Once or twice a year many of us have winter or summer tyres
reinstalled or we change over to an extra set of wheels with the
appropriate set of tyres for that season.
The following experience we encountered last year could be a warning!
A close relative bought a good quality (low mileage) used car, fitted
with an extra set of four winter wheels and tyres; included in the
sale were the set of original equipment alloy 'wheels' with summer
tyres in excellent condition.
The used car lot in the the city from which the vehicle was being
purchased agreed to have a wheel alignment performed (see note) and
perform, or have performed, the changeover to the original equipment
(summer tyre) wheels.
In the late fall relative and self decided to reinstall the winter
wheels ourselves and found that the wrong wheel nuts had been used all
summer to secure the 'summer wheels'! They were the wrong fit!
The correct, 'alloy wheel' nuts we found in a bag in the trunk of the
car. The incorrect (winter wheel) nuts had the wrong taper and could
have worn through those original equipment alloy wheels or badly
chafed them and/or enlarged the holes!
In many tyre establishments the task of changing over wheels and tyres
appears to be often delegated to the most junior mechanical staff,
often apprentices? But in this case we were surprised since the
mechanical staff at the location from which the vehicle was purchased
seemed to be experienced and not juniors!
Other considerations are that wheel nuts should be tightened to
specification using a torque wrench or 'torque nut socket'. If not
tight enough nuts may loosen and if too tight may crack an alloy
wheel. Also it's not pleasant to be at the side of the highway trying
to get 'too tight' wheel nuts off to put on the spare.
Note: Further when the vehicle was road tested before purchase it mis-
steered and the tyres appeared to be slightly oddly worn. As agreed
and before sale was finalized seller did have a front wheel alignment
performed, with all four original equipment wheels installed. And the
realignment info. was in the vehicle.
The new owner later took the vehicle to a trusted and competent
realignment mechanic and when the front end realignment settings were
checked, they appeared pretty close to correct. But it also appeared
that a rear end realignment check had NOT been performed and that was
causing the the vehicle to steer strangely and was most likely (in
addition toruts and potholes) responsible for the odd tyre wear. One
thought was that there had been some damage to the rear suspension,
but not so. It was all a matter of proper alignment, AND using the
proper wheel nuts!
So just a safety suggestion; be aware of who how and what is being
done when one gets tyres/wheels changed over!