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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Apologies to those who are well acquainted with maintaining their cars but I thought this advise could be of benefit..

Anyway...

To those who have recently purchased their car second hand and those who've had them a while, when was the last time you had your wheels off ?

Reason I ask is that they have a tendancy to corrode onto the hubs and require substantial [and I mean substantial] force to remove them. This is ok if your at home, it's not an emergency and you have the time to deal with it. Invariably when you do actually come to have to change a wheel, it will be 10.30 at night on a country lane and 'hoying' down with rain plus you'll no doubt be wearing nice clothes.

This is all fine if your going to ring the AA and wait an hour or two for them to turn up but doing that is not very 'manly' is it ? Just think if you could do it yourself you could get home earlier and do 'manly' things such as watch the footy highlights whilst drinking a few beers (as you've not had any as you've been driving and changing your wheel...)

The reason I've posted this all to sarcastic 'how to' is due to the problems I had getting my wheels off just after I bought my car when I wanted to have a good look at the brake pads. I have had lots and lots of cars in the past and have NEVER had a problem getting a wheel off. I've had problems with over tight wheel nuts and locking nuts but NEVER actually getting the wheel itself off.

So to those who've never done it here is how...

1, Park car on flat hard surface.

2, Remove wheel nut covers.

3, Loosen wheel nuts.(you may need to buy an extent ion bar + socket)

then and ONLY then

4, Jack the car up so the wheel just clears the ground.

5, Put the spare wheel under the car at the corner where you've jacked it up or use an axle stand or blocks of timber etc. This is VERY important and could save your life !

6, Undo and remove the previously loosened wheel nuts.

at this stage your either going to be lucky or otherwise...

6, "Simply" remove the wheel, or NOT chances are it will not budge.

7, Options here are to kick the Tyre at 12,3,6 & 9 o'clock to see if it will move (mine didn't despite getting a good hoofing with my size 11 steel toe capped boots.)

8, If kicking doesn't work, I just happened to have an 8 foot length of 6"x2" timber and what I did was slide it very fast and very hard into another bit of wood I had layed across the tyre to avoid damaging the wheel & tyre. I did this from the opposite side under the car. Each wheel using this method still needed several good whacks before it came off.

9, Make sure you've got something soft for the wheel to fall over onto to avoid scratching it, like the boot carpet or similar.

Wheel now off I'd recommend doing the following...

10, You'll see the areas that have stuck and these will need cleaning up lightly with a wire brush and sandpaper. Be very careful not to scratch anything that shouldn't be scratched. Particular attention should be given to the edges of the 'round' hole in the middle of the wheel as this seems to be the area where the wheel sticks the most.

11, Once cleaned up, apply a smear of copper grease to the contact surfaces of the wheel and hub. Be VERY careful not to get any on the disks and be careful not to put it on to thick as centrifugal force of the rotation of the wheel could 'flick' any excess on the disc.

Ok job done wheel back on if you want to but whilst your at it I'd also recommend doing the following...

12, Remove any stones stuck in your tyres

13, Clean the inside of your wheels (you'll more than likely need some wonder wheels or similar. Any mud / tar / stones stuck with tar residing on the inside of your wheel could effect the wheel balance so this is worth doing for that alone.

14, Clean any salty mud etc off the inside of the wheel arch.

15, Check you brake pads for wear, especially the inner ones that are not visible with the wheels on.

Ok if you've done that lot it's wheel on time, basically a reverse of removal but you obviously you don't need to kick and belt them on with a bit of wood, just put them on. And don't forget you fully tighten them up when the wheel is back on the ground otherwise it's highly likely you'll pull the car off the jack.

One important thing though is that it's vital that you tighten the bolts up properly and check them again after 50 miles or so... How many people do this, not many. For initial tightening and checking use a torque wrench if you've got one, if not do them tight and hope for the best !

I personally use copper grease on the wheel bolts / nuts as well to ensure they do not corrode and that they will come off with ease. One warning though if you do grease the threads, the torque setting given in the handbook no longer applies as the thread is 'wet'. You will need to tighten them a little further (does anyone know the torque setting for 'wet' wheel bolts by the way ?) As a rule of thumb I generally tighten them when 'wet' on an angle basis. From the initial pinch I tighten them through 90 degrees.

So that's the end of this rather lengthy how to for what is quite a basic task. I'm sure those in the 'know' will be smiling at this but I think it's important to know that you WILL be able to get your wheel off when the the time comes !

One word of warning ... Motorways and wheel changing are very dangerous, in that instance it probably is worth calling out the AA. It isn't worth being 'ironed' out on the hard shoulder even if you do miss the footy and a few beers.
 

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OldSkool Crew
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1 more thing that I recommend...

Put some copper slip/grease on the actual hub / back of wheel so that they don't corrode and stick together in the future!
 

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A very helpful how-to. Thanks.

I agree with Wilkins, a liberal coating of copper grease smeared all over your nuts will prevent a lot of straining later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I agree and as stated above remember when your 'nuts' are wet the torque setting in the handbook is not applicable. They need a bit more tightening.
 

