Tightening Wheels with a Torque Wrench?

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1,904
Location
Bay Area, CA
I know that Costco always use a torque wrench to tighten lug nuts. Plus they have a second tech double check the torque on each nut. I think this is very important, especially with some of the lighter rims and sensitive rotors. What other tire shops follow that procedure?
 
Messages
824
Location
San Jose area, CA
I think using the torque wrench is a great thing. In nuclear operations, if one checks the torque with a second click of the torque wrench, that is an automatic failure of the operation. Double torquing under zero defect conditions injects some doubt as to the real torque values. For tires, it is probably an belt and suspenders move that probably doesn't hurt anything. Me, I just torque to the required numbers ONCE.
 
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12,385
Location
Northern CA
quote:
Originally posted by ruking77: Double torquing under zero defect conditions injects some doubt as to the real torque values. For tires, it is probably an belt and suspenders move that probably doesn't hurt anything. Me, I just torque to the required numbers ONCE.
It's completely harmless. The purpose it to make sure that all the nuts were torqued. Since static friction is higher than dynamic, the nuts won't move unless: 1. The first guy under torqued a nut or two. 2. Something settled for one of the first nuts when the later nuts were torqued. In either case, a second torquing of lug nuts is a good thing.
 
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894
Location
Sudbury, Ontario
When I went back to Wal-Mart after a 1000 km week on new tires/rims one wheel was loose. It took a quater turn on each of the 4 lugs while the other wheels all clicked right away. I asked the mechanic if finding a loose wheel was normal and he said no. He also said people rarely come back for a retorque at Walmart where he currently works or at Canadian Tire where he previously worked. The retorque visit is *mainly* a way out for the installer if a tire falls off. But, tires do fall off on a regular basis so checking each wheel twice before sending a car out plus a retorque is good business. Steve
 
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783
Location
Austin Texas
quote:
Originally posted by Winston: I know that Costco always use a torque wrench to tighten lug nuts. Plus they have a second tech double check the torque on each nut. I think this is very important, especially with some of the lighter rims and sensitive rotors.
I might note that there are cars that should/must be torqued down, and yet the typical shops will torque them down to the WRONG spec; which is not much better than just hitting it with an air gun! My Ferrari's (real, forged) magnesium wheels are speced to 72 lb-ft, yet every shop I have ever gone to (excepting my mechanic and the Ferrari dealer) wants to torque them down to 100 lb-ft--which is enough to warp the $1100 wheels! A torque wrench is a beautiful thing, but only when used correctly to apply the correct torques. It is totally worthless if you don't know what the correct spec happens to be..... I might also note that a torque wrench that has not been calibrated in the past year is no longer a torque wrench of any useful accuracy; especially the clicking kind.... I suspect that CostCo figured out that having a second tech check the torque was less expensive than a single lawsuit per year.....
 

nel

Messages
270
Location
Northern CA
I had a bad experience with my local Costco last year. The guy who torqued down my wheels did not follow procedure and must have used an impact wrench. I didn't notice anything wrong until my brakes started pulsing (the rotors on this car are susceptible to warping if the wheels are overtorqued). Even at the max. 200 lb-ft torque setting, I couldn't get my torque wrench to take off the lugs. I had to get out the breaker bar. Suffice to say that I'll be keeping my eye out and my torque wrench handy the next time I have my tires balanced and rotated at that Costco.
 

Winston

Thread starter
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1,904
Location
Bay Area, CA
Nel, Well, that is surprising, when I have my tires done at Costco I always see the guys going around with the torque wrench and the guys checking the torque. Did you see him use an impact wrench? As for as the torque values, they have a poster on the wall that lists torque values for each car mfg. There is a poster behind the cash register as well as a couple in the shop area. The next time I visit I will check to see what it says for Farrari. Honestly, I had never seen a tire shop use a torque wrench until I went to Costco. Plus they have the best prices, best warranty and free rotation and balance. I have not gone anywhere else since. I was just wondering if any other tire shops have started using torque wrenches.
 

nel

Messages
270
Location
Northern CA
Winston, I think it was just a bad tech or a bad day for that tech. Either way, I know that all four wheels were overtorqued by a huge amount. It should have been 75 lb-ft but it was over 200! No, I did not stand outside the stall to see him doing the work. A torque wrench is fine for determining whether something is torqued up to (or beyond) a set level. In other words, if I checked someone's work with a torque wrench set at 75 lb-ft and the torque wrench clicks, it simply means that the nut or bolt has been tightened to at least 75 lb-ft. Of course, it could have been tightened to 150 lb-ft, and I wouldn't know unless I used a torque wrench to try to loosen the nut (which Costco doesn't do). When I brought my wife's car in, I made sure to check right afterwards. It was torqued properly. BTW, I've been using the Costco in Mountain View.
 
