Does your car workshop use an impact wrench to tighten lug nuts?

Did you know that impact wrenches shouldn’t be used to tighten lug nuts? This may damage or break the nuts, and – in best case scenario – you’ll have trouble unscrewing them with a hand wrench. A pneumatic or electric impact wrench can only be used to lightly tighten the screws – full tightening can only be done with a torque wrench with the force indicated by the vehicle manufacturer. Unprofessional car workshops, however, tighten the lug nuts with full force, which can even cause damage to the rim or break the screw-thread of the lug nut. As a result of the intervention of the Polish Tire Industry Association, the Polish Automotive Industry Association and the Car Dealers, the Ministry of Health approved the change of winter tires to summer tyres by people who use cars for commuting and meeting their everyday needs.

After maximum tightening the use of a torque wrench is useless – the lug nuts will be already screwed too tightly, way over an appropriate level that the torque wrench could ensure. Torque wrenches are unfortunately not resistant to stupidity – they are able to work only if the lug nuts are not already screwed on too tightly. In a situation when you will have to change a tyre on the road, it may not be possible for you to unscrew the lug nuts.

The employees of car workshops with the PTIA’s Certification of tyre services know what wrench to use and with what strength to tighten the lug nuts – every person working in a good tire service should have this basic knowledge. Unfortunately, very few drivers can breathe down mechanics’ neck – so it is worth choosing a car workshop with the PTIA’s Certification of tyre services – there the TÜV SÜD auditors thoroughly examined the workshop for us.

When changing tyres, the car workshop must:

  • make sure that the valves and TPMS sensors are not damaged by placing the wheel correctly on the fitting tool
  • carefully and gently dismantle the tire so as not to damage its inner layers
  • use tools with plastic covers and attachments on the assembly machine so as not to scratch the rim and do not expose it to corrosion or lack of tightness with the tire
  • thoroughly – but gently – clean the rim where the old weights once were placed to ensure the accuracy of balancing
  • clean the hub and rim at the point of contact with the hub to ensure perfect adhesion after tightening
  • propose the replacement of valves which are subject to very high centrifugal forces and bad weather conditions for half a year

There are nearly 12 000 tyre services in Poland. Unfortunately, the level of service and technical culture is very diverse. There is also no uniform training system. Too many car workshops replace tyres in an unacceptable manner, often using too much force. This causes stretching and tearing of the inner layers of tyres, and even bead tear – that is those elements that transfer power from the tyres to the rim. That is why the Polish Tyre Industry Association, together with TÜV SÜD, an independent certification company, introduces a system for assessing and awarding professional services based on an independent audit of equipment and qualifications of technical staff. It’s worth choosing certified workshops that have undergone an audit and have been thoroughly checked. The Certification of Tyre Services helps car workshops to improve their quality – which is crucial for safety – increases their competitiveness, and gives customers confidence that the service will be performed by well-prepared professionals.

– Against all appearances, changing tires is not an easy and trivial activity that can be done in three minutes. It requires knowledge, experience and skills in operating modern machines. Any mistake can be expensive for the tire and its owner. Invisible damage can pose a life threatening risk. Therefore, drivers should pay attention to every detail of changing their tires – and do not treat it as yet another obligation on their check list. If we do not know what quality of service our workshop offers – let’s just choose a service with PTIA’s Certification of tyre services, which has been audited by TÜV SÜD. This is a guarantee of a properly performed service – says Piotr Sarnecki, general director general director of the Polish Tyre Industry Association (PTIA). Let’s remember that a professional tyre service is not a pit stop. Changing tires can be done either well, professionally and without any damage or cheap and fast. Quality and speed are mutually exclusive, so let’s not be guided by service time or price in our search for a good tyre service, because they are usually proportional to the quality of the service of tyre change. What will be sped up or “saved” by using a bad car workshop will come back to us in the form of failures on the route adds Sarnecki.

As a result of the intervention of the Polish Tire Industry Association, the Polish Automotive Industry Association and the Car Dealers, the Ministry of Health approved the change of winter tires to summer tyres by people who use cars for commuting and meeting their everyday needs. There is no rush for drivers who do not drive during this period and for those in mandatory quarantine – they can still wait with a visit to a car workshop. It is worth using the services of workshops which follow procedures to protect customers and employees against the coronavirus. PTIA has prepared guidelines for tyre services on how to proceed to maintain safety during the pandemic. By following them, drivers will be less likely to become infected with the coronavirus in a car workshop than they would be to cause a fender-bender or a serious accident while driving on unsuitable tyres.

Certified car workshops will take care of your tyres!

  • they will not damage the tyre (bead, tread grooves and inner layers) or rims,
  • correctly clean the rim, tighten wheel lug nuts without torque wrench with the right force,
  • replace the valve stems in the wheel and ensure the correct tyre pressure
  • use professional and serviced tools and equipment
  • when necessary, will know how to fix a flat tyre in a safe way

Search for certified tyre services! Only they:

  • met even up to 140 audit criteria
  • have professional and serviced equipment
  • have trained staff
  • offer high quality tyre services

PTIA and TÜV SÜD’s is the only determinant of high-quality tyre services.

Certification is preceded by a technical audit during which the following are tested:

  • technical equipment
  • skills of service technicians
  • health and safety conditions for employees
  • level of customer service and basic amenities (parking, bathroom, waiting room)

Due to the great diversity of the quality of service in car workshops in Poland, the Certification of Tyre Services distinguishes 3 levels of service:

  • GOOD SERVICE – basic services are performed at a high level, has basic and serviced equipment suitable for most vehicles, has basic facilities for customers
  • VERY GOOD SERVICE – met the criteria for the GOOD level plus has more advanced equipment, higher accuracy of service, better skilled staff, better conditions in the customer zone
  • EXCELLENT – met the criteria for the GOOD and VERY GOOD levels plus: has the most advanced equipment, highly competent staff, offers additional tyre services, has the highest standard of customer service and verification by a mystery client

This post is also available in: plpolski (Polish)