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10 Best Tire Changing Tools

Changing a tire is easier than you think, especially when you have the right tire changing tools for the job.

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10 Best Tire Changing Tools Ft Ecomm Via Amazon.comVia Merchant

Tire Changing Tools

Flat tires come with little or no warning. Knowing how to change a tire is an essential life skill for anyone who regularly gets behind the wheel of a car or light truck.

But that’s not the only time it can be useful. If you’re considering rotating your tires, swapping them out for winter tires or even replacing brake pads and rotors, think of the money you can save by doing those things yourself.

The tire changing tools that come with your vehicle are barely adequate. They’re intended for emergency situations only, not to perform service and repairs. And cars with run-flat tires as standard equipment typically don’t come with any tools at all.

Here are the tools needed to safely change a tire or work on your vehicle. You may already have some in your home toolbox or garage.

  • Hydraulic floor jack: Rated in tons, you’ll need a jack rated greater than one-half your vehicle’s weight. (Remember, you’re only jacking up one wheel or one side of your car at a time.) Check the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s site to find the weight of your vehicle. Jacks should have smooth-rolling wheels; a wide, sturdy base for better stability; a saddle (the part that contacts the car) low enough to slide under your car; and a long handle for ample leverage when pumping the jack.
  • Jack stands: Lowering your vehicle onto jack stands significantly increases safety, security and stability when changing a tire. Never work on or under a car raised in the air without a sturdy pair of jack stands.
  • Lug wrench: For greater leverage when removing lug nuts, get a cross-shaped lug wrench. It’s better than the L-shaped tire iron that probably came with your vehicle.
  • Wheel chocks: These wedge-shaped blocks prevent accidental movement while jacking up your vehicle. Jam them against the wheels on the side opposite the one you need to lift.
  • Torque wrench: Never underestimate the value of a torque wrench. Loose lug nuts can fall off, causing all kinds of issues. Consequently, over-tightened lug nuts can damage the wheel or distort brake rotors.

The following are also nice to have:

  • Wheel cover remover/rubber mallet: Quickly remove and reinstall wheel covers or hub caps without hurting your hand.
  • Cordless impact wrench: Much quicker than a lug wrench to remove and install lug nuts on a tire.
  • Torque limiting sticks: If using an impact wrench, torque limiting sticks prevent over-tightening lug nuts.
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Big Red Torin Trolley Service Floor Jack Ecomm Via AmazonVia Merchant

Best Entry-Level Floor Jack Tire Changing Tool

A sturdy car jack is extremely important for safely raising your car up in the air, and the‎ two-ton Torin T82012 Hydraulic Jack is a great choice for beginners. It’s low saddle, light weight (21 lbs.) and compact. It comes with a convenient carrying handle and case for portability.

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Arcan 3 Ton Quick Rise Floor Jack Ecomm Via AmazonVia Merchant

Best Upgrade Floor Jack Tire Changing Tool

Though not exactly what the pros use, the three-ton Arcan A20018 Aluminum Car Jack weighs 65 lbs., about half that of an all-steel floor jack. The low profile and saddle make it great for reaching under cars low to the ground. The lifting height can easily raise a 3/4-ton pickup truck enough to change a tire.

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Aain Heavy Duty 3 Ton Floor Jack Steel Ecomm Via AmazonVia Merchant

Best Heavy-Duty Floor Jack Tire Changing Tool

The reasonably priced, three-ton Aain HT3300 Heavy Duty Quick Rise Floor Jack will meet your needs if you’re changing tires on larger vehicles and pickups. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) compliant, this jack features a fast lifting system that raise the saddle three times higher after the first pump than a standard jack.

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Big Red Torin Steel Jack Stands Ecomm Via AmazonVia Merchant

Best Jack Stands Tire Changing Tool

Well-made and well priced, the Big Red T43002A Three-Ton Jack Stands are a top choice for DIYers. They include a secondary steel locking pin feature that firmly holds the saddle in place, providing an additional layer of safety and security. The large, wide footprint delivers increased stability and security when changing a tire or working on or under your vehicle.

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Powerbuilt Universal Lug Wrench Ecomm Via AmazonVia Merchant

Best Lug Wrench Tire Changing Tool

With plenty of 14-inch lug wrenches on the market, the 20-inch Powerbuilt 940559 Universal Lug Wrench provides more turning power than its smaller cousins. It works for standard and metric lug nuts. It’s also extra long and comes with a lifetime warranty.

