Q: Lug nut caps always falling off of the wheels

asked by on November 07, 2015

I am really not a very nit-picky person in general, but the little caps that cover the lug nuts on my 2008 Toyota Highlander have begun to fall off and it makes the truck look 10 years older. The thing only has 65,000 miles on it. Why even put caps over the bolts if you aren’t going to secure them well? Might as well just take them all off. I replaced the first few that fell off but now I have just been letting them fly. Could this unbalance my wheels?

This is a common problem with many vehicles that use a two-piece lug nut design. In general, the outer piece of the lug nut loses tension on the inner lug nut due to over-tightening or normal wear & tear. If the outer lugs are removed, be advised that the inner lug is smaller diameter and will require a smaller wrench (most likely 20mm) to remove them. This can be a problem if a tire needs to be changed in an emergency, as the stock lug wrench is 21mm. This shouldn’t cause any imbalance in the wheels as the weight being removed is minimal and it is at the center hub of the wheel. For a permanent repair, look into aftermarket one-piece lug nuts from a company like McGard.

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