Author Topic: Winter Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack - DIY?  (Read 5470 times)

Calvin

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Winter Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack - DIY?
« on: December 31, 2014, 06:58:52 AM »
Hi All,

I just got a Honda Fit recently and need some winter tires for it. I'm planning on getting the tires on their own set of steel wheels. Tire Rack has the following "preferred" winter tire and wheel package:

Dunlop Winter Maxx (Studless Ice & Snow)
 Size: 185/70-14 (4)
Serv. Desc: 88T
 Price: $252.00

Black Steel Wheels
Size: 14X6 (4)
Bolt Pattern: 4-100
Price: $180.00

The stock wheels for the Fit are 16" diameter and this package is a 14" diameter.

Questions:
- If I order online, they just ship to my house all ready to go and I can install them myself, correct?
- If I install myself, do I need any tools besides a torque wrench? (I'd need to buy that)
- Is it worth getting the TPMS installed? If Tire Rack installs them, do I need to do anything about that when I put the wheels on my car?
- Is this worth the hassle, or should I just go get winter tires at a local tire shop and skip Tire Rack?
- Fit owners, do you use 14" diameter wheels for winter or 16"? Also, it seems like the Blizzak tires are only on larger diameters.

Many thanks! I have put tires on a car before, but have never bought online, so this is all new.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2014, 07:12:27 AM by Calvin »

neo von retorch

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Re: Winter Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack - DIY?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2014, 07:27:24 AM »
I'm in for answers. I have a 2008 Fit Sport (15" tires) but I would probably just get the cheap 14" wheels for a winter kit. But so far it's been a mild winter (Central PA) and I'm doing fine on the silly sticky soft summer tires that were on it when I bought the car.

JLee

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Re: Winter Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack - DIY?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2014, 08:10:19 AM »
Make sure you don't need different lug nuts for different wheels (or if you do, make sure to get them).  You can use the emergency jack that came with your car, but it's far less than ideal (and not as safe as a real jack). A proper floor jack is the way to go (with jackstands to be properly safe, but usually I cheat since I will not be under the car when changing tires).  Torque wrench is a good idea. You shouldn't use a torque wrench to remove stuff (they're designed for measuring torque, not breaking nuts free) so you will want a way to remove your existing lug nuts. I keep a 4-way in my truck for emergency purposes (fits four different lug nut sizes so I can help others if needed).

If you don't have TPMS installed, your tire pressure warning light will be on all the time. I'm not sure how to reset that to your new wheels with a Honda, but some googlefu will probably tell you.

BlueMR2

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Re: Winter Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack - DIY?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2014, 10:07:32 AM »
TireRack is less of a hassle than the local stores as far as I'm concerned.

Generally speaking, run the smallest diameter wheel, with the smallest width wheel and tire combination that is acceptable on your car (TireRack should have all that info).  Exceptions being when you have to upsize due to tire availability issues or modifications (such as larger brakes).

When I've bought new tire/wheel combos from TireRack, they've offered me lugnuts that fit as an option.  It's common for aftermarket wheels to require those different lugnuts.  Your local Autozone/other auto parts place will typically carry a large selection of lugnuts too (I've bought replacement there when lugnuts have become damaged from repeated use).

Syonyk

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Re: Winter Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack - DIY?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2014, 10:44:36 AM »
The stock wheels for the Fit are 16" diameter and this package is a 14" diameter.

Make sure the 14s will clear your brakes.  I don't *think* it's likely to be an issue on the Fit, but on a lot of cars, you can't go down a wheel size due to brake caliper clearance issues.  Make sure you've got at least an inch of clearance between your brake calipers and the wheel on the current wheels (should be easy enough to do with a flashlight, though you may need to jack/jackstand the car to get your head in to look).  It's easier if you crank the wheels all the way to one side first to see.

Quote
- If I order online, they just ship to my house all ready to go and I can install them myself, correct?

Yup!  Assuming you have a tire iron and jack.  They just show up at your door with labels on them, usually in packs of two.  I've done this, and it was wonderfully convenient.

Quote
- If I install myself, do I need any tools besides a torque wrench? (I'd need to buy that)

A proper jack is almost a requirement for this.  You'll hate yourself if you try it with the dinky little jack that comes in the car.  And I can't say I've ever used a torque wrench on wheels - they matter a little bit for aluminum, but for steel, just crank it down with a 4 way, check it in a few miles, and you're fine.  IMO.  Obviously don't be stupid and have a 5 year old tighten them or something.

