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Thread: Torque wrench on lug nuts?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    Torque wrench on lug nuts?

    Does anyone else use a torque wrench on lug nuts? It drives me crazy to see the help in the tire shop pounding repeatedly with the pneumatic impact wrench, no clue about what the wrench is set to and not even following the recommended tightening sequence. When I ask they say don't worry, the wrench is set right but when I torque by hand when I get home they are almost always over-tightened.

    I bought a used slant-load horse trailer recently, tandem axles, six lugs each wheel. I cleaned the exposed threads, lubed, and removed the lug nuts. They were so tight some took a lot of pounding with my impact wrench just to remove, some tight all the way to the end. It turned out each lug nut was horribly distorted from over-tightening and some wouldn't even go back on the studs gracefully. I had to use a thread restorer to "retap" some of the nuts and clean up the ends of some studs just to get them back on.

    The next day I bought all new lug nuts and installed them with a manual torque wrench in three steps as recommended, rechecked after driving some. I was headed out for a 22 hr drive and wanted everything right (also repacked the wheel bearings and cleaned/lubed/repaired rusty brake hardware.) Tires were overinflated too, according to the mfgrs recommendation.

    I think I'm less stressed when I jack up and take the wheels off the vehicle or trailer myself and throw them in the truck; let the shop mount the and balance the tires, I'll put them back on.

    End of rant...

    JKJ

  2. #2
    "Don't worry," -- those two words are right up there with "Watch this-" ... Personally, I can't remember the last time I DIDN'T see a 'tire technician' using a torque wrench to finalize the nut torque. (but it was likely in the 1970's!)
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Mid-Michigan
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    Years ago my future wife rented a car and upon returning it, the rental place noticed 3 studs were broken off of the DS front wheel. Guess who got the bill.

    Then there was the time a couple years ago when I struck a deer and had a body shop replace the front bumper, bumper cover, and fender. Shortly afterwards I found out every one of the fasteners in the bumper cover had been over-torqued, thereby shredding their plastic nuts.

    Moral of the story: None of these guys seem to care.

    Agree that a shop over-tightening the lug nuts is a safety issue. I rotate my own tires and am aware generally of the torque I'm applying since I know what my impact wrench is set at.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    NE OH
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    2,146
    I always use a torque wrench. Over-tightening or uneven-tightening can not only damage the studs, it can warp the rotor on disk brakes. I mostly do my own service, but if it comes back from the shop for something that required r/r tires, I always check and they are always over-torqued.

    As for the wrench being "set right"...HA!
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Fairbanks AK
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    Since I started checking around the turn of the century, every shop that has tightened my lug nuts has overtightened my lug nuts.

    Where ever possible I takes rims to the tire shop for new tires, and then deal with the lug nuts myself with my torque wrench.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Coquitlam
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    351
    I use torque wrench whenever I change tires. Before I bought spare set of wheels for winters I used to go to a tire shop. They used torque wrench as well.

    Also, after driving 100-150KM after tire change, it's a good idea to retorque the nuts.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Doylestown, PA
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    6,990
    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Fenneuff View Post
    Years ago my future wife rented a car and upon returning it, the rental place noticed 3 studs were broken off of the DS front wheel. Guess who got the bill.

    Then there was the time a couple years ago when I struck a deer and had a body shop replace the front bumper, bumper cover, and fender. Shortly afterwards I found out every one of the fasteners in the bumper cover had been over-torqued, thereby shredding their plastic nuts.

    Moral of the story: None of these guys seem to care.

    Agree that a shop over-tightening the lug nuts is a safety issue. I rotate my own tires and am aware generally of the torque I'm applying since I know what my impact wrench is set at.
    It's also a PITA when you have to change a tire on the shoulder of a busy 4 lane road at night - in the rain - and the lug nuts were installed using the "let 'er rattle 'til she stops" method. At least in Pennsylvania vehicles have to be inspected annually. Part of that inspection is checking brake condition which involves removing all 4 wheels. After inspection I loosen the lug nuts then retighten to a reasonable torque setting. I can get the nuts off using the manufacturer provided wrench if need be.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    I use torque wrenches for many things, even putting lawnmower blades on. Different torque wrenches for different jobs, like that mower blade nut that's taken off with an impact driver, but tightened with an old beam type torque wrench so there is nothing to have to release spring tension on after use. The correct sized socket stays on it, and close at hand where I change the blades.

  9. #9
    “Yes” + apply anti-sieze paste to all threads as well as backs of wheels.

    Erik
    Ex-SCM and Felder rep

  10. #10
    I bought tires for my wife’s car a few years ago. New tires can absolutely transform the way a car drives. Well, they should. I accepted or expected that the wheels would be mounted and balanced correctly, but I rarely drove the car. After a couple of thousand miles I was out on the hwy and it just did not feel right. I took the car back in and asked to check the balance. All four wheels were off. I still do business with the shop but when I come in the owner tells me he will make sure it is correct. It all depends on the guy on the end of the wrench.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Alberta
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    2,152
    My local tire shop was where I figured out that tires should be installed and torqued to specs for that vehicle. I got a list of torque specs for all of my vehicles from them.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    Does anyone else use a torque wrench on lug nuts? It drives me crazy to see the help in the tire shop pounding repeatedly with the pneumatic impact wrench, no clue about what the wrench is set to and not even following the recommended tightening sequence.

    JKJ
    Irritates the ____ out of me also but your comment is equally at home with those who use battery powered drills and impact drivers for EVERYTHING.

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev Williams View Post
    "Don't worry," -- those two words are right up there with "Watch this-" ... Personally, I can't remember the last time I DIDN'T see a 'tire technician' using a torque wrench to finalize the nut torque. (but it was likely in the 1970's!)
    Don't forget “Hold my beer.” and “This is going to be really cool.”

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Which torque wrench is best:
    the long needle
    dial
    click

  15. #15
    I had a flat tire on the highway and couldn't get the lug nuts off. A cop stopped to check on me and he couldn't budge the lug nuts either. I had to wait for AAA to come with an impact wrench.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

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