How to Safely Remove and Install New Wheels Credit: Tire Rack

Whether you’re upgrading your wheels or just replacing them, it's essential to follow safe practices during removal and installation. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

Tools and Equipment Needed:
  • Jack and jack stands or a hydraulic lift
  • Lug wrench or impact wrench
  • Torque wrench
  • Wheel chocks
  • Safety gloves
  • Anti-seize compound (optional)
  • Wheel alignment tool (optional)
1. Prepare Your Vehicle and Work Area
  • Park on a Level Surface: Ensure your vehicle is on a flat, stable surface to prevent it from rolling.
  • Engage the Parking Brake: Engage the brake to stabilize the vehicle.
  • Wheel Chocks: Place wheel chocks around the wheels that will remain on the ground.
2. Loosen the Lug Nuts

Loosen the Lug Nuts Credit: Business Wire

  • Loosen with the Vehicle on the Ground: Use a lug wrench or impact wrench to break the lug nuts loose. Do not remove them yet.
3. Lift the Vehicle

Lift the Vehicle Credit: Sullivan Tire

  • Position the Jack: Place the jack under a sturdy jack point near the wheel you want to remove.
  • Lift the Vehicle: Raise the vehicle until the wheel is off the ground.
  • Secure with Jack Stands: Place jack stands under the vehicle for safety.
4. Remove the Wheel

Remove the Wheel Credit: Tirebuyer

  • Remove Lug Nuts: Finish removing the loosened lug nuts and keep them aside.
  • Remove the Wheel: Carefully pull the wheel off the hub and set it aside.
5. Install the New Wheel
  • Clean the Hub: Clean any dirt or rust from the hub surface to ensure proper wheel seating.
  • Apply Anti-Seize (Optional): Apply a thin layer of anti-seize compound on the hub to prevent the wheel from sticking.
  • Align the Wheel: Align the wheel with the lug bolts and slide it onto the hub.
  • Hand-Tighten Lug Nuts: Hand-tighten the lug nuts to hold the wheel in place.
6. Lower the Vehicle and Tighten Lug Nuts
  • Lower the Vehicle Slightly: Lower the vehicle until the wheel just touches the ground to prevent it from spinning.
  • Tighten the Lug Nuts: Use a torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern to ensure even pressure. Refer to your vehicle's manual for the proper torque specification.
  • Lower the Vehicle Completely: Once the nuts are tightened, lower the vehicle completely and remove the jack and jack stands.
7. Check and Retorque Lug Nuts
  • Retorque After Driving: Drive the vehicle for a short distance and then recheck the lug nuts with a torque wrench to ensure they are still properly tightened.


Safely removing and installing wheels involves proper preparation, the right tools, and careful attention to detail. By following these steps, you can ensure your wheels are securely installed and safe to drive on.