Master Wheel Lug Nut Torque Specifications

Every automotive technician job entails something slightly different, but there are some things all mechanics must know how to do. One of these services is installing lug nuts by using the right amount of torque (measured in foot-pounds). To do this, you’ll need a torque stick, impact wrench and torque wrench, and an understanding of what this important process involves.

The importance of using just the right amount of torque

Lug nuts hold the wheels of a vehicle to its axle and are thus extremely important for keeping a driver safe. Amateur mechanics sometimes make the mistake of thinking it’s best to apply as much torque as possible when installing them. The reasoning is that making lug nuts this tight should also guarantee the wheel stays in place. In reality, applying too much torque to a bolt will actually physically stretch it. By doing so, the bolt is now prone to crack, shear, loosen or even completely break off, so it’s the furthest thing from being safe. On the other end of the spectrum, a lug nut that isn’t given enough torque will not be able to stay in place once the vehicle begins moving as the force involved will quickly push it off the bolt.

Torque specifications are different for each vehicle

Every vehicle needs a different amount of torque during the installation of its wheels. The specifications should be listed in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. Industry reference guides have them too or you can simply look them up by going through ProDemand.

Installing lug nuts

Once you understand how much torque to use, you can install a lug nut. To do this, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Torque stick
  • Impact wrench
  • Torque wrench

First, you’ll need the lug nut that the user manual requires for this specific vehicle.

Then, you’ll need a torque stick that fits it. Put the lug nut into place around the bolt and position the torque stick over its head.

Next, on the other end of the torque stick, use the impact wrench to turn the lug nut into position.

Finally, set your torque wrench to the amount specified in the manual and check your work to make sure the installation was successful.

Installing lug nuts in the right sequence

It’s essential that you know how to follow the correct sequence during installation. Installing in a clockwise manner is another mistake amateurs often make. It’s not the way any auto mechanic schools would teach.

Instead, you’ll actually follow a crisscross sequence. If you have a wheel with five bolts, imagine each has a number starting with one at the top and ending with five directly to its left. In that case, you would tighten in this sequence:

  • One
  • Four
  • Two
  • Five
  • Three

If you have six bolts with “one” positioned at the top right and “six” positioned at the top left, the sequence would look like this:

  • One
  • Four
  • Six
  • Three
  • Five
  • Two

Installing lug nuts this way is the only safe method. Taking a clockwise approach will make the wheel sit unevenly on the axle which is dangerous and could result in a serious accident.

As you can see, installing lug nuts isn’t an overly technical procedure. All it takes is the right tools and following one of the above sequences, but it must be done correctly or your customers’ lives will be in danger.

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Richard

21 years of experience
461 reviews
Richard
21 years of experience
Lexus ES300 V6-3.0L - Tighten Wheel Lug Nuts - Marietta, Georgia
According to Richard, the problem has been rectified, however, the replacement lug nut is the incorrect style. He will return to replace it with the correct one when it has been ordered and scheduled.
Dodge Neon - Tighten Wheel Lug Nuts - Marietta, Georgia
Richard is very kool. On time cordial. Does a great Job. great advice too, for all your repairs I truthfully recommend his services. Great Mechanic.

Nicholas

11 years of experience
585 reviews
Nicholas
11 years of experience
Kia Rio L4-1.6L - Tighten Wheel Lug Nuts - Durham, North Carolina
High quality service. Very friendly and efficient.

Jacqueline

11 years of experience
20 reviews
Jacqueline
11 years of experience
Ford Expedition V8-5.4L - Tighten Wheel Lug Nuts - Folsom, Pennsylvania
Was prompt, proficient, personable, and attentive to detail.

Jay

23 years of experience
149 reviews
Jay
23 years of experience
Chevrolet Captiva Sport L4-2.4L - Tighten Wheel Lug Nuts - Chicago, Illinois
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