Quote
- Is it worth getting the TPMS installed? If Tire Rack installs them, do I need to do anything about that when I put the wheels on my car?

You'll need to sync them up to your car.  No clue how to do that.  I wouldn't bother, but I only own one vehicle with TPMS anyway, so... most of my car life has been without such things, including on cars with pretty good leaks.

Quote
- Is this worth the hassle, or should I just go get winter tires at a local tire shop and skip Tire Rack?

I think it's convenient.  You can get the tires, and install them on your schedule (which, for me, seems like it was always 8PM or so the day before leaving on a long winter trip).  Call some shops to see what their prices are, but most of them will, by default, want to swap winter rubber onto your current wheels, which is silly.  You can't swap it back yourself, and it's a lot of additional tire changes on your wheels.

Quote
Many thanks! I have put tires on a car before, but have never bought online, so this is all new.

It's pretty simple.  Just be sure the 14s will fit.

JLee

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Re: Winter Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack - DIY?
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2014, 10:54:40 AM »
Overtorqued lugs can cause brake problems in some vehicles, and it is possible to break wheel studs (been there, done that). A torque wrench (even a $15-20 Harbor Freight model) is a good idea, even if not "necessary."

r3dt4rget

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Re: Winter Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack - DIY?
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2014, 11:16:43 AM »
Shop around a bit. $180 for a basic set of steel winter tire wheels is pretty steep IMO. If you look on craigslist you are going to find people selling their stock Civic wheels that are the same size and bolt pattern as your Fit. 4x100 14-15in steel wheels came on Civics from 1992-2005 so there is ample supply of OEM quality steel wheels that people get rid of when they upgrade to expensive aftermarket wheels. I wouldn't pay more than $50 for a set of 4.

Shop around for tires as well. I originally planned to buy winter tires from TireRack, but found a better deal on DiscountTireDirect. TireRack charges $60+ for shipping (in my case at least). I was able to find similar winter tires to the ones I wanted at Discounttire, less the $60 shipping and a $50 instant discount (for cyber monday). Most of the time TireRack has the best price on tires, but you need to factor in shipping costs if it isn't free.

JLee

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Re: Winter Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack - DIY?
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2014, 09:24:23 PM »
Shop around a bit. $180 for a basic set of steel winter tire wheels is pretty steep IMO. If you look on craigslist you are going to find people selling their stock Civic wheels that are the same size and bolt pattern as your Fit. 4x100 14-15in steel wheels came on Civics from 1992-2005 so there is ample supply of OEM quality steel wheels that people get rid of when they upgrade to expensive aftermarket wheels. I wouldn't pay more than $50 for a set of 4.

Shop around for tires as well. I originally planned to buy winter tires from TireRack, but found a better deal on DiscountTireDirect. TireRack charges $60+ for shipping (in my case at least). I was able to find similar winter tires to the ones I wanted at Discounttire, less the $60 shipping and a $50 instant discount (for cyber monday). Most of the time TireRack has the best price on tires, but you need to factor in shipping costs if it isn't free.

I've found nice used snow tires before, too - you may be able to find some already mounted on wheels, which will save you some money right now as well. Keep in mind if you order wheels/tires from TireRack, they'll likely be mounted/balanced and ready to go. If you buy wheels, and then buy tires, you're going to have to pay for mounting/balancing.

greaper007

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Re: Winter Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack - DIY?
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2014, 09:48:59 PM »
Tire rack is the best option for winter tires imho.   The second best option is Costco because they do nitrogen refills and rotations for free.    Though, last I checked they didn't sell cheap rims.

I do my own swap.   I find it's easiest to use a floor jack, I don't like using the widow maker in the trunk unless I absolutely have to.   You can get a cheap jack at harbor freight or on craigslist.    Then just take one off, and put the next one on.   Drop the car and torque it down.   

If you find yourself doing more car repairs, I'd recommend also buying an electric impact wrench from harbor freight.   It makes these jobs go way quicker.