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Maxxhaul Solid Rubber Heavy Duty Ecomm Via AmazonVia Merchant

Best Wheel Chocks Tire Changing Tool

You can go cheap and use a six-inch piece of 2×4 to help stabilize your vehicle when jacking it up, but why? The two-pack, versatile Maxxhaul 70472 Heavy Duty Black Wheel Chocks will do a much better job. Constructed from solid rubber, the oil resistant surfaces provide superior traction to keep your car from sliding.

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Tekton Drive Click Torque Wrench Ecomm Via AmazonVia Merchant

Torque Wrench Tire Changing Tool

The affordable and well-made Tekton 24335 1/2-in. Drive Click Torque Wrench should be your go-to tool for confidently tightening lug nuts. To ensure safety, it’s critical to re-torque lug nuts with a torque wrench after lowering your vehicle safely to the ground.

This accurate, reversing head, dual-scale torque wrench earned a 4.7-star rating on Amazon with more than 25,000 reviews. And it can be used for several other automotive applications as well, making it an indispensable automotive tool and an excellent value.

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Steelman Hubcap Remover Ecomm Via AmazonVia Merchant

Wheel Cover Remover/Rubber Mallet Tire Changing Tool

If your vehicle has wheel covers, strongly consider the Steelman ‎75031 Hub Cap (Wheel Cover) Remover With Rubber Face before changing your tires. Used by pros, this tool comes with a wide, flat blade for quickly prying off wheel covers. The built-in rubber mallet won’t scratch or mar the wheel cover when hammering it back into place.

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Milwaukee M18 Brushless Cordless Ecomm Via HomedepotVia Merchant

Cordless Impact Wrench (and Torque Limiting Sticks)

A lug wrench will loosen and tighten lug nuts, but if you’re taking off more than one tire, a 1/2-in. cordless impact wrench significantly speeds up the job. The Milwaukee 2767 18-Volt 1/2-in. Impact Wrench is an excellent choice.

Well-balanced and only 8-1/2-in. long, it features a friction ring that prevents sockets from falling off the anvil while allowing quick socket changes. Delivering 1,400-foot-pounds of bolt-busting torque, this tool will quickly remove badly rusted or over-tightened lug nuts.

Note that if you’re using an impact wrench, you’ll need torque limiting sticks. Check out the eight piece Neiko ‎02453A 1/2-in. Drive Torque Limiting Set, especially if you’re changing tires on more than one vehicle.

Deep, thin wall construction six-point sockets are coated to prevent damage to finished lug nuts and wheels. The extensions and sockets are color coded for quick identification. Housed in a convenient blow-molded storage case, you can toss this set along with your impact wrench into the back of your vehicle before a road trip.

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E Heelp Electric Car Jack Ecomm Via AmazonVia Merchant

Additional Options for Tire Changing Tools

Consider an electric car jack, such as the E-Heelp ‎TT01-O Electric Car Jack Kit Five-Ton 12-Volt Hydraulic Car Jack. Its steel piston raises a car almost 18 inches in two minutes. Plus, you can pump up your spare with the built-in tire inflator and pressure gauge. The saddle sits six inches high so this jack may not fit under low-sitting vehicles.

Bottle jacks tend to be unstable and shouldn’t be your primary tire changing jack. However, the Alltrade 640912 Three-Ton All-In-One Bottle Jack is one to look at.

Built to meet or exceed ASME standards, the 640912 combines a bottle jack and jack stands into one wide base for safety and stability. With a lift range from 11- to 21-inches, and locking steel pins securing the saddle at three height adjustments, this jack/jack stand combo works well for larger vehicles.

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Bob Lacivita
Bob Lacivita is an award-winning ASE and General Motors auto technician, educator and freelance writer who has written about DIY car repairs and vehicle maintenance topics. His work has been featured in The Family Handyman, a Reader's Digest book and Classic Bike Rider magazine. He has been a career and technical educator for 25 years teaching automotive technology, as well as writing state, federal and organizational foundation grants. He also helped design a unique curriculum delivery model that integrates rigorous, relevant academic standards seamlessly into career and technical education.