Properly tightening lug nuts is a crucial maintenance task for any vehicle owner. When lug nuts are not tightened correctly, it can lead to wheel wobbling or even detachment, which can be life-threatening. Therefore, it is essential to perform this task correctly to ensure maximum safety on the road. This step-by-step guide by Velgen Wheels outlines how to tighten lug nuts properly.
How To Properly Torque Lug Nuts
Step 1: Park the Vehicle
Before you loosen your lug nuts, ensure the car is securely parked on level ground with the parking brake engaged and the transmission in Park (or first gear if it is a manual transmission). It is also recommended to use wheel chocks to prevent any movement.
Step 2: Loosen the Lug Nuts
Next, use a lug wrench or breaker bar with an appropriate socket, and loosen each lug nut a few turns, starting with the top one and moving to the opposite side (star pattern). This step breaks the torque and makes it easier to remove the wheel. Be sure not to completely remove your lug nuts during this stage.
Step 3: Lift the Vehicle
Using a jack, lift the vehicle until the wheel is off the ground. Place the jack under the jacking point and follow the vehicle owner's manual instructions on where to place it for safety.
Step 4: Remove the Wheel
Once the car is lifted, remove the lug nuts and carefully remove the wheel. We recommend placing the removed wheel under the car to prevent it from falling if the jack fails.
Step 5: Clean the Lug Nut Area
Use a wire brush or a clean cloth to remove any rust, dirt, or other debris from the lug nut areas on the wheel hub and the wheel itself. This step ensures a proper fit and prevents corrosion.
Step 6: Install the Wheel
If you have hub centric rings, you will need to install them now. Carefully align the wheel with its bolt holes, then slide it onto the wheel hub. Push the wheel as far back as possible to ensure a tight fit.
Step 7: Hand-tighten the Lug Nuts
Screw all the lug nuts into their thread by hand, starting with the top one and alternating across to the opposite side. This step is important to make sure the lug nuts start properly before tightening them with a wrench.
Step 8: Tighten the Lug Nuts in a Star Pattern
Using a torque wrench, tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern; for instance, if there are five lug nuts, start at the top and tighten to the bottom right, then the top-left and tighten to the bottom, and so on, until all the lug nuts are uniformly torqued.
Step 9: Check the Torque Settings
Consult the vehicle owner's manual for the recommended torque settings for the lug nuts. Use the torque wrench to tighten each lug nut to the manufacturer's recommended torque setting. This step ensures the lug nuts are sufficiently secure.
Step 10: Lower the Vehicle
Once you tightened all the lug nuts, lower the car using the jack, and remove the jack stand. Tighten the lug nuts once again in the same star pattern, following the manufacturer's torque settings for the final tightening. We recommend retorquing the lug nuts after driving about 50-100 miles to ensure they have not come loose.
That’s it! By following these steps, you can ensure that you have properly tightened the lug nuts on your car's wheels, giving you peace of mind knowing that your wheels are safe and secure.