Do You Need A Torque Wrench to Change Tires?

While it is not a bad idea to use a torque wrench when changing tires, it is also not necessarily important to use a torque wrench if you’re ever faced with the need to change a tire.

This is because there are other alternatives that will suffice in its stead.

The tire iron and the spare jack that every car comes in their trunk will quite function well in situations where there is a need for a tire change.

Car manufacturers would have long been including torque wrenches to help with cases of flat tires if it was that necessary.

The specific use of a torque wrench is for the tightening of bolts and other nuts just so that a specific torque value is attained.

It is often employed for controlling specific torques to fasteners. So, yes, I do need a torque wrench to change a tire but I can do without it.

The above is a pointer to the fact that there are other tools you need to change tires.

What type of torque wrench do I need to change tires?

Do You Need A Torque Wrench to Change Tires

Maintaining your car becomes so easy if you have the right knowledge, and most importantly, the right tool for whatever car care need that arises.

For general car mechanical issues, and precisely for tire changing, usually, the best torque wrench to use is the ½ inch size.

It has an excellent working range that cuts across 30 to 160 ft. Lbs. Apparently, this makes it the best lug nuts tightening choice.

Hold on as I’m about to take you to a page of more easy-to-understand in-depth analysis on the varieties of application of this and other lug nuts, and more reasons why this is the best type for changing tires.

Torque wrenches come in different sizes, but there are four common sizes geared towards handling different jobs.

However, this is not to rule out the possibility of crossover of two different sizes. The common sizes are:

  • ¾ to 1-inch
  • ½-inch
  • ⅜-inch
  • ¼-inch

¾ to 1-inch

Relatively, this size is to a large extent, specific to semis, construction vehicles, and other larger vehicles.

½-inch

This is the perfect choice for tire changing as mentioned above. It is great for heavy fasteners and lug nuts.

I have been a mechanic for over 21 years, it is a fact that if you have the right torque wrench you’ll hardly ever need another.

What makes a torque wrench great is its range. The wrench’s torque range is the core determining factor of the drive size.

And ½ is more than an excellent standard for truck lug and automotive nut and other large fasteners.

⅜-inch

This size is great for anything that pertains to the repair of engines, such as spark plugs tightening.

¼-inch

This size should come in handy as it suits best for all that relates to small gas motors such as motorcycles, mopeds, and lots more.

What major tools do you need to change tires?

It has always been advised that you should have a kit for tire repair, or tire changing equipment in your vehicle, just in case of impromptus, or emergencies.

I always go with the realistic thinking pattern: “Neither blindly hoping for the best nor always expecting the worst, but being cognizant of both and prepared for either.”

This mantra will save you heartache in worst-case scenarios.

These tools can help to provide you with a temporary solution before you are able to get professional help. Although you can’t have them all in your car, at the very least, it is safe to carry:

  • A spare tire
  • A jack
  • Early warning devices (EWDs)
  • Lug wrench
  • Wheel shocks

A spare tire

If you have no extra tire for a swap, then there’s no point trying to opt for a change of tire all by yourself when you have a flat one. This one even goes without the need to mention it.

Although, many car owners undermine the importance of their dealership-issued spare.

They usually take it for granted. Note this, not only are you supposed to always prioritize the need of having a spare tire in your vehicle, but the spare tire also needs to be inspected to be fit for use at all times.

Another mistake common among drivers and car owners is how they fail to inspect the spare tire’s pressure before setting out on the road.

This results in finding themselves in situations where they get faced with having to replace a flat tire with one that is underinflated. In the end, this creates an entirely different problem.

A jack

These days, newly purchased cars usually get accompanied by jack right from the issuing dealership.

But if this is not the case, then it is only safe that you purchase one and have it kept in your car.

Remember that if you must change a tire, a jack is one of the paramount pieces of equipment that you will need as its primary function is to help you support your car’s weight.

There are variances of jacks. Jacks come in different forms and models, some carrying distinct and complex features, while others are plain and simple. There are:

  • Bumper jacks
  • Bottle jack
  • Floor jack
  • Scissors jacks

Although the most common of them all is the scissor-type, it operates using a mechanism of mechanical scissors in lifting up cars.

However, the most powerful of them all is the bottle jack, but it is relatively less compact and can lift cars using hydraulic fluids.

Early warning devices (EWDs)

Although this device does not have a direct connection with the tire changing the process itself, for safety and legal reasons, it is more than essential.

First off, the federal body that governs the affairs that pertain to using the road had stated that Early Warning Devices (EWD) are compulsory for all road users and MUST be in their motor vehicles at all times.

Although, this is with the exception of tricycles and motorcycles.

In the document, it is stated that EWDs must be placed at the very least, four meters behind and four meters before the vehicle.

Lug Wrench

This is the tool that does the main work. It is the actual tool with which the tire is removed and replaced. Ensure that the size of your lug wrench (like this one on Amazon) is the right size for the lug nuts of your tire.

There is a type of lug wrench that is designed to have a separate socket that suits the lug nuts. If you have this type, always do well to make sure it is kept in a secure place inside of your vehicle.

