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Old 01-09-2006, 10:05 AM
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How to properly package and ship tires and rims

Contributed by: Driver8

How to properly package and ship tires and rims

Very simple, actually...(this is my methodology since I have no access to binding tools or other more professional shipping tools or methods like TireRack...YMMV). I'm not a professional nor do I do this on the side. I just have bought and sold more than my share of BMW and Audi wheels and tires over the past few years :-)

1) First and foremost - those babies deserve a MAJOR wash and wax! Your buyer wants nothing more than the ability to bolt on their shiny new wheels and tires as soon as he/she gets home and finds them sitting in the driveway. Scrub 'em up! Add some value! To clean the wheels (front and back), I spray on liberal amounts of WD40, allow to soak for 10-15 minutes, then follow with a heavy duty wheel-safe cleaner and stiff brush (for the backs) and warm soapy (Dawn) water with a soft cloth for the wheel faces. (Don't let the wheels lie unprotected on their faces...you WILL scratch something you don't want to scratch, namely a rim or painted surface.) Let them dry completely. Do NOT use rubber/tire protectant! You need to be able to attach tape to the tires. I follow with a cleaner wax (Meguiars is a good choice) on the wheels to remove the remaining road grime and put a nice protective finish on the wheels, front and back. Make sure everything is dry and clean before you start to wrap them up.

Note: If the wheels and tires are shipped together, and they weigh less than 50 lbs apiece, you can ship two bundled together with FedEx or UPS; anything over 50 lbs will have to ship separately. Shipping two bundled together is slightly less expensive (10%-20%), if you can do it. I would imagine that no BMW X5 wheel/tire combo will weigh less than 50 lbs, IMHO.

Key Concept: Your goal is to protect the soft parts, i.e. the painted or otherwise finished soft metal wheel. Your other goal is to keep everything that is being shipped together in one piece. Tires don't get damaged in transit. Wheels do. Focus your efforts here and your buyer will be glad you did (and so will you).

2a) (This is for attaching two wheels/tires together and shipping together.) Position both units face to face (to protect the wheels), placing one or two pieces of circular-cut cardboard or bubble wrap between the wheel faces to protect them during transit. Tape or otherwise attach the two units together using shipping tape, a shipping fastening attachment tool or other device. Make sure you go all the way around to ensure the two wheels/tires are well attached to one another. Go to Step #3.

2b) (This is for shipping one wheel/tire.) Affix a circular-cut piece of thick cardboard or a piece of bubble wrap to the wheel face (cut it about 1"-2" larger than the diameter of the wheel to allow it to ride slightly above the face of the wheel to avoid making marks on the wheel...a good wax job beforehand will help out tremendously here.) Cover the wheel with the cardboard/bubble wrap and attach it to the tire using heavy 3M or other quality shipping tape. Go to Step #3.

3) I use a Saran Wrap-like material to wrap up a single wheel/tire or to wrap and bind up a wheel/tire combo. I bought a roll of this stuff at Staples or Office Max last summer when I moved. I think a roll of 200'x18" costs $20...a bargain at twice the price, if you ask me. It is GREAT for wrapping up stuff and it pretty much just sticks to itself, and this it does very well. Don't be afraid to pull it tightly across the tires! It will make it stick better. I start by tightly wrapping the tread a time or two (it will stick to itself). I then cut it off and start wrapping around the wheel and tire, from top to bottom then bottom to top, making sure to make it tight and get several revolutions (at least 2x) around the wheel and tire or wheel/tire combo. When you're done, the entire wheel and tire or wheel/tire combo should be complete covered tightly and securely with the wrapping material. NO LOOSE EDGES ALLOWED! (See next bullet point.)

4) Finally, when I'm done with the wrap, I run tape over the treadface, then again in a cross pattern around the wheel and tire or wheel/tire combo to make sure the plastic wrap won't come loose or unwrapped.

5) Using your IBM PC (or other compatible :-) print out address labels, using a large font and including both ship-to address as well as a return address.

6) Attach these labels to the tread side of the tire or to the cardboard-covered wheelface with lots of tape so it is clear where they are going and also so they don't come loose. (After chasing a set of ContiContactSport2 takeoffs I bought for my former A6 2.7T across the Pacific Northwest for a month last year, I can tell you this is something you do NOT want to do in your spare time.)

7) Take to your shipper of choice. IME, a UPS or FedEx walkup customer counter is going to save you money over going to a third-party shipper (the local bookstore, Mailboxes Etc., Etc.). If you can ship from work, then all the better ;-) For comparison purposes, a set of X5 19" wheels and Michelin/Bridgestone tires at approximately 70 lbs each will cost about $150 +/- $25 shipped pretty much anywhere in the continental USA. From WV to Dallas TX it costs $158; LA to WV costs around $160; WV to MA costs about $130 via UPS or FedEx Ground service.

8) If you have done everything to the best of your ability, and with a little luck during the shipping process, your wheels and tires will arrive in pretty much the same shape as you sent them. And then you will have folks like Kevin (see thread) who are pleased with the way their new wheels and tires arrived safe and sound! This takes time! Plan on about 60-90 minutes per wheel/tire. Quality doesn't come cheap!

Good luck, and hope this is of some use.

Mike


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