuts. It's a precision tool and should only be used for final torquing of the nuts after the tires have been swapped. Instead use a breaker bar. They are cheap and available at pretty much any place that sells tools.

    Here's my process for my non-air suspension car:
    • Using the breaker bar, break loose the nuts on one side of the car making sure the socket is fully seated on each nut.
    • Put two jacks on the side of the car under each jacking point. Lift the car until both tires are about an inch above the ground.
    • WARNING: The car is only supported by jacks, not jack stands. Do not put any part of your body under the car in case a jack gives way.
    • Remove all nuts except for the one on the button. I put my foot against the lowest part of the tire and remove the nut (tire will naturally want to pop out a little bit when the nut is removed).
    • Remove the tire and repeat on the other one.
    • Remount tires after rotating, being sure to hold the bottom of the tire in when installing the first nut. I use an electric cordless impact gun to put them on fast, but I stop running the gun once they are fully seated (I leave final torquing for later).
    • Once both tires are mounted and nuts lightly tightened, I lower the car just enough on each side so the tire just contacts the ground.
    • Using the torque wrench, tighten all nuts in a star pattern and repeat to insure all are torqued to spec. Please note if you've never used a torque wrench, they only click when you reach the amount of torque. They will not prevent you from over torquing, so stop once it clicks!
    • Lower the car the rest of the way and remove jacks.
    • Repeat on other side.

    I like to use two jacks because it's faster then dealing with a single jack and standard jack stands. I would never do this if I had to be under the car as it's not safe! In your case, since you have expensive jack stands, you can do it a little differently but still pretty easily.

    Good luck! It's not too bad once you do it the first time. And the good news is you can rotate the tires on any other car you have as you now have the tools. Handy too if you end up keeping separate set of wheels for different driving conditions. No more need to go to the tire shop and just swap them yourself whenever you prefer.
     
  7. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Texas
    Although with the Jackpoint jackstands it's not much slower since you have to position the jack correctly anyway and with those stands you do both the jack and jackstand positioning at the same time.
     
  8. Pilot_51

    Pilot_51 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    529
    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    #8 Pilot_51, Dec 19, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
    Thanks for all the info!

    I've put together a checklist:
    If there are changes to the checklist, I'll edit it in this post.

    I don't know if I have a breaker bar or even the correct socket. One of my family's cars may have them, otherwise I can go buy them from a local store. I definitely don't have an impact wrench and don't see the need, it just takes a little more elbow grease without.

    That's my plan. I will probably buy winter tires next year and spending $500 for the equipment to replace wheels makes it kind of a no-brainer. The only question would be finances, as I'm trying to have my loan paid off by the end of next year. I don't have any other cars myself, but there are three others in the household and I may be looking for opportunities to make some of the money back with the equipment.
     
  9. brkaus

    brkaus Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    Messages:
    935
    Buy an impact socket, even if using a breaker bar and not an impact wrench. They are significantly stronger.
     
  10. ArtInCT

    ArtInCT Always Learning

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,602
    Location:
    Southern Connecticut
    Yes I agree, Both Milwaukee and DeWalt make excellent impact rechargeable impact socket drivers. You can probably find an auto parts store that
    can let you try long / deep sockets that will fit the Tesla. Not owning a Tesla, I cannot tell you.

    BTW, using jack stands on dirt, gravel or on a HOT day with a tar driveway can lead to trouble as the weight could drive the stands down into the
    dirt or gravel and the stand legs can put dimples into the warm tar.

    That said, A piece of plywood under each stand will pretty much stop this.

    I welded some 1/4" metal sheet under my stands after gouging my older tar driveway.... lesson learned.
     
  11. tomas

    tomas Traded in 9 rep bars for M3, used to be somebody!

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,099
    Location:
    Chicago/Montecito
    no to this pad, too big for tesla jacking point! Do not use anything for pad that extends beyond jacking point because that will put jacking load on battery! Hence puck or similar.
     
  12. tga

    tga Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2014
    Messages:
    2,192
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Overkill for hand tools, IMHO. If you do manage to break a socket with hand tools, you just go back to Lowes/Home Depot/Sears/The Snap-On truck and exchange it. The only time I broke a socket with hand tools, I was using a cheap, no-name socket on an 18" breaker bar, with a 6 foot piece of 1" black iron pipe as a cheater bar for more torque, and I bent the pipe before the socket failed.

    But with an impact gun, there's enough force that non-impact sockets can fail spectacularly. Think fractured metal pieces flung in all directions, with many heading for soft body parts (like your eyes). Not fun.

    Anyone who is welding 1/4 steel knows this, so this is for the benefit of others...:wink:

    You want an impact wrench, not an impact driver. Impact drivers quote torque in inch-pounds, with a big sounding number to obfuscate the relative minor torque. They usually have 3/8 square drives. Impact wrenches list torque in foot-pounds and have 1/2 drives, min (1 ft-lb = 12inch-lbs, as expected). Impact drivers are for installing decking screws; impact wrenches are for removing lug nuts and rusty bolts on the underside of a car.

    I have one of the 18V Dewalt 1/2 impact wrenches (DW059K). I bought it years ago for tire changes at the track, but it's pretty much my go-to impact wrench in the garage. I haven't used the 1/2 air wrench in months.
     
  13. Pilot_51

    Pilot_51 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    529
    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    #13 Pilot_51, Dec 21, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
    Tire rotation completed at 6299 miles without too much trouble. :smile:

    I went to a local auto parts store and bought a breaker bar, ratchet, and 13/16" 6-point socket (it fit more snug than 21mm).

