Terrific post, Michael. As usual.
This might at first sound pretty self-evident – just remove the flat tire, and put the spare tire on – but there are a few extra steps that have to be taken due to the air suspension system on the Phaeton. So, here is a step by step illustrated guide. You might want to print it out, put it in a zip-lock bag, and toss it into the spare tire well of your Phaeton.
Your first hint that you have a problem with a tire will likely be a warning message that looks like this. It is possible that the message will be displayed in a different colour (and with different spelling of the word ‘tyre’) depending on what country you are in.
Flat Tire Warning Message
If you press the VEHICLE button on the infotainment system, you can see which tire has the problem. The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is quite sensitive, and will detect the problem before you can tell which tire has the problem simply by looking for a flat one.
Detail showing which tire has the problem.
The first action to take is to dig out the owner manual. It provides pretty good step by step instructions, beginning on page 66 of section 3.2 of the manual
Owner Manual Instructions
You MUST put the Phaeton suspension system into the special ‘Jacking Up Mode’ (Tire Changing Mode) before you jack the car up. If you don’t do this, the car will notice the difference in height of the corner of the car you are jacking up, and attempt to push the wheel back down onto the ground by sending air into that shock absorber. You don’t want that.
To put the car into ‘Tire Changing Mode’, press and hold both of the suspension control buttons on the middle console for 5 seconds or longer. You will see a message in the Y24 display between the speedometer and tachometer confirming that the car is now in ‘Jacking Up Mode’
How to Invoke ‘Jacking Up Mode’
Now, set the parking brake, so the car does not roll around when you are trying to change the tire. It would be very annoying if it rolled enough to fall off the jack.
Set the Parking Brake
You can make the whole process a lot simpler if you take all the stuff you will need out of the car before you start work, and set it up on the ground beside the problem tire. If your tire happens to go flat in a Hilton parking lot, like mine did, don’t forget to go inside and get a cup of coffee to drink as you do the work.
Get everything you will need out and in place before you start work.
Here are some photos that show trick and tips to make getting all the stuff out of the spare tire well as painless and simple as possible. First, be aware that the chrome handle on the spare tire well cover is designed to clip onto the top of the trunk opening, to hold the cover open and out of your way.
How to keep the spare tire well cover open while you work.
Before you attempt to take the spare tire out of the well, remove the entire semi-circular foam tray that contains all the tools, and carry it around to the problem tire. This way, you have all the tools handy, in a holder, so you don’t lose anything. It’s also a heck of a lot easier to get the tire out of the well if you have first removed the semi-circular tray that holds the tools.
Remove the tool tray before you remove the spare tire.
Tool tray and spare tire, ready to begin work.
Remove the decorative caps from the wheel bolts, using the special tool that is provided. Note that one of these caps is different (on the inside) than the others. This is the one that fits over the special locking nut. Remember this later on, when you put these caps back on.
BEFORE you lift the car up with the jack, use the wrench to loosen the bolts. The idea here is that you just ‘crack’ the bolts off – perhaps a quarter turn only – before you jack up the car. This way, you are not reefing on the bolts and shaking the car around after you have jacked it up.
Now put the jack in place. The owner manual shows exactly where the jack should go. There is a special cut-out (recess) in the bottom edge of the car where the jack goes.
Find the recess
Put the jack in place
And lift up the car.
Now that the dead tire is up in the air, you can remove the wheel bolts that you previously loosened, remove the dead tire, and install the spare tire.
Volkswagen provides a small plastic guide tool to make it easier to fit the replacement tire onto the wheel hub. The idea is this: You screw this small plastic guide into place on any of the holes where the bolts go, then install the new tire, using this plastic guide to help you get the bolt holes in the tire lined up with the bolt holes on the hub. It is a useful, clever little device.
The rest is pretty simple – install the 5 bolts, tighten them gently with the wrench, then remove the jack. Once the car is back down on the ground (no longer supported with the jack), you can firmly tighten the 5 bolts. The target torque is 120 Newton meters. After you have tightened the 5 bolts, put the decorative caps back on. Put the dead tire in the spare tire well first, then install the semi-circular tool tray second – it’s much easier if you do it in that sequence.
Most likely, your Phaeton suspension will look pretty strange after you have removed the jack. The body will be much too close to the tire that you just changed – the car will look ‘slammed’ in that corner, and when you get into the car and start it, you will get a warning message about the suspension, to the effect of “Stop – vehicle too low”. Don’t worry about this, the fix is simple: Just press the suspension height button, then turn the big knob on the infotainment screen to set the car to the highest possible height, and push the big knob. This will do two things: First, it will de-activate Jacking Up Mode, and second, it will lift the car back up so that everything looks normal again. Once the car has been lifted up to the highest setting, you can then put it back to the normal setting.
