Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Replace a Wheel Stud

car wheel stud

Wheel studs are designed to hold the wheels onto a drive or idler hub. As a vehicle drives through a corner, the wheel stud has to withstand pressure applied to it on the vertical axis and horizontal axis, and pushing or pulling. Wheel studs become fatigued over time and stretch out. When someone over-torques a lug nut, they tend to apply too much pressure, causing the nut to spin on the wheel stud. If the wheel stud has worn out or been damaged in this way, there will be rust on the stud or visible damage to the threads.

Materials Needed

  • Allen wrench set
  • Boxed end wrenches
  • Brass drift (long)
  • Breaker bar
  • Bungee cord
  • Emery cloth 320 grit
  • Flashlight
  • Floor jack
  • Gear lube
  • Hammer (2 1/2 pound)
  • Jack stands
  • Large flat head screwdriver
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Oil drain pan (small)
  • Protective clothing
  • Putty knife/scraper
  • Ratchet with metric and standard sockets
  • Rotor wedge screw set
  • Safety glasses
  • Seal installer tool or a block of wood
  • Seal removal tool
  • Tire iron
  • Torque wrench
  • Torx bit set
  • Wheel chocks

Part 1 of 4: Preparing to remove the wheel stud

Step 1: Park your vehicle on a flat, hard surface. Make sure that the transmission is in park (for automatics) or in first gear (for manuals).

Step 2: Place wheel chocks around the rear tires that will be remaining on the ground. In this case, the wheel chocks will be around the front tires since the rear of the vehicle will be lifted up. Engage the parking brake to keep the rear tires from moving.

Step 3: Loosen the lug nuts. If you are using a tire iron to remove the wheels from the vehicle, loosen the lug nuts using your tire iron. Do not remove the lug nuts, only loosen them.

Step 4: Raise the vehicle. Using a floor jack that is recommended for the weight of the vehicle, lift the vehicle at its specified jacking points until the wheels are completely off the ground.

Step 5: Place the jack stands The jack stands should go under the jacking point locations. Then lower the vehicle onto the jack stands. For most modern cars, the jacking points for jack stands will be on the pinch weld just under the doors along the bottom of the car.

Step 6: Put on safety glasses. This will shield your eyes from flying debris as you remove the wheel studs. Put on gloves that are gear lube resistant.

Step 7: Remove the lug nuts. Use a tire iron to remove the lug nuts from the wheel studs.

Step 8: Remove the wheels from the wheel studs. Use chalk to mark the wheels if you need to take off more than one wheel.

Step 9: Remove the front brakes. If you are working on the front wheel studs, you will need to remove the front brakes. Remove the mounting bolts on the brake caliper.

Take off the caliper and hang it on the frame or coil spring with a bungee cord. Then take off the brake rotor. You may need rotor wedge screws to force the rotor off the wheel hub.

Part 2 of 4: Removing the damaged or broken wheel stud

For vehicles with tapered bearing and seal installation hubs

Step 1: Remove the wheel hub cap. Place a small drain pan under the cap and remove the cap to the wheel hub. Drain out the oil from the bearings and hub into the drain pan. If the bearings had grease, then some grease may come out. It is good to have a drain pan to put the bearing in.

  • Note: If you have locking hubs for four wheel drive, you need to remove the locking hubs from the drive hub. Make sure to pay attention to how all of the parts come out so you know how to put it back together.

Step 2: Remove the outer nut to the wheel hub. Use a hammer and small chisel to punch back the tabs on the locking ring if there is one. Slide off the hub and catch the small tapered bearing that will fall out.

Step 3: Drain the rest of the gear oil from the wheel hub. Turn the hub over to the back side where the seal is located.

  • Note: After pulling off the wheel hub, the seal in the hub will get cut slightly as it comes off the spindle from the axle. This will destroy the seal, and it needs to be replaced before putting the wheel hub back on. You will also need to inspect the wheel bearings for wear while the wheel hub is off.

Step 4: Remove the wheel seal. Use a seal remover tool to remove the wheel seal from the wheel hub. Pull out the larger bearing that is inside the wheel hub.

Step 5: Clean off the two bearings and inspect them. Make sure that the bearings are not colored or pitted. If the bearings are colored or pitted, they will need to be replaced. This means that they got too hot or were mangled by debris in the oil.

Step 6: Punch out the wheel studs that need replaced. Turn the wheel hub back over so that the wheel stud threads are facing up. Punch the studs out with a hammer and a brass drift. Use a lint-free cloth to clean up the threads inside the wheel hub mounting holes.

  • Note: It is recommended to replace all of the wheel studs on the wheel hub that has a broken stud. This ensures that all of the studs are in good condition and will last.

For vehicles with pressed-in bearings and bolt-on hubs

Step 1: Disconnect the harness to the ABS sensor on the wheel hub. Remove the brackets that hold the harness to the knuckle on the axle.

