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Swapping wheels: 1 or 2 jack stands?

redox

Member
Sep 13, 2014
243
15
SF Bay Area
I should be getting my winter set (wheels+tires) today, and my jackpoint jack stands later this week, which means I should be ready for the swap at the end of the week.

The jack stands come in pairs, which begs the question: when doing the wheel swap job, what's safest, using one or two jack stands?

And if using two, what are the safest configurations?
Intuitively I'd have thought that either 2 on the left or 2 on the right might be safe because in either configuration, one of the rear tires is always on the ground with the parking brake applied to it, which is an extra safety on top of the wheel chocks, but I'm wondering what the community wisdom is around this.

Cheers!
 

StaceyS

Member
Jul 10, 2015
210
51
Bend, OR United States
For just swapping between winter and summer tires, I don't use jack stands. I use a hydraulic floor jack, put it under the lift point nearest the wheel I'm going to swap, lift the car slightly, loosen the lug nuts, raise the car enough so the wheel is just off the ground, swap the wheels, put on with lug nuts as tight as I can get them, lower the car, tighten the lug nuts and repeat 3 more times. Also, I'm never under the car when its supported by a jack.

On previous and lighter vehicles, I would position the floor jack at the structural member between the front and rear doors and lift one entire side of the car and swap both wheels on one side at the same time. I haven't done that with the Model S due to its weight, and I'm unsure if the frame rail at that location is strong enough to support half the car.

If your car has the air suspension, put it in Jack mode before you start, otherwise the car will try to level itself as you lift it. Also, block the other wheels (particularly if you're lifting the rear wheels, as the front wheels have no parking brake function) to ensure the car doesn't roll.

If you're going to use 2 jack stands, I would suggest lifting one side of the car at a time and do front and back wheels on one side, opposed to doing front or rear together. As I mention above, the front wheels have no parking brake function, so if you lift the rear axle entirely off the ground, there is nothing to stop the car from rolling.
 

jcaspar

Member
Aug 19, 2013
834
76
Sacramento
I agree. I never use jack stands for a single wheel project (brakes, wheel swap etc) unless I am going to be under the car or it is going to be up for an extended period of time.
 

green1

Active Member
Mar 25, 2014
4,548
1,494
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
No need to use jack stands at all for lifting a single corner at a time, just make sure you never put yourself, or any body part, under the vehicle while it's on the jack, and make sure you're in jack mode with parking brake on (ie, not in neutral for tow mode)
The one place though that jack stands help is tire rotation, it's much easier to jack up one end, put it on a stand, then jack up the other end, the alternative is finding a spare wheel (eg from a set used in the other season) and more than double your workload. On this car there's not much reason to be under it for anything else...
 

mechapreneur

Member
Nov 7, 2015
36
30
San Francisco, CA
Lots of recommendations to only use the hydraulic jack for changing wheels, but since you have jack point stands, just set it down in the stand for safety. Hydraulics can leak and even if you are not under the car, coming down fast on the rotor while the wheel is off can do damage to the car or your fingers or head if you are too close.

Be safe.
 

redox

Member
Sep 13, 2014
243
15
SF Bay Area
Lots of recommendations to only use the hydraulic jack for changing wheels, but since you have jack point stands, just set it down in the stand for safety. Hydraulics can leak and even if you are not under the car, coming down fast on the rotor while the wheel is off can do damage to the car or your fingers or head if you are too close.

Be safe.

Thanks. Just completed the swap today. I used the stands, one wheel at a time, for the reasons you mentioned.
 

Kandiru

Active Member
Oct 20, 2014
1,274
492
USA
Lots of recommendations to only use the hydraulic jack for changing wheels, but since you have jack point stands, just set it down in the stand for safety. Hydraulics can leak and even if you are not under the car, coming down fast on the rotor while the wheel is off can do damage to the car or your fingers or head if you are too close.

Be safe.

Ditto, never get under a hydraulic, and never stick your head in the wheel well to check brake pad thickness, use a mirror instead.
 

tstafford

Active Member
Jul 4, 2015
1,039
257
Nashville, TN
What type of torque wrench are you guys/gals using to put on the lug nuts? Tesla requires such a high torque setting that messing with the wheels makes me nervous.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
20,015
24,790
Texas
What type of torque wrench are you guys/gals using to put on the lug nuts? Tesla requires such a high torque setting that messing with the wheels makes me nervous.
I use this one from Precision Instruments. It has the advantage of not needing to be released after every use. The disadvantage is that you can only use it in one direction (so it won't work if you have an old Chrysler product). Note that, the Corvette has even higher torque requirements. I don't think I've ever seen a torque wrench break unless it was misused--plenty of failures then--and they typically don't break in a catastrophic fashion.

I'm in the, use jackstands camp.
 

redi

2013 P85+
Aug 31, 2013
612
150
DFW, TX
What type of torque wrench are you guys/gals using to put on the lug nuts? Tesla requires such a high torque setting that messing with the wheels makes me nervous.

