How to Torque Lug Nuts Properly

Overtightening can cause major problems

A torque wrench is a necessity for changing a tire. Improperly torqued lug nuts can cause expensive brake problems and also break wheel studs.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

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Turn on lug nuts, then tighten

Did you know there’s a right and a wrong way to tighten lug nuts? Most people think “tighter is better.” Not true. Overtightening lug nuts is the No. 1 cause of brake rotor lateral runout (warp). Warped rotors cause pedal pulsation and can increase your stopping distance. Overtightening is also a great way to break wheel studs. The stud itself doesn’t cost much, but the labor to press out the old stud and insert the new one can be significant.

Spin the lug nuts on by hand. Never coat the stud with grease, oil or antiseize. Lower the jack only enough to bring the tire into contact with the road. Tighten each nut to one-half of the specified torque. Then lower the vehicle completely and tighten each nut to full torque.