How Do You Replace Used Wheels and Rims?


To take off old wheels, use hand tools such as a four-way wrench or breaker bar with a socket to loosen the lug nuts or bolts. Jack the car up, and remove the lug nuts or bolts. Slide wheels and tires off the car. Do this on a flat surface.

Check the mounting surface of brake drums and rotors, and remove any visible rust. Take off stud clips or any other temporary retaining devices, which are not part of the factory installation and keep the wheels from sitting flush against the brake hubs when you install the new set. Also remove any locator pins or indicator pins on the wheel hub. They are there to index the wheel on the assembly line and appear on some Infiniti, Nissan and Volvo models but should be removed before you mount new wheels.

The only exception to the rule above is that on a Hyundai, the large bolts connecting the rotors to the hubs should stay in place. Once everything is off, test the wheels in their new position on the car. Use a centering ring if necessary to build the right fit with the hub. The wheel has to contact the hub's mating surface fully, and the bot circle on the wheel must match its counterpart of the vehicle. Put the lug nuts on snugly, and check to see that you have at least 3 millimeters of clearance between the brakes and the wheel. Put the transmission into neutral, and hand turn each wheel to ensure that the brake caliper doesn't contact the inside of the rim or that the caliper doesn't touch the balancing weights or the wheel's back side. Apply antiseize to the axle hubs to prevent corrosion and make removal easier when it's time to rotate the tire. Tighten the lugs with a crisscross sequence, and retorque the lugs after no more than 100 miles of driving.