Step 2: Remove the mounting bolts. Use a breaker bar to remove the mounting bolts that hold the wheel hub onto the suspension. Take off the wheel hub and put the hub down with the wheel stud threads facing up.

Step 3: Punch out the wheel studs. Use a hammer and a brass drift to punch out the wheel studs that need to be replaced. Use a lint-free cloth to clean up the threads inside the wheel hub mounting hose.

  • Note: It is recommended to replace all of the wheel studs on the wheel hub that has a broken stud. This ensures that all of the studs are in good condition and will last.

For vehicles with solid rear drive axles (banjo housing type axles)

Step 1: Remove the rear brakes. If the rear brakes have disc brakes, remove the mounting bolts on the brake caliper. Take off the caliper and hang it on the frame or coil spring with a bungee cord. Then take off the brake rotor. You may need rotor wedge screws to force the rotor off the wheel hub.

If the rear brakes have drum brakes, remove the drum by striking it with a hammer. After a few hits, the drum will begin to come off. You may need to back off the rear brake shoes to remove the drum.

Once the drum is off, remove the hardware to the brake shoes. Make sure you do one wheel at a time if you are doing both the left and right side wheel studs. This way you can look at the other brake assembly for a diagram.

Step 2: Place a drip pan under the rear axle between the axle housing and the wheel studs. If your axle has a bolt-on flange, then remove the four bolts and slide the axle out. You can skip to step 7 to continue.

If your axle does not have a bolt-on flange, then you will need to remove the axle from the banjo housing. Follow steps 3 through 6 to perform this procedure.

Step 3: Removing the banjo housing cover. Place a drip pan under the banjo housing cover. Remove the banjo housing cover bolts and pry off the banjo housing cover with a large flat screwdriver. Let the gear oil pour out of the axle housing.

Step 4: Locate and remove the locking tab bolt. Rotate the inner spider gears and cage to locate the locking tab bolt and remove it.

Step 5: Slide out the shaft within the cage. Turn the cage and remove the spider gears.

  • Note: If you have a positive locking system or a limited slip system, you will need to remove the system before removing the spider gears. It is recommended to take pictures or notations of what you need to do.

Step 6: Remove the axle from the housing. Push in the axle shaft and remove the c-lock inside the cage. Slide out the axle from the axle housing. The side gear on the axle shaft will fall off into the cage.

Step 7: Punch out the wheel studs. Place the axle shaft onto a workbench or blocks. Use a hammer and a brass drift to punch out the wheel studs that need to be replaced. Use a lint-free cloth to clean the threads inside the wheel hub mounting hose.

  • Note: It is recommended to replace all of the wheel studs on the wheel hub that has a broken stud. This ensures that all of the studs are in good condition and will last.

Part 3 of 4: Installing the new wheel stud

For vehicles with tapered bearing and seal installation hubs

Step 1: Install the new wheel studs. Turn the hub over so that the seal end is facing you. Put the new wheel studs onto the splined holes and use a hammer to knock them into place. Make sure that the wheel studs seat all the way down.

Step 2: Lubricate the bearings. If the bearings are in good condition, lubricate the larger bearing with gear oil or grease (depending on which it came with) and place it into the wheel hub.

Step 3: Get a new wheel hub seal and place it onto the hub. Use a seal installer tool (or a block of wood if you don’t have an installer) to drive the seal into the wheel hub.

Step 4: Place the wheel hub onto the spindle. If the wheel hub had gear oil in it, fill up the wheel hub with gear oil. Lubricate the small bearing and place it onto the spindle into the wheel hub.

Step 5: Insert the spacer or inner locking nut. Put on the outer lock nut to secure the wheel hub to the spindle. Tighten the nut all the way down, then back it off. Use a torque wrench and torque the nut to specs.

If you have a lock nut, torque the nut to 250 foot pounds. If you have a double nut system, torque the inner nut to 50 foot pounds and the outer nut to 250 foot pounds. On trailers, the outer nut should be torqued to 300 to 400 foot pounds. Bend the locking tabs down when finished torquing.

Step 6: Install the cover to the wheel hub to seal off the gear oil or grease. Be sure to use a new gasket to create a good seal on the cover. If the wheel hub had gear oil in it, you will want to remove the center plug and fill up the cover until the oil runs out.

Plug up the cover and spin the hub. You will need to do this four or five times to fill up the hub completely.

Step 7: Install the brake rotor onto the wheel hub. Place the caliper with the brake pads in place back onto the rotor. Tighten the caliper bolts to 30 foot pounds.

Step 8: Put the wheel back onto the wheel hub. Put on the lug nuts and tighten them down snug tight with the tire iron. If you intend to use an air or electric impact wrench, make sure that you do not exceed 85 to 100 pounds of torque.