Wheel Chock

These are pieces of equipment that are often forgotten but are of great importance. Always get a couple of them and carry them along in case of emergency.

These wheel chocks (like this one on Amazon) act as wedges and help stop your motor vehicle from rolling over during the tire-changing process. Although if one is not handy, get a rock by the roadside. That too can suffice.

Taking cognizance of all that pertains to the general safety of your motor vehicle is of utmost importance.

Although you could do without some of this equipment as you can make do with others in their stead.

But get this right, this is not to completely rule out the need for them. How well can those auxiliary equipment cover-up?

Was that auxiliary equipment specifically made for that cause? This brings the thought of the importance of torque wrench during putting on wheels to mind.

Can you put wheels on without a torque wrench?

A torque wrench is not that important when putting wheels on your vehicle.

As I have stated earlier on, what is more, important is your jack and your lug wrench, which are enough to get your car tires changed.

If torque wrench was that important, they will come as important accessories to a newly bought car.

As such, respecting tightening torque is important, especially in wheel tightening in the automotive context.

You need to make sure that the wheel is clamped evenly to the hub so as to prevent the wheel from getting warped which is sure to lead to other mechanical faults.

From mechanical statistics, there is a large safety margin from “using a torque wrench to put on wheels” and “using other auxiliary equipment.”

However, recognizing the need of using a torque wrench is not enough, it is also important that you know the right torque wrench to use.

Do you need a torque wrench to rotate your tires?

Tire rotation simply means changing the exact location where an individual tire is on a car.

As more than 60% of the car’s weight is rested on the front tires, it is only logical that the front tires should wear out faster than those at the back.

This is what calls for a tire rotation. But do you need a torque wrench for this?

Basically, tire rotation involves changing all tires’ specific locations. If this is the case, then as explained in the first paragraph of this article, the importance of a torque wrench, other equipment that can suffice in its stead, and also, how the fact that a torque wrench is designed for a specific cause.

And this specificity should not be undermined regardless of whether or not other equipment can suffice in its stead.

There is a need for a torque wrench in tire rotation as there is no equipment that can better replace it.

Is a torque wrench mandatory for a tire rotation? No. Is it necessary? Yes.

Is a torque wrench needed to change your oil?

If you are trying to change your oil, then you may need a torque wrench with a factory-made torque specification to make this work.

You can mistakenly over-tighten whatnot and spoil threads if you are not well experienced in doing this.

Torque wrench aside, here is a list of things that you’ll need if you’re ever faced with the necessity to change the oil.

  • Wrench set
  • Safety glass
  • Oil Filter
  • Engine Oil/ Motor oil
  • Oil Gasket
  • Rubber Mallet

Get the right filter and oil

Although there are other things you will need, the aforementioned are the basic ones.

Please do not skip checking your car’s manual so you’re abreast with the filter and oil type that fits your car.

Pulling of oil plug and removing of oil filter

First off, just so the oil doesn’t spill down, start by gently pulling the oil plug. Thereafter, do well to crank the old oil filter.

In this process, do well to remove the old gasket as well, after which you use the wrench set to tighten the drained plug.

However, you’re advised to be cautious so as not to overtighten the plug as it may give birth to other problems. Pour the new oil using the right-sized funnel to avoid spillage.

When you’re done, it is necessary to check the oil level.

The process explained above wasn’t with the inclusion of a torque wrench. This makes the needlessness of a torque wrench in oil change apparent.

Besides, the drain plug need not to be super tight as excessive tightening can cause thread breakage. Also, you do not necessarily need a torque wrench to do it.

Is a torque wrench needed to change brakes?

If you are changing just brakes, then you do not necessarily need a torque wrench.

This is because your main focus and concern here are the caliper bracket bolts, you need them to be tight.

While a torque wrench might come off as one super luxury, it has its specific cause of application.

Usually, in extremely important cases, one of which is rim changing, in this case, the torque wrench allows you to tighten the lug nuts while eradicating the possibility of rim damage.

Besides, what does a torque wrench have on a brake caliper? The mounting bolts at the front caliper bracket only need to be torqued to 80 ib ft.

I need you to understand that as long as your caliper bracket bolts are well tightened (not excessively tightened) and are in good working condition when you change your brake, then you are safe.

Admittedly, torque wrenches are quite useful, not to rule out the fact that they can’t be used for brakes as well, but they have their places and should not be employed in every case.

The key thing to note here is “pay attention to DETAILS.”

Conclusion

I have been a mechanic for many years, as such, I inform you from a place of practical and good enough knowledge.

Knowing the right tools and equipment to use at where what cause and why is key that delivers you ease and saves you from unnecessary hurdles and possible fatalities.

This article is written on proven principles to help serve you better.

Although, the importance of a torque wrench is not one that should be undermined. However, knowing its necessary place of use and specificity is important as well.

In relation to the topic of discuss on this page, you may need a torque wrench for tire change but, that is not to say that you can not do without it.

I am always committed to delivering value to you. Follow through and stick to the guidelines therein.

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