At home tire rotation protocol question

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325
Location
Colorado
Thread starter
Hi all: I'm thinking of starting to do my own tire rotations to avoid frustrations with tire places that jam through cars like a pit stop at the Indy 500. One of my cars uses the simple front to back pattern and the other one uses the criss-cross pattern. I'm looking into a nice torque wrench and set of jack stands and came across the thread below. It was a nice discussion where some folks just use the spare in the sequence and totally avoid using a jack stand and merely using the car jack or a floor jack. To those here doing their own rotations - which of these techniques do you favor? https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/3638838/1
 
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34,632
Location
NY
Typically with a 4 tire rotation I jack the rear up first and put it on jack stands, then remove the tires. Then I jack up the front, [jack stands in place for safety] remove the tires, swap the back tires to the front, to where they need to be, tighten up the lugs [remove the jack stands] and lower the vehicle. Then I put the back tires on, jack it off the stands and lower it. FTR I have about 5 pair of jack stands and 2 floor jacks. My vehicles are RWD and 4WD. It doesn't take very long to do, or much jack movement.
 
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14,973
Location
NE,Ohio
jack stands can be a pain on some cars no real good place for them. 2 jack method: in the case of cross rotation I jack up one end and switch the tires.. then do front to back by jacking up 1 side at a time. if you have them you can also use 1 jack and a spare tire or winter tire Example subaru outback 2013- recommends a forward cross. I jack the rear from the differential skidplate. swap tires side to side. put one tire back on with a lugnut for safety as my driveway has a small sideways slope. then I jack the front driver side and swap driver side tires front to back, repeat for passenger side. also I check for nails in the tires found 2 today but neither penetrated.. also a couple pieces of glass in the tread sipes I removed. typically for standard lugs I use my milwaukee m12 fuel stubby impact to remove and replace the lugnuts for cars with 80ft-lb or lower.. I then final tighten with torque wrench. if they are 100ft-lb or higher I use the dewalt dcf899 big impact.. to remove then final tighten with torque wrench. if they are tuner or other odd lugs I will first loosen them all by hand with breaker bar.. and the final torque step takes longer as you have to ratchet the torque wrench because I dont zip them on as tight with the impact.
 
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15,994
Location
Silicon Valley
I've never used torque wrench on my own car for tire rotation. Basically what I do is look up how heavy I am, and about how much I step on a chair will reduce that much weight on my other foot from my scale. I then practice a few times to remember how much I should step on the tire iron. The tire iron is about 1 foot long, so that many pound times 1 foot is that many pound foot. If you need to use a torque wrench to replace a flat, what are you going to do at the road side when you got a flat? You don't need to be that precise as long as you are not over torquing and all lug nuts are tighten about the same in a star pattern.
 
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1,408
Location
Ohio
I lower the spare, put the spare on the first one that comes off, rotate the others through, and swap the spare back. Good time to check the spare tire pressure too. Also good to lube the cable and windlass for the spare, they get rusty around here if you have the spare on the underside. Unless you have the jack stand securely under the one missing wheel, jacking other wheels may cause it to shift on the jack stand. Happened to me once.
 
Originally Posted by PandaBear
I've never used torque wrench on my own car for tire rotation. Basically what I do is look up how heavy I am, and about how much I step on a chair will reduce that much weight on my other foot from my scale. I then practice a few times to remember how much I should step on the tire iron. The tire iron is about 1 foot long, so that many pound times 1 foot is that many pound foot.
That's a well thought out method but there's really nothing wrong with using a t-wrench and mfg's specs. No you wouldn't need to carry the wrench in your car, get them tight then loosen and re-torque when back home. Wondering if you keep a chair in your trunk so you can get your calibration right? wink
 
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1,020
Location
Athens, GA
*Flame Suit On* I don't use jack stands at all. Both of my cars will lift the entire side of the car from the front jacking point. I make it a point to not be under the car at any point. Air impact the wheels off, flip front to rear, hand tighten, off the jackstands, torque wrench. Tires rotated every oil change front to back only. Spare is a compact so it stays put. Now, I have a nice flat concrete floor and air power available. The worst that will happen is a jack collapse and the car falls to the floor. I never have any body part under the car at any point so the risk to me is minimal. It takes me a couple minutes a side to get the job done. And yes, if I'm doing something more involved, the jack stands come out and are properly used.
 

Kestas

Staff member
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13,787
Location
The Motor City
I use a jack, log, and torque wrench to cross rotate my tires that allow cross rotation. TPMS precludes including the full sized spare in rotation. If I feel the need, I'll include a rebalance from my home balancer on each tire.
 
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11,362
Location
Illinois
I can do it with 3. I can use 2 on one side of the car and then lift the other side with 1 about 1/3 of the way from the front to the back. FWIW
Originally Posted by zfasts03
4 Floor Jacks is a game changer. Been doing tire rotations this way for years.
 