For vehicles with pressed-in bearings and bolt-on hubs

Step 1: Install the new wheel studs. Turn the hub over so that the seal end is facing you. Put the new wheel studs onto the splined holes and use your hammer to knock them into place. Make sure that the wheel studs seat all the way down.

Step 2: Place the wheel hub onto the suspension and install the mounting bolts. Torque the bolts down to 150 foot pounds. If you have a CV shaft that goes through the hub, make sure you torque the CV shaft axle nut to 250 foot pounds.

Step 3: Connect the harness back onto the ABS wheel sensor. Reinstall the brackets to secure the harness.

Step 4: Put on the rotor on the wheel hub. Install the caliper with the pads still on onto the rotor. Torque the mounting bolts on the caliper to 30 foot pounds.

Step 5: Put the wheel back on the wheel hub. Put on the lug nuts and tighten them down snug tight with the tire iron. If you intend to use an air or electric impact wrench, make sure that you do not exceed 85 to 100 pounds of torque.

For vehicles with solid rear drive axles (banjo housing type axles)

Step 1: Install the new wheel studs. Place the axle shaft onto a workbench or blocks. Put the new wheel studs onto the splined holes and use a hammer to knock them into place. Make sure that the wheel studs seat all the way down.

Step 2: Slide the axle shaft back into the axle housing. If you had to remove a flange, then tilt the axle shaft to align it with the splines inside the axle gears. Install the bolts to the flange and torque them to 115 foot pounds.

Step 3: Reinstall the side gears. If you had to remove the axle through the banjo housing, then after installing the axle shaft into the axle housing, slide the side gears on the C-locks and install them onto the axle shaft. Push the shaft out to lock the axle shaft into place.

Step 4: Walk the spider gears back into place. Make sure that the spider gears line up.

Step 5: Insert the shaft back into the cage through the spider gears. Secure the shaft with the locking tab bolt. Tighten the bolt down by hand plus another 1/4 turn to lock it into place.

Step 6: Clean and replace the gaskets. Clean the old gasket or silicone on the banjo housing cover and banjo housing. Put a new gasket or new silicone on the banjo housing cover and install the cover.

  • Note: If you had to use any silicone to seal the banjo housing, be sure to wait 30 minutes before putting any oil back into the differential. This gives the silicone time to set.

Step 7: Remove the fill plug on the differential and fill up the banjo housing. The oil should flow out of the hole slowly when it is full. This allows the oil to travel along the axle shafts, lubricate the outer bearings, and maintain the correct amount of oil in the housing.

Step 8: Reinstall the drum brakes. If you had to remove the drum brakes, install the brake shoes and hardware onto the backing plate. You can use the other rear wheel as a guide to see how it goes together. Put on the drum and adjust the rear brakes.

Step 9: Reinstall the disc brakes. If you had to remove the disc brakes, install the rotor onto the axle. Install the caliper onto the rotor with the pads still on. Torque the mounting bolts on the caliper to 30 foot pounds.

Step 10: Put the wheel back on the wheel hub. Put on the lug nuts and tighten them down snug tight with the tire iron. If you intend to use an air or electric impact wrench, make sure that you do not exceed 85 to 100 pounds of torque.

Part 4 of 4: Lowering and testing the vehicle

Step 1: Raise the vehicle. Using a floor jack that is recommended for the weight of the vehicle, lift under the vehicle at its specified jacking points until the wheels are completely off the ground.

Step 2: Remove the jack stands. Remove the jack stands and keep them far away from the vehicle. Then lower the vehicle to the ground.

Step 3: Torque the wheels. Use a torque wrench to torque the lug nuts to the proper specs for your vehicle. Make sure that you use a star pattern to torque. This prevents runout (wobble) of the wheel.

Step 4: Test drive the vehicle. Drive the vehicle around the block. Listen for any unusual noises or vibrations. When you return from the road test, recheck the lug nuts for any looseness. Use a flashlight and check to see if there is any new damage to the wheels or wheel studs.

If your vehicle continues to makes noises or vibrate after replacing the wheel studs, then further inspection of the wheel studs may be required. If the problem persists, then you should seek out help from one of the certified mechanics at YourMechanic who can replace the wheel studs or diagnosis any related issues.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.

ASK A QUESTION

More related articles

P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...


Related questions

Q: ABS light comes on while driving. Also traction control light comes on while driving,

The ABS and Traction control use sensors located in the tire area. There are hub bearings that are paired with sensors operation. The clunk sound could be some type of wear that needs to be look at as soon as...

Q: Brake dust salt wheels

Hello there, thank you for asking about your 2005 BMW 760Li. All brakes produce dust as they wear, but ceramic pads produce a lighter colored dust that is less noticeable and less likely to stick to the wheels. Generally, ceramic...

Q: How does traction control help me maintain control of my car?

Introduced back in 1987 but required since 2012, traction control is a great standard feature found on almost all modern vehicles. Traction control utilizes the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and the vehicle’s throttle, for vehicles that are equipped with an...