Along come the holidays, and you've got that guy on your gift list. The Wheel Guy. The one who cleans his custom wheels every week, or swaps his own winter wheels on in the garage, or stores his car for the winter. Want to delight the Wheel Guy this year? Here's some tips to the hottest Wheel Guy stuff out there.
(Yes, I am completely aware that there are plenty of Wheel Girls out there too – I married one. However, the vast majority of wheel and tire enthusiasts are male; so until that changes, it's Wheel Guys, because Wheel People sounds pretty stupid.)
Gifts for Tire and Wheel Storage:
Here are some great ideas for those who store an extra set of seasonal wheels, which tend to be heavy, dirty and take up a lot of space.
Tire Totes are tough nylon and canvas wraps with heavy-duty velcro closures. Wrap them around your tires to protect them for storage and to protect your clothing and storage space from the tires. A ballistic nylon handle makes carrying heavy wheel/tire assemblies easy. This particular set comes from Tire Rack at a very good price and carries their logo. Tire Totes come only in packs of two – don't ask me why; I've never been able to figure out who thought that was a good idea. Who stores only two tires?
Add Tire Felts, and completely protect the outer face of the wheel with a thick felt cap designed to attach to Tire Totes. Of course, Tire Felts also come only in packs of two.
From the Tire Rack comes – a Tire Rack! This heavy-duty rack is great for garage storage without taking up a lick of floor space. Some assembly required.
Gifts for Car Storage:
For those who store a car for the winter, one major problem tends to be flatspotting, when the tires are left in one place for too long with the weight of the car on them. This can cause tire vibration and noise when the car comes out in the spring, which can be annoying and sometimes downright expensive. People who want you to spend a ridiculous amount of money will recommend something like Flatstoppers, which from the price would appear to be made of pure gold under a plastic coating. Don't get suckered – all your Wheel Guy really needs is a floor jack and some jack stands to take the weight of the car off the wheels entirely.
Arcan's floor jack is a low-profile model, which fits under the lowest of lowered cars and under aftermarket skirt kits as well. Quick-lift design means that only one or two pumps brings the jack up to the load. 3 ½ ton capacity lifts any car and most SUV's.
Torin jack stands are among the best available. Brute force design and double locking steel pin safety means that Wheel Guys can sleep easy, because these ratcheting stands will never, ever fail.
Gifts for Wheel Swappers:
If your Wheel Guy is storing his car for the winter, the right tools will let him remove the wheels for cleaning, maintenance or repair. If your Wheel Guy keeps an extra set of wheels for winter/summer swaps, these tools can let him swap out his wheels in his own garage rather than taking them to a tire shop to do it.
Wheels require a specific amount of torque to be safely attached to the rotors, but too much torque can damage the lug nuts or the wheels themselves. A good torque wrench like this one from Tire Rack is essentially a long ratchet wrench that can be set for the proper amount of torque. When the proper torque has been reached, the wrench will begin clicking to let the user know.
To install and remove wheels without grunting, knuckle busting or outright hernias; an impact driver is the way to go, and a cordless impact driver is the ultimate in convenience. Unfortunately, many cordless impact drivers do not have enough power to use on lugnuts. This one has power to spare, and DeWalt is a name I trust for power tools of all kinds.
The major drawback to impact drivers is the lack of precise torque control. It's very easy to overtorque the lugnuts, making them difficult if not impossible to remove, especially in an emergency situation by the side of the road. To use an impact driver without overtorquing, we use these torque sticks. These spiral-forged steel extensions begin to flex when their rated torque is reached, preventing too much torque from being applied to lugnuts. Because of their spring-like internal structure, torque sticks should never be used to remove lugnuts, only to put them on.