Looks a bit low, after removing the jack
…and now we see this message.
The easy fix for this is to just lift the car up to the highest suspension mode, using the suspension height button, then lower it back down to normal.
After all this work is done, you still have two minor issues to attend to. First is getting the wheel bolts properly torqued, because it is not likely that you happened to have a torque wrench in the trunk. Any garage can do this for you, so just stop when convenient and ask them to torque the 5 bolts to 120 Newton meters (88 foot-pounds of force). The second problem is that the Tire Pressure monitoring system will complain that the tire in the spare tire well is now flat – as if you didn’t know this already. If you don’t plan on having the tire repaired right away, or, if you have to drop the spare tire off to get it repaired, and pick it up later, you can recode the Tire Pressure Monitoring Controller to indicate that there are only 4 tires on board, not 5. Instructions about how to do this can be found here: Tire Pressure Monitoring System - watch 4 tires, or 5? How-to...
Last edited by PanEuropean; 05-02-2012 at 03:57 PM.
Great post Michael. If you were a cigarette smoker, I bet between changing tires and putting on paddle shifters, you'd probably already be through 5 CASES of cigarettes by now!!
Stick with the coffee.
Seriously, it wouldn't be a bad idea for everyone to do a tire changing procedure in the comfort of their driveways to get familiar with the process BEFORE it happens in a location that is not so ideal. I think this might be an extra project for us at the Birmingham GTG at my house.
Great post Michael.
I think I would have gotten the coffee and then called for roadside assistance. i probably could have even had a second cup.
In addition to the instructions I would also include a pair of gloves to save your hands from the brake dust.
Great posting and I thought I might have needed that today.
Started the car after breakfast out this morning and a prompt came on and said Defective wheel. Oh my I thought that perhaps something happened earlier in the day at the car wash. But thats another issue as I think the rims are getting rub damage on the Auto line there.
But the defective wheel sign came on and I walked around the car and could see nothing wrong. It did not tell me which wheel position. So I took off and got on the Highway. after about 5 mins of 60 mph speed the Flat Tyre symbol came on and the Nav screen showed it being the right front tire. Pulled over and checked it and it was not flat. went about a mile to a filling station and used an air gauge on it and it
37lbs. both fronts had 37lbs and the rears about 45lbs. Since I couldn't find out the problem I called the Phaeton Hotline thru onstar. What a waste of time as onstar told me the VW folks for Phaeton do not work weekends. Call them Monday. Ok... I can handle that.
Anybody have any ideas as to what is going on with the wheel sensor and the tire. I will also post this by its self.
Modified by Kcmover at 8:47 PM 10-9-2005
As previously posted, I called Roadside Assist while in Angel Fire, NM- 22 miles from Taos. There arrived to help within one hour. Actually, I needed them only to do the heavy lifting. I already had the air suspension disabled, tools out, and ready to go.
Why do it yourself and get a hernia?
I had to change a flat during my 24 hour test drive last year. It really sucked because it was night time, the side of the road was very icey and I had to chisel out some ice to get to the pavement, and I had to use the widow maker jack. It was not a very fun experience.
Haunted Car Stories MEGA THREAD!!!!
Originally Posted by JuniperMonkeys
For me it was twice, once at home, once at work. Both on nice sunny days. The procedure isn't difficult. However, getting to jacking mode requires a close read of the manual.
One of the most important things to be aware of, that isn't mentioned in the manual, is the face of the wheel protrudes from the tire, so if you lay the wheel/tire down on it's face, make sure it's on something soft like grass, not the road or parking lot. I scratched two wheels.
If you want, the spare tire well cover can be removed from the trunk, it just pulls right out.
Modified by Paldi at 9:42 PM 5-19-2007
Yup! That's why I bought the On Star!! My right arm is too damaged to change a tire anyway. HOWEVER I full printed out the entire thread, stowed in in the spare tire well and the mechanic can utilize it to change it correctly. ( So they will not lay it face down on the road and scratch up the wheel, among other things)
Modified by GripperDon at 10:54 AM 10-23-2005
Great procedure! One word of caution: I don't know if I would use that jack to hoist the car into the air. It looks like it is steel.
The Audi's come with an aluminum jack, and I have personally seen them collapse when jacking the car up.
You would just have to be very, very careful with the surface you put it on, wind conditions (i.e. on the side of a highway is not good), etc.
As always, great illustrations!
I haven't had a flat tire in at least 20 years (and I am not all that old)... Now that I have read this thread... I will most likely get one....
Michael - Pyloric Stenosis??
Quote, originally posted by PanEuropean »
Beat you to it - got that operation done when I was 6 months old. (I think it was covered by warranty).
Quote, originally posted by PaulA8 » ...be very, very careful with the surface you put it on, wind conditions (i.e. on the side of a highway is not good), etc.