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kinky, but shouldnt i concentrate on the job in hand?!?!

oh how "Carry-on"!! Sorry

Quote: posted by wilkins76 on 12/12/2004 08:36:01

Yes and on your nuts too
 

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if you've got alloys copper grease is a bit of a no-no! think about it, the wheel made out of alloy, then copper and then steal discs. this means oxidisation is bound to happen. when im working on cars with alloys i use just normal grease around the inside of the wheel and on the hub and then copper on the wheel nuts
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Your correct Rob,

But....

The Ali on the wheels is painted....

But....

The paint gets scratched !!

So....

It's no help and what you say makes sense to me !

Trying to remember my 'o' level chemistry a bit here. It all depends on which is the 'Noblist' metal.

From memory I think.

Ali + Steel is worse than Ali + Copper..... in terms of rates of corrosion. This might explain why the wheels have a tendancy to chemically weld themselves to each other ? And using that line of logic it's the 'grease' in the copper grease that's preventing the corrosion and NOT the 'copper'. In fact the grease in it is fighting both the steel + ali and the copper + ali corrosion ?

Any chemists on here know what they are on about rather than my gibberish ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The rest of the 'how-to' still stands though.

Please make sure that your wheels come off when you've got the time to sort them rather than in an emergency.

Another tip as well, although not recommended as it could ruin your wheels is :-

If the wheel won't come off

Put the bolts back on hand tight and then back them off one turn.(so they are not clamping wheel onto hub but will prevent it falling off)

Let the car off the jack and drive ONE or TWO metres (this should shock the wheel off the hub).

This is a last resort and could damage your wheels though so bear that in mind before doing it.
 

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I Had this problem on my polo. Best suit, peeing down with rain and I had a puncture. The previous week I had 2 new tyres on the front and greased them while they were being changed. Trouble is I didn't 'get round' to doing the rear ones, and where did I have the puncture.....

Couldn't get the wheel off so I phoned VW Assistance who said take all the bolts off and then let the jack down so the wheel is on the ground but the jack is still supporting it and then 'gently' rock the car from side to side and then you hear the wheel 'crack' from the hub. Jack it back up and hey presto wheel can be removed.

Just a bit of an easier way IMO.
 

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MK7 Golf R
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I Had this problem on my polo. Best suit, peeing down with rain and I had a puncture. The previous week I had 2 new tyres on the front and greased them while they were being changed. Trouble is I didn't 'get round' to doing the rear ones, and where did I have the puncture.....

Couldn't get the wheel off so I phoned VW Assistance who said take all the bolts off and then let the jack down so the wheel is on the ground but the jack is still supporting it and then 'gently' rock the car from side to side and then you hear the wheel 'crack' from the hub. Jack it back up and hey presto wheel can be removed.

Just a bit of an easier way IMO.
 

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top "how to"

went to rotate the tyres on my 03 Match and.. alas.. the wheel wouldnt come off for love nor money...

will be tryin this next week so i can actually rotate them [:D]

thanx again mate
 

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Is it right that you need to tighten the bolts more if they're 'wet' greased?

I only ask as if you grease a bolt, you lower its effective friction- meaning that it will turn further when compared to a bolt that hasn't been greased with the same torque applied- therefore already making tighter than it should be.

Interested to know your thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Is it right that you need to tighten the bolts more if they're 'wet' greased?

I only ask as if you grease a bolt, you lower its effective friction- meaning that it will turn further when compared to a bolt that hasn't been greased with the same torque applied- therefore already making tighter than it should be.

Interested to know your thoughts.
I think your right.

So in hindsight and almost 4 years later...

The torque setting would remain the same, the fact that the threads are wet simply means that it is easier to get the bolts to the required torque.
 

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I regularly take my wheels to give my alloys a good clean.

Applying "Rim Wax" all over the alloy then giving a double coat on the inside rim so that it reduces the ammount of rubbish that settles on my wheels.

Well worth doing while the wheels are off, keeps them looking better for longer and reduces the innitial cleaning next time.
 

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When I came to remove my wheels for the first time on my MKIV, I too found them corroded onto the hubs (Galvanic Corrosion between the steel + alloy IIRC....)

All I did was gently tap the tyre on the inside edge with my breaker bar.

I rotated the wheel as I went and it was free in no time.
 

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My 2P's worth.

When you're belting the wheel off, it's wise to have at least a couple of nuts screwed in loosely so that, if the wheel is released suddenly, it doesn't fly off and land face down on your drive.

There is no problem with using copper grease for this job. It has the highest temperature duty of commonly available greases (that's why it's used on brake parts). I've used it on alloy wheels for years, without problems.

Putting grease on threads will significantly change the correct torque setting. The torque used should be such that the bolt is stretched, which loads the mating surface of the bolt against the wheel sufficient to ensure that the resulting friction force will prevent the bolt from rotating, ie. undoing! Obviously, if the mating surfaces are greased, this friction force will be greatly reduced at the usual torque setting, so your margins of safety will be reduced accordingly. Just give the threads and mating faces a good clean, ending up wiping with a slightly oily cloth, and you won't have a problem. As long as the bolts are torqued to the correct figure, (I used 90 ftlb) they will always come undone using a normal wheel nut wrench.

This is definitely a "must do" job on any car that is new to you - even brand new. Manufacturers do not apply any grease. As said, it could save you a lot of inconvenience. The first time I came across the problem was on a LR Freelander. Rather big wheels, and there was absolutely no way I could shift them, even using similar methods to above.
 
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