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

Is it Safe to Drive With a Wheel Nut Missing?

Wheel Nut

A wheel nut can go missing due to wheels being mounted at different temperatures, not tightened down enough, or tightened too much. Over time, the loosened wheel nut may fall off of the wheel, but you may not notice it right away. As soon as you do notice it, the missing wheel nut should be replaced because these are part of the system that holds on the wheels to your vehicle.

Here are some of the concerns that involve missing wheel nuts:

  • Wheel nuts help to balance the pressure between the tires. If one wheel nut goes missing, that extra pressure is distributed between the remaining wheel nuts. If other wheel nuts are loose, chances are this extra pressure will cause them to fall off as well. It is common to lose more than one wheel nut at a time. Therefore, as soon as you notice a wheel nut missing, contact a mechanic right away to have it replaced so the pressure can be evenly distributed.

  • Since more pressure is being exerted on the tire, all parts of the tire feel this pressure, including the wheel bearings. More pressure can cause the wheel bearings to fail prematurely, causing an extensive repair. If you hear metal grinding on metal, you waited too long to replace your wheel nut and your wheel bearing needs to be replaced.

  • Another hazard with a missing wheel nut is broken rotors. Since there is more pressure on one side of the rotor than the other, there is potential for the rotor to get bent out of shape. A warped rotor can be noticed by a pulsating feeling in your brakes, or the rotor failing the next time you are driving.

  • Another danger of a missing wheel nut is that extra pressure will be placed on the studs. This means cornering, braking, and accelerating will put extra strain on the studs, which can cause fractures. These fractures can break, causing the wheel to fall off.

It is not a good idea to drive with a wheel nut missing. While it may not be noticeable right away, it will be noticeable over time. Pay attention to how your vehicle handles, check your tires on a regular basis, and inspect your wheel nuts. This will help you find any potential hazards before they become large problems. As soon as you notice a wheel nut missing, contact a mechanic to have it replaced right away.

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

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...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP)...
P0291OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 11 Injector Circuit Low
P0291 code definition When your vehicle’s PCM registers the P0291 code, it means that a voltage reading came from the fuel injector circuit – for cylinder number 11’s fuel injector –...


Related questions

Q: Where are the LATCH anchors?

Your car has LATCH anchors to fit with any LATCH child restraint system. The anchors are located on either side of the rear seats, where the cushion meets the seat back. Follow the child restraint manufacturer’s instructions to safely install...

Q: When pulling off, it feels like the rear end is dragging

If a wheel bearing in the hub was defective enough to cause drag, you would hear a tremendous amount of noise from the failed bearing. Wheels might also drag due to misalignment or failure of the brakes to retract. Misalignment...

Q: How do the active head restraints work in a 2012 Nissan Altima?

Active head restraints are provided only in the front two seats, and only on some Altimas (it depends on the trim level). If your car is equipped with these, they provide additional safety in the event of an accident. They...