Very wise words, I agree with you 100%. The Phaeton jack is made of steel and appears to be very sturdy. It is the same design as the Golf and Jetta jack (though scaled up in size), so the design concept is well proven.
There are two very important safety issues that we Phaeton owners need to be aware of when we jack the car up:
1) Because of the design of the differentials (front and rear) and the transmission, if one wheel is up in the air, the other wheel will be free to rotate - regardless of whether the transmission is in PARK or not.
2) The park brake (emergency brake) only acts on the rear axle. If you are changing a front wheel, the opposite wheel will not be 'locked' - in fact, it will attempt to rotate in the opposite direction if you apply any rotational force to the front wheel you have jacked up in the air.
I learned this when I was at my VW dealership watching the technician remove a wheel from my Phaeton. The Phaeton was on the hoist, about 3 feet in the air. Even though the transmission was in Park, I could freely and easily rotate any wheel, and the other wheel on the same axle would turn in the opposite direction. I opened the driver door and put the park brake on - this locked up the two back wheels, but the two front wheels were still free to rotate.
So, if you are unlucky enough to have to change a tire yourself, using the jack supplied with the vehicle, be sure to take the following two precautions (included in the directions in the owner manual) before you jack the car up:
a) Apply the park brake (emergency brake) firmly.
b) Use the wrench to release the 5 wheel nuts (i.e. crack the tension on them) before you jack the car up, so you will not be reefing on the wrench with one wheel up in the air. By the same token, once you put the new wheel on, snug the bolts up finger tight only, then lower the car back down to the ground before you reef the bolts tight (120 N·m) with the wrench.
Be aware that the wheel might be 'stuck' to the axle and therefore be a bit difficult to remove if the proper corrosion protection measures were not taken the last time the wheel was mounted (see this post: Corrosion Prevention Precautions when removing and replacing Phaeton wheels). To break the wheel loose, you might need to kick the outer edge of the tire a bit. Obviously, you will want to double-check that the jack is perfectly vertical and the car has not shifted around before you start kicking.
Modified by PanEuropean at 6:59 PM 10-17-2005
I just used the Phaeton OEM jack to change all 4 wheels on my car. I was in a garage with a perfectly flat floor, and the jack worked fine. I was surprised how little effort was needed considering the weight of the car. However, I don't think the jack would stand up well if the car were on a slope or if the surface was soft. Under such conditions I'd make sure to chock the wheels and put a stout base (like an 18" piece of 2x6) under the jack. Even so, always be careful not to have any part of you under the car unless its secure on jack stands.
When I jacked up mine for the first time, I set the park brake and tried to push the car off the jack while the wheel was still on. It stayed up so I proceeded with the job using the VW jack. All in all the Phaeton Jack is stronger than those in my other cars, but if I make a habit of changing wheels, I'll make up an adapter for my 2 ton hydraulic floor jack. It makes life easier and is built like a truck!
The hotel parking lot where I changed my tire (photos above) had quite a considerable slope to it - the nose of the car was higher than the tail. When I first started to jack the car up, it became obvious that the jack was not extending in perfectly vertical path. So, I just retracted the jack, moved the base of the jack back a little bit to compensate, and started jacking it up again. This time, everything worked very well, as you can see from the photo.
Having said that, I don't think I would attempt to jack up ANY car - from ANY manufacturer - unless it was on a hard surface, such as fully cured asphalt or concrete. Common sense suggests that the base of the jack is not wide enough for unprepared surfaces.
Jack at the beginning of the extension process
Last edited by PanEuropean; 05-02-2012 at 03:59 PM.
Only you would take a normally very irritating situation (away from home, with a flat tire, other things to do, etc.), and turn it into a photo lesson for Phaeton owners.
This is one reason why I ALWAYS go to this forum first, before I go to the Touareg and Passat forums (you can see I own the T'Reg and Passat).
You make this the best forum I have ever seen.
Tim Moore (no relation to Michael): USA '04 Phaeton V8 Nocturne Aubergine/Sonnenbeige (bought Mar 2011 w/aprox 64K miles) Platinum Easy Driver Warranty, for 48 mo or 48K); Comfort/Cold Weather; Technology; Digital 270 watt stereo; Keyless; Brown Sisal interior/Black Sisal trunk mats (cocomats.com);
Thanks for saying that, Tim, that is very nice of you.
This particular flat tire event was kind of funny - I had driven down to America to visit Ross-Tech (the VAG-COM people) and Fred (who posts as Paldi here on the forum), and got the flat tire in Fred's home town. I called him, he dropped over, and we did the tire change and took the pictures.
I had another flat (due to a sharp object on the road) last week - I took the easy way out on that one - just drove the car to my VW dealer before all the air leaked out.