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35,843
Location
ME
Originally Posted by ctechbob
*Flame Suit On* I don't use jack stands at all. Both of my cars will lift the entire side of the car from the front jacking point. I make it a point to not be under the car at any point. Air impact the wheels off, flip front to rear, hand tighten, off the jackstands, torque wrench. Tires rotated every oil change front to back only. Spare is a compact so it stays put.
This is how I did the HHR. Just lifted by the unibody "frame rail" approx 1 foot aft of the firewall. The front tire came up first, obviously, but as I kept jacking the rear one did too. At some point your time is worth something.
 
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132
Location
Ol' Kentuck
Originally Posted by Dave Sherman
I lower the spare, put the spare on the first one that comes off, rotate the others through, and swap the spare back. Good time to check the spare tire pressure too. Also good to lube the cable and windlass for the spare, they get rusty around here if you have the spare on the underside. Unless you have the jack stand securely under the one missing wheel, jacking other wheels may cause it to shift on the jack stand. Happened to me once.
This. I drop the spare, check the tire pressure, and take it to the driver's side front wheel. I jack up the truck just behind the front wheel, remove the front wheel, and replace it with the spare (temporarily holding with 2-3 lug nuts). I roll the front wheel over to the air compressor checking for nails or other objects in the tire as I go, then check the tire pressure and fill if necessary. That tire goes to the driver's side rear, and the process keeps going until the passenger side rear gets moved to the driver's front and the spare gets removed and put back into its holder. FWIW, I do use a torque wrench to tighten the lugs.
 
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3,649
Location
Worst Case, Ontario
Originally Posted by PandaBear
I've never used torque wrench on my own car for tire rotation. Basically what I do is look up how heavy I am, and about how much I step on a chair will reduce that much weight on my other foot from my scale. I then practice a few times to remember how much I should step on the tire iron. The tire iron is about 1 foot long, so that many pound times 1 foot is that many pound foot.
I used to do the same thing, just stand on the L shaped tire iron from the tool kit. Works like a charm! Get a split beam wrench, I ALWAYS leave my clicker cranked up for some reason. I left it for a few days cranked up to 150 ft lbs last weekend after torquing an axle nut! sick
 
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3,277
Location
On another site
Originally Posted by Dave Sherman
I lower the spare, put the spare on the first one that comes off, rotate the others through, and swap the spare back. Good time to check the spare tire pressure too. Also good to lube the cable and windlass for the spare, they get rusty around here if you have the spare on the underside. Unless you have the jack stand securely under the one missing wheel, jacking other wheels may cause it to shift on the jack stand. Happened to me once.
+1 on this method...but get the rear axle on jack stands so only have to jack it up once.
 
Messages
171
Location
NV
Originally Posted by Dave Sherman
I lower the spare, put the spare on the first one that comes off, rotate the others through, and swap the spare back. Good time to check the spare tire pressure too. Also good to lube the cable and windlass for the spare, they get rusty around here if you have the spare on the underside. Unless you have the jack stand securely under the one missing wheel, jacking other wheels may cause it to shift on the jack stand. Happened to me once.
This is the exact process I use. And I do it with the jack and lug wrench that come with the car. It's sort of like a rehearsal for if/when I have to do it roadside. I also know that if I put the lug nuts on with that wrench, I'll be able to get them off when I need to.
 
Messages
471
Location
TX
3 floor jacks, DeWalt 18v Impact (250tq rating) and torque stick. Back go straight forward, front cross as they go on the back. Every 5k. Usually clean the inside of the wheel while its off.
 
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1,177
Location
PEARL River la
Originally Posted by Squirrelee
Originally Posted by Dave Sherman
I lower the spare, put the spare on the first one that comes off, rotate the others through, and swap the spare back. Good time to check the spare tire pressure too. Also good to lube the cable and windlass for the spare, they get rusty around here if you have the spare on the underside. Unless you have the jack stand securely under the one missing wheel, jacking other wheels may cause it to shift on the jack stand. Happened to me once.
This. I drop the spare, check the tire pressure, and take it to the driver's side front wheel. I jack up the truck just behind the front wheel, remove the front wheel, and replace it with the spare (temporarily holding with 2-3 lug nuts). I roll the front wheel over to the air compressor checking for nails or other objects in the tire as I go, then check the tire pressure and fill if necessary. That tire goes to the driver's side rear, and the process keeps going until the passenger side rear gets moved to the driver's front and the spare gets removed and put back into its holder. FWIW, I do use a torque wrench to tighten the lugs.
This is the way I do it Torque lugs
 
Messages
325
Location
Colorado
Thread starter
Thanks all. I sort of like this idea of using the spare to facilitate the process. I have two sedans with the standard donut tires but imagine that will work just fine. Plus this spare tire method seems to eliminate having to use jack stands altogether. I also liked JunkDrawerDog's comment he just does the whole job using his car jack also eliminating risking pinch weld damage with a floor jack (although I do still need to find some nice pinch weld pads just in case).
 
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