Like other occupations, becoming an installer of rims and tyres has a bit of a learning curve. Nothing can make a newbie into a seasoned pro other than experience and time, and most of that experience comes by way of learning from mistakes. By addressing the most frequently made mistakes, the worst among them can sometimes be avoided.
Overtorquing Lug Nuts
Nothing says “I’m new here” like overtorquing lug nuts. Almost all of these issues are caused by tyre techs who use impact wrenches without a form of torque protection. Some believe that a skilled tyre tech can feather the trigger on an impact wrench, but that would be hard to do without making a lot of mistakes first. Good shops always use torque protection when installing wheels and tyre packages.
Some new techs think they’re on a racing pit crew, and they think that it’s OK to barely get the lug nuts on and run them down as tightly as possible with the impact wrench. Crossthreading is a common occurrence here, and as the wrench spins quickly, it’s very hard to prevent damage to studs. A proficient tyre tech threads lug nuts by hand a minimum of ten times before running them down with an impact wrench, to ensure that they’re centered and seated correctly.
Stripped Wheel Locks
A wheel lock is an antitheft device that replaces a lug nut with one that requires a special key for removal. Many new installers of rims and tyres overestimate the strength of the key, and apply too much torque, making the key useless and the customer upset. A good tech will use a torque stick or wrench to tighten a wheel lock.
Lost Wheel Lock Keys
It’s easy to neglect to put the key back when the wheels and tyre packages are installed, and some customers don’t even know that they have a wheel lock. Reliable shops put the key into the customer’s hand when work is done, and they show the customer where the key goes and why it’s vital.
Most of the mistakes listed here, as well as the solutions provided, are a matter of paying attention and receiving proper training. Whether you get your wheels and tyre packages installed by a new tech or an experienced seller of rims and tyres, training and avoiding these mistakes can help save money, time and aggravation.