How to Properly Tighten Your Lug Nuts

Lug nuts are handled differently at almost every garage. If you've experienced a lug that is extremely hard to loosen they were likely tightened with an impact tool. There is a device called a torque stick which can make pneumatic tools much more effective at avoiding over-torque. In most every shop, I see impact tools used, while I often do not see torque sticks. Maybe this is just my luck, or possibly I've only seen a small sample of garages.

I take lug nut torque responsibility into my own hands, literally. When one torques a lug nut or bolt, they're effectively stretching the lug stud or bolt. This is why I recommend always using the lug torque specified in your vehicle's owner's manual and tightening lugs in a crisscross sequence. To gain a better understanding of how to properly tighten and loosen your vehicle's lug hardware, read "Wheel Lug Torquing."

To keep the lugs moving like new on my vehicle, I clean the corrosion off of them with a wire brush. Speaking of new wheels, always make sure to re-torque them after the first twenty miles of driving.

The most effective way to set your lug torque is with a torque wrench.

Tire Rack Adjustable WrenchThe Tire Rack Adjustable Torque Wrench is great for handling tire and wheel duties. I'm going on my tenth year with the tool which equals approximately $4 a year (wrench cost me around $40) to have the correct torque settings.

When the time comes to break lugs loose, use a breaker bar.Gorilla Extendable Power Wrench Personally, I carry the Gorilla Extendable Power Wrench in every one of my vehicles as it's easier to work with than stock lug wrenches for roadside tire changes.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013 by jessica

I purchased a mercedes benz E430 2002 with 19'Barbus Monoblock V wheels 19x8.5 in in front and 19x10.5 in rear and i have no lug nut key.. what is your suggestion? thank you...
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 by Alex @ Tirerack

Hi Jessica,

I would sugest checking with a local tire shop. Most any can help you. If you would like to discuss it further, email me:
Monday, October 28, 2013 by Jerry

? Do you lower vehicle and torque, or tighten to half spec, then lower and torque to full spec?
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 by kevin bingle

I purchased tires for my Lexus and have the tires on but have no way to tighten the lug nuts. What do you suggest?

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