Lug Nut (re)Torque

Wheel and tire information and upgrade discussions
Post Reply
User avatar
Caretaker
Posts: 1912
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 4:11 am

Lug Nut (re)Torque

Post by Caretaker » Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:51 pm

I just wrote Pat Goss a note. Here is his reply back to me:

Me: Whenever I go to get my tires rotated, I always receive a piece of paper stating I should return to have the torque of the wheel nuts checked after 25 miles. Is this really necessary? Can the wheel nuts really loosen up significantly on their own?

PG: Thanks for watching! I presume you’re dealing with a dealership or chain store and at some time they had a wheel come off a customer’s car. Once that happens or they hear about it at another shop legal steps in and has the shop institute this notification. Other than a few (now) quite old cars with a specific type of alloy wheel this rarely happens. But due to the nature of dealership and chain store techs (often very low skill levels) wheels may not be properly tightened from the beginning, so they loosen as you drive. But again, it is mostly a way to prevent a customer from having grounds for a lawsuit, “Your Honor we gave them a clearly worded notice and they didn’t follow it so it’s their fault not ours.” Their fault even though we let them leave our shop with improperly tightened wheels.
Live it up: There will be plenty of time to be old when you die.
* '09 Vibe: 1.8 liter *
* '10 Hyundai Elantra Touring *
* '07 Honda Fit Sport *
On Deck: '22 Hyundai Tucson/'22 Subaru Crosstrek/'22 Corolla Cross

andrewclaus
Posts: 283
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:38 pm
Location: Golden, CO

Re: Lug Nut (re)Torque

Post by andrewclaus » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:29 pm

In the infrequent event a tire shop touches my cars nuts, I always re-torque them when I get home. I haven't seen a problem for 20 years or so, but back then the one I went to (Sears) would way over-torque. I had a little econocar and one would often break when I loosened it. I wanted to fix it at home rather than on the road.

zbyers
Posts: 1429
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:12 pm
Location: Sheffield, Pennsylvania

Re: Lug Nut (re)Torque

Post by zbyers » Tue Sep 29, 2020 2:50 am

It is absolutely just a liability thing. However, like andrewclaus said, I have always checked mine when I returned home.
'74 Thing, '79 El Camino, '83 VW Vanagon DoKa '91 Vanagon,
'04 & '06 CRV, (2) '03 Base, '04 GT, '06 AWD, '07 Base, '17 Frontier CCLB

Byerscrew Garage, GenVibe Facebook, How-To Index
Everything You Need To Know About the Pontiac Vibe

User avatar
joatmon
Posts: 9449
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2003 5:19 am
Location: SMC MD

Re: Lug Nut (re)Torque

Post by joatmon » Sat Oct 03, 2020 7:05 pm

I confess to having never done this, but if its a liability thing, I guess I ought to in order to prevent me from suing myself. So, stupid question, in retorquing, do you loosen and retorque one nut at a time or do you just ensure they are still at least as tight as they are supposed to be?

andrewclaus
Posts: 283
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:38 pm
Location: Golden, CO

Re: Lug Nut (re)Torque

Post by andrewclaus » Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:56 am

I just make sure they're wrench tight with a regular ratchet, or the lug wrench from the spare compartment. Actually I triple check, once more after I clean up and am closing up shop. At that point it may be one nut per wheel.

Maybe you can tell I made that mistake once, a lifetime ago, and never want to do that again.

User avatar
Caretaker
Posts: 1912
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 4:11 am

Re: Lug Nut (re)Torque

Post by Caretaker » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:00 am

I bought a torque wrench at Walmart a long time ago and have always checked my cars after a tire rotation and before heading on a long trip. Obviously you can't just "torque forward" because if the lug is severely over torqued (which is what you are trying to avoid), you'll just get an instant double click. So logically you have to back the nut off and retorque each one to your owner's manual setting. Over the years, I have found some that were over torqued and occasionally a few that were pretty loose, all determined by how easy or hard it is to back the lug nuts off. I'll never know which ones were spot on. Also, by checking each one myself, I can determine if the shop cross threaded a stud (which they do all the time). I have had studs replaced on all of my cars over the years due to a "mechanic's" negligence. I certainly would rather find out about the cross threading in my driveway instead of on the side of the highway while changing a flat tire.
Live it up: There will be plenty of time to be old when you die.
* '09 Vibe: 1.8 liter *
* '10 Hyundai Elantra Touring *
* '07 Honda Fit Sport *
On Deck: '22 Hyundai Tucson/'22 Subaru Crosstrek/'22 Corolla Cross

Mark
Posts: 462
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:26 am
Location: Cheyenne, WY

Re: Lug Nut (re)Torque

Post by Mark » Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:06 am

The guys at my tire shop seem to really hate the Toyota 76 ft/lb torque setting, one even told me they thought 100 should be the minimum on all wheels. They swear they hand torque to 80 on my cars but I always find one nut per wheel that's at least 100. Never have had a loose or cross threaded one, knock on wood.

I checked on my daughter's Frosty a couple years ago, and one nut on the right rear I couldn't bust loose with my cordless impact. I grabbed a 1/2" drive 20" breaker bar and pulled until the rear tire spun sitting on the floor. So I drove back to the shop, got the little tire tool out of the back, and had the shop manager try to break it loose. He couldn't do it so he called all three of the tire guys up and had them try, two failed and the third one finally got it, but he turned the wrench over and used his foot. How is my daughter, who is maybe 100#s, going to change that tire on the side of the road?
'04 Base Frosty, '08 Base Stealth, '05 Base Satellite

jolt
Posts: 798
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:07 am
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota

Re: Lug Nut (re)Torque

Post by jolt » Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:02 am

Sad to say but most tire shops just run the wheel nuts on with a air impact gun. They do not check torque, and if they do, it is just to check that the torque is up to the minimum. They do not know if the nut / stud are over torqued. This is a great way to damage the nut and stud. It can also warp the brake rotor and/or hub if not tightened evenly or in stages like 30 ft-lb, then 50 ft-lb, and finally 76 ft-lb.

Post Reply