I like doing this service myself for a few reasons.   I don't usually break my hubcaps like the tire store monkeys do.   And I can also take a peak at the brakes and steering components once the tires are off.    Something that's hard to do with the wheels on.    That way I can mentally prepare for when I need to do maintenance instead of waiting until the last minute when something breaks.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Winter Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack - DIY?
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2015, 06:08:43 AM »

I like doing this service myself for a few reasons.   I don't usually break my hubcaps like the tire store monkeys do.   And I can also take a peak at the brakes and steering components once the tires are off.    Something that's hard to do with the wheels on.    That way I can mentally prepare for when I need to do maintenance instead of waiting until the last minute when something breaks.

+1

Depending on how long the wheels have been on, be prepared to use either your feet or a rubber mallet to break the wheels off the hub because of rust.

Calvin

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Re: Winter Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack - DIY?
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2015, 06:50:13 AM »
Thanks everyone!

I appreciate all the responses. I went ahead and ordered the set on TireRack (I decided again searching for used tires and did a quick craigslist search for the steel wheels but didn't see much). I'll pick up the floor jack, jack stands and torque wrench to do the job. The jack and stands will be a good investment for future work down the road and oil changes.

I've never had snow tires before, so I'm looking forward to the added safety and control!

greaper007

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Re: Winter Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack - DIY?
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2015, 10:24:32 AM »
Thanks everyone!

I appreciate all the responses. I went ahead and ordered the set on TireRack (I decided again searching for used tires and did a quick craigslist search for the steel wheels but didn't see much). I'll pick up the floor jack, jack stands and torque wrench to do the job. The jack and stands will be a good investment for future work down the road and oil changes.

I've never had snow tires before, so I'm looking forward to the added safety and control!

You'll be amazed at how well they work.   I had mine installed during a snow storm, on the way there I had a hard time even getting the car moving from a stop.    On the way home I was taking corners at 20 mph without any slippage.   

I live in Denver, and have never felt the need to buy a 4wd vehicle when I can drive a fwd with winter tires.    It's too bad more people don't get on this bandwagon.    Most people I know waste incredible amounts of fuel by driving a full time 4wd car that only sees snow for about 5% of the miles it drives.

jba302

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Re: Winter Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack - DIY?
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2015, 10:34:09 AM »
Our winter tire set doesn't have tpms sensors. The warning light stays on all winter. There is a cost to have them resync'ed, though I don't remember what it was, somewhere close to $100 each time. Just check them every several weeks and you'll be fine.

Syonyk

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Re: Winter Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack - DIY?
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2015, 11:23:30 AM »
I've found nice used snow tires before, too - you may be able to find some already mounted on wheels, which will save you some money right now as well.

Be careful with used snow tires.  Some are just fine used, others not so much.  If the tires are using studs for mechanical grip on ice, they're fine used (check for missing studs).  If they're studless tires, though, I would be very cautious with used ones.  Blizzaks and the like both wear out and age out - the rubber gets hard and loses it's "magic" even if the tires aren't worn out.  The only time I've gotten something stuck with snow tires was on 3 year old Blizzaks, and they had lost very noticeable amounts of grip compared to new ones.  Also, I was out being stupid.  But I'd done that before in worse conditions.

Depending on how long the wheels have been on, be prepared to use either your feet or a rubber mallet to break the wheels off the hub because of rust.

Another good trick if the wheels are really corroded on is to loosen the lug nuts a few turns, then drive the car back and forth a few feet.  The weight of the car on the rotating wheel should pop the wheel free.  This is not an officially suggested method, but if stuff is really stuck, it almost always works.

You'll be amazed at how well they work.   I had mine installed during a snow storm, on the way there I had a hard time even getting the car moving from a stop.    On the way home I was taking corners at 20 mph without any slippage.

I live in Denver, and have never felt the need to buy a 4wd vehicle when I can drive a fwd with winter tires.    It's too bad more people don't get on this bandwagon.    Most people I know waste incredible amounts of fuel by driving a full time 4wd car that only sees snow for about 5% of the miles it drives.

++.  I'd rather drive a FWD with snow tires than an AWD without snow tires.  Of course, 4WD + snow tires is a nearly unbeatable combination as well. :)  <3 old Subarus.

"All season tires" are one of the biggest lies ever by the auto industry - and that's saying something.  They're great three season tires, but if you have a proper winter, they're just not much good for snow and ice.

fiftyincher

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Re: Winter Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack - DIY?
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2015, 12:14:07 PM »
I ordered a set for a matrix this year. Had them next day. No way was I paying $200+ for the sensors. I can handle the light being on lol. Of course, it hasn't snowed since!