At the April 2005 GTG, we found it a very good idea to put the vehicle in "jack mode" when on a lift. The car wants to auto level and looks kinda like an insect wiggling its wheels around in the air. The car requires about 10 mins to auto correct when placed on a level surface with the engine running. I'd hate to allow the vehicle to try to auto correct without the engine running, you'd be guaranteed a low power reading.
Quote, originally posted by Rowayton » What is the procedure or outcome if the car is lifted on a four corner chassis lift? Do you need to put the car in 'jack up' mode?
If you don't put the car in 'jacking up mode' before you lift it - and that means lifting one wheel, or lifting all four - the car gets frustrated when you lift it up, and tries to keep its wheels on the ground as long as possible. But, the real problems don't begin until you put it back down on the ground. Then, it will look absolutely 'slammed' - the fender edges will be below the top of the tires - and you then have to manually raise it to the highest possible level, then lower it to the normal level, to get things back to normal.
It makes sense to put it into 'jacking up mode' before you jack it up, simply because that also raises the car up. This means less work for you if you are using the tire-changing jack, and less chance of underbody damage as you drive onto the hydraulic lift if you are using a conventional lift in a garage to raise the whole car into the air. It's also a heck of a lot easier to get under the car to position the jack pads if you have first put the car into 'jacking up mode'.
I just wanted to thank you for your pictures and explanation -- they were really useful!
My wife just called me on her cellphone with the "flat tyre" indication, and rather than waiting for someone to come change the flat tire, she decided to change it herself (my wife's actually very good with mechanical bits). Following your step-by-step instructions and photos I guided her through the process over the phone. It only took about 20 minutes.
So your instructions let me be a "virtual OnStar advisor" today. Again, my wife and I thank you.
P.S. I haven't seen it yet (I'm still at work), but my wife found the cause of the flat was a big nail in the sidewall -- I guess we'll see if it can be repaired.
The only strange thing about this episode was that after the "Flat Tyre" indication, the system showed all 5 tires (including the spare) indicating the yellow warning trianges. My wife had to look at the tires to figure out which one was flat (it was obvious).
I confirmed that the tire couldn't be repaired. It was a large staple with both sharp ends penetrating the tire just where the sidewall joins the tread.
Obtained a replacement tire from TireRack for $213
Again, the only strange behavior was that (with the flat tire temporarily placed in the spare) the TPMS continued to say that all 5 tires were flat (yellow warning triangles on all 5 tires!).
I found out I have a non repairable tire because of a piece of metal lodged right where the sidewall meets the tread. I had then put the spare on and was planning on driving to Chicago in the morning.
Obviously a new tire is going to be slightly larger than on with 19K miles. I didn’t measure the tread depth, so I don’t know the exact difference but it appeared to be pretty slight. Beside the false warnings due to the flat spare… is this likely going to cause other problems?
I really don’t want to get new tires until winter. I was planning on having winter tires put on the OEM rims. Then I could get some large wheels to put summer tires on in the spring.
I had a similar prediciment a few years ago. My dealer suggested the following:
1) Put the spare (presumably unused) and the new tire on the rear axle.
2) Put the best two of the three remaining on the front axle.
3) Put the worst one in the trunk as the spare.
I did that, and everything worked perfectly - no TPMS problems, no ABS problems, no problems of any kind.
Here are the torque specifications for the bolts that hold the wheels on the car:
30 N·m (the initial tightening force, when the wheel is off the ground) is 22 lbf-ft.
120 N·m (the final tightening force, when the wheel is on the ground) is 88 lbf-ft.
This thread, as some others that I have read in this forum, is excellent. This is one of the most informative and complete forum that I can remember.
I have a question, before I am in dire need for an answer:
Were I to take my car to Costco, or another tire installer, when should the "tire changing mode" be invoked? Should I do it when I park the car in the lot, hence the car will be driven a short distance in this condition. Or, should I give instructions to the technician and hope that he follows them?
In other words, can the car be driven in the tire changing mode at all?
"Tire Changing Mode" is, in simplest form, turning off the air suspension.
The car will turn the air suspension back on again once it reaches about 5 to 8 km/h (about 5 MPH). Which means that you should probably offer to go inside and make the adjustment for the technician once he has the car positioned over top of the lift.
My version, and it may be only my version.
I've recently had several tire/wheel changes done at a tire and wheel dealer
not familiar with the Phaeton and its 'jack mode'. The shop uses only large floor jacks for all their work, no lifts other than that. I drove into the work bay
and immediately put the vehicle into the jack mode.
At home I use the jack mode as well even when changing or checking a tire and wheel. My opinion is that it's a good habit to use whenever possible and
obviously doing it yourself removes any doubt(s), once you have the learned the procedure. They may be situations of course where you are not permitted
or the circumstances are different.