Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Is it Safe to Drive With a Missing Lug Nut?

Is it Safe to Drive With a Missing Lug Nut?

lug nut

A lug nut is also called a wheel nut, and is used to hold the wheel securely onto the vehicle. Depending on the type of vehicle you have, you may have four, five, or six lug nuts. Some vehicles are equipped with loose wheel nut indicators, so you can catch the lug nut before it falls off. Other vehicles do not have this sensor so it is a good idea to inspect lug nuts on a regular basis to check for loose ones. If you notice a loose lug nut, you should make sure to have the lug nut tightened as soon as possible.

If it is too late, and a lug nut is already missing, here are some things to know about the dangers of driving with a missing lug nut:

  • Lug nuts are designed to hold a certain amount of pressure, which is why larger vehicles have more lug nuts. After you lose one lug nut, that pressure has to be distributed to the other lug nuts. Over time, this can wear down the other lug nuts on the wheel.

  • If you are missing a lug nut on just one wheel, there will be uneven pressure on the wheel hub. This can have an effect on the wheel bearings. The wheel bearings will have to hold more pressure than the others sides, which can cause them to wear prematurely. Repairing wheel bearings is more extensive than replacing a lug nut, so if you notice one missing, replace the missing lug nut as soon as possible.

  • One of the dangers of a missing lug nut is that it can cause the vehicle to wobble. Since the pressure of the vehicle is unevenly distributed, the vehicle will shake. Pressure will also be placed on the vehicle as it turns corners, brakes, or accelerates to high speeds. All of these combined can cause other lug nuts to come off, or the studs to snap. The studs are what the lug nuts attach too, and hold the wheel on. So if the stud snaps, the wheel could fall off. Normally the studs have fractures before they snap, but once the fractures get too large they will snap. This can be dangerous to you and the vehicles around you.

If you are missing a lug nut, it is important to have it replaced as soon as possible. It is potentially dangerous to drive around with a missing lug nut because of the extra pressure exerted on the wheel. This pressure can damage the wheel bearings, studs, and cause other lug nuts to fall off. These problems can lead to a wheel falling off.

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

More related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
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...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...


Related questions

Q: How do you adjust the head restraints in a 2012 Nissan Altima?

Head restraints are built into the front two seats (driver and passenger). They’re designed to provide comfort, but also to help reduce the chance of injury in an accident. They are also adjustable to fit drivers or passengers of different...

Q: Regarding studs of tyre

If you have one of four lug nuts or studs missing then it is unsafe to drive the vehicle at any speeds.

Q: How do I arm the theft-alarm system?

The theft-alarm system is a very important anti-theft feature in your vehicle. The system will be automatically armed when you turn off the engine, close all of the doors, and lock the vehicle from the outside.