Today I was swapping my winter wheels for my summer wheels. In hindsight I should have swapped back in February, but this has been one screwed up winter. (I probably could have made it without the snow tires if I was careful enough)

We’ve had snow tires for a while now. My car came with summer tires. Summer tires are awesome — in anything but winter. Summer tires absolutely suck on snow and ice. Ever since that first winter without those tires we’ve both had summer and winter tires.

I did En’s car first. I also had a chance to try out my new drill. I recently purchased a DeWalt drill to replace an older NiCd version of the DeWalt that had messed up batteries. Why? For less than $50 more than replacing the batteries I got a new drill and better batteries! Anyway, this one has a 1/2″ chuck. I was able to chuck in a 1/4″ extension, add a 1/4″ -> 3/8″ converter and pop on a 17mm socket to spin the bolts in and out. Epic awesome! Made things go twice as fast! (note: as with any power tool and threaded fasteners always start them by hand to avoid cross-threading them!)

En’s car was done in around 1/2 hour for all four corners. Easy peasy.

This brings us to the force part of this.

The first wheel I attacked on my car was frozen to the hub.

My normal routine of hitting the wheel with a dead-blow hammer did nothing. I moved up to a 4-pound sledgehammer. Nothing. Penetrating oils. No help immediately. Loosening the bolts slightly and dropping the car off the jack. Nothing. More of the 4-pound sledge. Nothing. Eventually I brought a 8-pound sledge with a 3-foot handle to bear on the issue. After several dozen blows with that it freed up the joint between the wheel and the brake rotor. A few more finally freed up the junction with the wheel hub.

In all my (admittedly limited) time working on cars and bikes, I have to say the most force I’ve ever had to apply has been to tires and wheels. Amazing how much force goes through those things and somehow things seem to hold together.

My rough back of the envelope calculation shows that this is roughly 1000 pounds of pressure almost 8″ from the hub. That’s a half a ton of force and things didn’t budge. Amazing.