A nice hydraulic jack, hockey puck, and this ACDelco ARM602-4 1/2-Inch Torque Measurement Adapter 4-147.6 ft-lbs - Torque Wrenches - Amazon.com work well for me.

I have tested it with my standard torque wrench and it is reads identically. It's nice to be able to verify what your torque wrench calibration is as well without leaving your garage.
 

tliving

Member
Mar 8, 2014
751
102
New England, USA
A nice hydraulic jack, hockey puck, and this ACDelco ARM602-4 1/2-Inch Torque Measurement Adapter 4-147.6 ft-lbs - Torque Wrenches - Amazon.com work well for me.

I have tested it with my standard torque wrench and it is reads identically. It's nice to be able to verify what your torque wrench calibration is as well without leaving your garage.

I know all you DIY'ers are having fun with the tools but, seriously, my local tire guy charges me $20 to swap the wheels. No tools, no mess, and they never touch anything but the wheels. Been doing rotations and summer/winter tire swaps for 2 years with no issues. Why not keep a local in business and avoid the tools/mess? This is really low money.
 

green1

Active Member
Mar 25, 2014
4,548
1,494
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I know all you DIY'ers are having fun with the tools but, seriously, my local tire guy charges me $20 to swap the wheels. No tools, no mess, and they never touch anything but the wheels. Been doing rotations and summer/winter tire swaps for 2 years with no issues. Why not keep a local in business and avoid the tools/mess? This is really low money.
The issue around here is that the summer/winter tire swap has every shop so busy that they book weeks out...
 

redox

Member
Sep 13, 2014
243
15
SF Bay Area
I know all you DIY'ers are having fun with the tools but, seriously, my local tire guy charges me $20 to swap the wheels. No tools, no mess, and they never touch anything but the wheels. Been doing rotations and summer/winter tire swaps for 2 years with no issues. Why not keep a local in business and avoid the tools/mess? This is really low money.

It's not always to "have fun with the tools"...

In my case, I doubt I will find anyone who can do it for $20 around my area (welcome to Silicon Valley), but even if they were, I'd be worried about them doing a good job. For that price, how careful are they about not overlapping the lift point with the battery (it's close)? Do they use anti-seize for the next time around? Do they use the proper lifts? Do they know how to use jack mode? Do they use a torque wrench to make sure it's not under/over-tightened? Are they careful with the rims? With the rest of the car? If I have to set up the car in cargo mode to take 4 wheels+tires, go there, wait, get it done, and come back, then put the car back to "normal", is it really saving me time vs doing it in my garage?

I find that people who "work on your stuff" (house, car, or anything really) aren't generally as careful and diligent as you are yourself. When **** happens, all you have out of the transaction is "oh sorry", or more aggravation if you decide to escalate it (and there goes your time).

It's not just the $$...
 

Naonak

Member
Dec 22, 2015
797
1,279
Kansas
It's not always to "have fun with the tools"...

In my case, I doubt I will find anyone who can do it for $20 around my area (welcome to Silicon Valley), but even if they were, I'd be worried about them doing a good job. For that price, how careful are they about not overlapping the lift point with the battery (it's close)? Do they use anti-seize for the next time around? Do they use the proper lifts? Do they know how to use jack mode? Do they use a torque wrench to make sure it's not under/over-tightened? Are they careful with the rims? With the rest of the car? If I have to set up the car in cargo mode to take 4 wheels+tires, go there, wait, get it done, and come back, then put the car back to "normal", is it really saving me time vs doing it in my garage?

I find that people who "work on your stuff" (house, car, or anything really) aren't generally as careful and diligent as you are yourself. When **** happens, all you have out of the transaction is "oh sorry", or more aggravation if you decide to escalate it (and there goes your time).

It's not just the $$...

I feel the same way. I do as much of my own work as I can, because I've only found one mechanic that does the quality of work I do myself and that's even sometimes questionable. I just simply don't trust other people to take as good car of my stuff as I do myself.
 

JeffS

Member
Oct 7, 2015
239
48
Wisconsin
I change tires way more than 2x per year. In WI, if temps are going to be consistently above 40 or 45 for more than a week, I put my all seasons on. If we get a week or two cold snap or snowy stretch, I put my snows back on. Changed back and forth between all seasons and snows 2x in Nov/Dec. Will do 2 -3x in March/April. It's 25mins. Can't even drive to a tire shop and home in 25mins, much less sit around and wait for them to work. And putting dirty tires INSIDE my car? Yeah...no.
 

kevincwelch

Active Member
May 13, 2012
2,062
105
Chicagoland
I know all you DIY'ers are having fun with the tools but, seriously, my local tire guy charges me $20 to swap the wheels. No tools, no mess, and they never touch anything but the wheels. Been doing rotations and summer/winter tire swaps for 2 years with no issues. Why not keep a local in business and avoid the tools/mess? This is really low money.

Because I can do it on my own schedule and I enjoy the time to myself.
 

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