changing the wheels of your Tesla Model 3, a simple but dangerous operation

Maintaining your electric car yourself often scares owners, but there are a number of common operations that are within everyone’s reach. One of them is to change the wheels, a seemingly simple operation, but with a few rules to follow.

Intervening yourself on your electric car, it’s possible! Admittedly, there is no oil change to do (although…), no EGR valve to clean, nor engine air filter to change, but this is still a car with several systems that require maintenance and parts. wear that will need to be replaced.

On my YouTube channel, I want to show everything you can do yourself as an operation on your electric vehicle. I own a Tesla Model 3 and I don’t hesitate to put my hands in the sludge… the order. Who am I ? My name is François Claire, I host the channel Garage, Cars and Rock’n Roll and with Clean Automotive, I offer you this electrical DIY mechanical section (could we talk about “Clean Mechanics”?).

We start with an operation that seems simple because it is so basic: changing the wheel. This is the most common operation you can do on your vehicle. (for example to swap front/rear tyres, change from summer to winter wheels or maintain the brakes), but it is also the most dangerous. Indeed, the car must be lifted, which can cause serious damage or injury in the event of a fall. There is also a risk of damaging the wheel or even losing it while driving, if the nuts are incorrectly tightened.

Today’s cars come without a spare tire or jack. They are intended to be lifted by professional bridges. This does not prevent us from doing a safe lift. The user’s manual of the Tesla Model 3 indicates that it is essential to use the lifting points located at the four corners of the battery. There are special pads that fit into these lifting points. You can then use a conventional rolling hydraulic jack to lift one of the corners of the car. Or maybe not… The Model 3 is very low and chances are the jack won’t go under it…

In this video, I show you how to get by with a little DIY:

Once the lifting is done, the hard part is done! Oh no ! To remove the wheel, you must first loosen the nuts while the wheel is on the ground! Otherwise the wheel turns at the same time as you try to unscrew.

You’re good to go back down the car, loosen those nuts a bit with a 21mm wrench and put it back together. Classic cross keys allow you to do this quite easily. This loosening is not harmful to the car as long as it does not exceed approximately half a turn.

Once the car is in the air, all you have to do is unscrew the nuts, paying attention to the last one: you have to hold the wheel to prevent it from falling by hooking the brake disc as you go. That’s it ! You are Clean Mechanic!

Not quite: all you have to do is put the wheel back in place correctly and make sure it won’t move. If it is not already done, I advise you to lubricate the contact surface between the wheel and the brake disc. For this, I use copper grease which has excellent resistance to high temperatures and over time. Be careful not to put too much: it should not come to flow on the brake disc.

Then, just put the wheel back in place, start screwing the nuts by hand and finish them with a wrench. Rest the wheel on the ground for tightening and carry out a cross torque tightening. If the tightening is dry (without grease on the studs or in the nuts), then the tightening torque is 170 Nm. If, as in my video, you lubricate the threads with copper grease, you have to lower the torque Clamping. Yes: REDUCE the tightening torque! It’s counter-intuitive, but it makes sense: by lubricating, you make it easier for the surfaces to slide against each other. Maintaining the specified tightening torque runs the risk of over-tightening (which is as bad as under-tightening).

The essential tool for this tightening is the torque wrench. In the video, I lower the tightening torque to 100 Nm. It’s a bit too much. Now I set my wrench to 110 Nm. I also give some additional tips about ergonomics and TPMS, which I let you discover:

I am told in the headset that this section is doing well and that readers are enthusiastic. Perfect ! Apparently, they would also like to see more complex operations. OK ! The next Clean Mechanics items are coming and they will send SALE! Uh… CLEAN!