    I was quite nervous lifting the car and hearing creaking and seeing the jack move sideways a little, though I'm sure that's more to do with inexperience than an actual imminent danger.

    Lessons learned:
    1. Don't go too short on the breaker bar. It takes a lot of force to break the nuts loose. I went cheap and bought a 10" breaker bar, only to find that I couldn't break the nuts loose with it. Fortunately, my brother had a 15" of the correct drive size in his Explorer and that was enough to get the job done without too much effort.
    2. After the first jackstand is placed and lifting for the second, be careful not to raise the jack much higher than required for the jackstand, as it could lift the vehicle off of the first jackstand.
    3. Be sure the Jackpoint jackstands are accurately centered before lowering the pad onto it. I didn't center the first one enough and when I ran into the previous issue of raising the other corner too high, the pin came out and moved an inch or two forward. Not realizing it moved out of position, I slowly lowered the jack until I saw that the car was resting on the pin. Almost in a panic because that can't be good for the car, I raised the jack again so I could get the jackstand moved back into position.
    4. Don't place the wheels outside down onto pavement, not even slowly. That's an easy way to scratch or knick them. If you must place outside down, place onto a soft surface like grass. I caused a few small knicks on one of my wheels because I wanted to take a picture of the inside.
    5. Mounting a wheel is a bit harder than I expected because of the difficulty of simultaneously lifting and aligning it. I rolled it onto one my steel-toe boots while kneeled so I could see alignment and kind of wiggled it into place. Though, on the last wheel, I tried a standing lift and mount (semi-blind) and I think it went better.
    6. Spinning the ratchet with one finger is a quick and easy way to spin the loose nuts. Even though I have done that before, long ago for other things, I didn't think of it until putting the nuts back on the last wheel. I had been using my fingers with the socket most of the time because the ratchet wouldn't ratchet. I probably wasted 10 minutes by using my fingers. Now you know how little experience I have with tools; I think it just doubled.
    7. Be sure the torque wrench setting doesn't move too much. On mine, which is set by rotating the handle, it would drift about 1 ft.lb when tightening one nut, even though the lock nut was tight.
    8. Be careful that you don't allow the tools, especially the breaker bar and torque wrench, to touch your paint. I noticed this risk in time to prevent it by putting my fingers between the handle and the body or use a low angle away from the body. I'm glad I bought a deep socket even though I thought a standard one might be better.

    Pictures to come later, after sleep.
     
  14. James Anders

    James Anders Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2014
    Messages:
    742
    Location:
    Southampton, PA
    I second this approach. Much easier and less complicated. Good 3 ton floor jacks are inexpensive (less than $100).

    3 ton Low Profile Steel Heavy Duty Floor Jack with Rapid Pump®
     
  15. tomas

    tomas Traded in 9 rep bars for M3, used to be somebody!

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,099
    Location:
    Chicago/Montecito
    I was taught correct rotation is DF > PR, PF > DR, DR > DF, PR > PF.
    Hard to do with 2 jacks or stands. Takes extra step.
     
  16. beingpaulp

    beingpaulp Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2014
    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    SF, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos - CA
    You can't rotate directional tires in the X pattern (they would spin in the wrong direction) unless you dismount them from the wheel and re-mount them. Most people aren't going to do this at home since you need special tools and would have to rebalance each wheel.
     
  17. James Anders

    James Anders Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2014
    Messages:
    742
    Location:
    Southampton, PA
    #17 James Anders, Dec 21, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014

    Well even though I don't yet own a Tesla I believe the manual cites that the tires are unidirectional and should be rotated front to rear only (one side only). I don't know if the tires have directional arrows on them.

    And if you own a Performance Plus model, you should not rotate tires at all.

    In any case, many tires today can not be cross or diagonally rotated.

    And you can't even turn the tires around. The manual states that the tires have "OUTSIDE" embossed on each tire.

    If you're getting tires replaced or repaired make sure that the arrows and the "OUTSIDE" marks are correct. I have had tire jockeys make this mistake several times.
     
  18. tga

    tga Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2014
    Messages:
    2,192
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I have, in the past, with only one jack, used a snow tire to hold up the first corner, then replaced it with tire #4 to complete the rotation (those Jackpoint Jackstands look pretty sweet)

    But then I got a lift.:wink:

    Tires with an "outside" are not necessarily directional - the Pilot Sports PS2's and Pilot Sport Cups (track tires) I have for my 911 have an outside, but they are not directional.
     
  19. James Anders

    James Anders Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2014
    Messages:
    742
    Location:
    Southampton, PA
    That's correct. It's just another aspect to be aware of. I have had tires mounted with the outside mark on the inside and I have had tires mounted with the arrows in the wrong direction.
     
  20. Pilot_51

    Pilot_51 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    529
    Location:
    Metro Detroit, MI
    Here are the Jackpoint jackstands in use with the wheels off.
    IMG_20141220_154525.jpg

    Don't do this. I saw "Made in USA" along with a bunch of other markings and decided to place the wheel outside-down to take a picture, not thinking that the wheel protrudes more than the tire on the outside.
    IMG_20141220_155048.jpg

    This is what the jackstands looked like after completing rotation on both sides. The rubber insulator on the right really took a beating, which IIRC is the one that slipped out of position.
    IMG_20141220_165612.jpg

    For the rest of my pictures from the rotation, see my G+ album.
     

Share This Page