Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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 Find the Keyless Code on a Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer
Many Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers were manufactured with an option known as the Ford keyless entry keypad. Some models refer to it as SecuriCode as well. It...
P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222 code means The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable voltage to be produced from the throttle position...
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...


Related questions

Q: How do I turn on the exterior parking lamps?

The exterior lamp control is placed on the instrument panel, to the left of the steering column. To turn on the exterior parking lamps, rotate the control knob clockwise two notches, to the parking lamps icon. When the exterior parking...

Q: Installing shims in the enclosed steering hub.

Hi there. Check to see if the front axle on the jeep has a differential on the tube. If there is a differential on the tube, then the axle on the jeep is either a pre-model or a 1963 model....

Q: Automatic position in dualogic doesn't work properly

Hello! I'll be happy to help. A common component on your particular vehicle that fails is the gearbox communication unit. When they fail it will cause the transmission to shift into neutral without command. Fiat is assessing this problem and...