How to Change Rims

by Contributor

If you have basic mechanical proficiency, you can change your car rims with just a few tools and a little elbow grease. Before you install your new set of rims, however, you must ensure that they meet the proper size and weight specifications, or they won't fit on your wheels.

Use your jack to lift the wheel off the ground. If you have access to an auto garage, you can instead raise the whole car off the ground with a lift.

Deflate the tire on the wheel that holds the rim you want to change. When the tires are inflated, there is no empty space between the rim and the surface of the tire. Letting the air out of the tires allows you to jimmy the rim off the wheel by creating room between the rim and the tire rubber.

Use your socket set to loosen and remove any fasteners that physically attach the rim to your car wheel. Make sure you don't lose any pieces as you work.

Get your tire lever. Slip it between the rim and the tire and push outward, forcing the rim off the wheel. Leverage the lever between the rim and tire at varying places on the surface of the rim, so that you don't risk bending or damaging the lip of the rim by pushing too hard in one place.

Place the new rim on the wheel. Depending on the size and style of the rim, there may be overlap between the rim and the tire. If there is, you may have to adjust the tire, so that it rests over or beneath the surface of the rim (as dictated by the style of the particular rims you're attaching).

Fasten the new rim onto the wheel using your socket set if it requires any additional securing.

Continue this process until you change all four rims. Remember that it probably won't cost more than an hour's labor to have your rims changed by a professional if you're unsure whether or not you're up to the task.

Warning

  • close Don't bring your rims--new or old--into direct contact with the ground or floor where you're working. Doing so greatly increases the likelihood that you'll scratch the finish on your rims. Instead, rest the rims on a cloth sheet or collapsed cardboard container.

Items you will need

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