Messages
824
Location
San Jose area, CA
quote:
Originally posted by XS650:
quote:
Originally posted by ruking77: Double torquing under zero defect conditions injects some doubt as to the real torque values. For tires, it is probably an belt and suspenders move that probably doesn't hurt anything. Me, I just torque to the required numbers ONCE.
It's completely harmless. The purpose it to make sure that all the nuts were torqued. Since static friction is higher than dynamic, the nuts won't move unless: 1. The first guy under torqued a nut or two. 2. Something settled for one of the first nuts when the later nuts were torqued. In either case, a second torquing of lug nuts is a good thing.

For me it borders on obsessive compulsive behavior. So if you have 6 nuts x 4= 24 , if you double click it it becomes 48. [Smile]
 
Messages
824
Location
San Jose area, CA
quote:
Originally posted by Winston: Nel, Well, that is surprising, when I have my tires done at Costco I always see the guys going around with the torque wrench and the guys checking the torque. Did you see him use an impact wrench? As for as the torque values, they have a poster on the wall that lists torque values for each car mfg. There is a poster behind the cash register as well as a couple in the shop area. The next time I visit I will check to see what it says for Farrari. Honestly, I had never seen a tire shop use a torque wrench until I went to Costco. Plus they have the best prices, best warranty and free rotation and balance. I have not gone anywhere else since. I was just wondering if any other tire shops have started using torque wrenches.
Among other reasons, due to the fact that rotors are so delicate, I am at the stage anymore that I only go to shops that use torque wrenches. Heck I would bring my own and torque them myself if needs be.
 

nel

Messages
270
Location
Northern CA
winston, Yep. Real bummer. I only had about 5K miles on those new rotors for my family's 525iT station wagon. Oh well, I have new rotors in the garage that I'll install later this year. I usually go to Costco to have the tires rotated and balanced once a year--I'll just have to check their work from now on.
 
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1,680
Location
CT
the real question is, how many times has the tq wrench been dropped [Eek!] or when was the last time they were ever checked for accuracy?
 

Winston

Thread starter
Messages
1,904
Location
Bay Area, CA
Nel, You are very right about the overtorqing problem. Even with their backcheck procedure, there could be some jerk tech that just wrenches down every nut. No-one would ever know the difference. Too bad it is so tough to DIY new tires.
 
Messages
96
Location
Washington
quote:
Originally posted by 1 FMF: the real question is, how many times has the tq wrench been dropped [Eek!] or when was the last time they were ever checked for accuracy?
The big tire shop around here is Les Schwab,they are a NW company with something like 500 shops in the NW. I had some tires installed at LS recently and was impressed that they started using a torque wrench instead of an impact gun. I went to pull the rear tires off my truck to replace the brakes,and found I couldn't get the lugnuts off by hand. My truck is a HD 2500 series and takes 140lb-ft of Torque on the lugnuts. I ended up standing on a 1/2" breaker bar to get the lugnuts loose and this only worked when I "bounced" up and down on the bar. I weigh about 240lbs so I can imagine what the actual torque on those lugnuts was. I called LS and spoke to a manager. He informed me that the techs were unfamiliar with the proper use of torque wrenchs so they were getting dropped or used as hammers every once in awhile. He appoligized and assured me that the techs have since been trained in the proper use of a torque wrench.
 
Messages
659
Location
Minnesota
You use a torque wrench to take them off? I use a 4-sided tire iron for pulling them off. ...And putting them on, I've never had one that has ever come loose or been too tight to get off with standard effort. Never had rotor problems(warpage/pulsing brakes). It isn't too hard to get the torque even. I used to use a torque wrench but either the spec wasn't good enough or the wrench sucked because I had 3 loose lug nuts(different tires) after a week of driving. I do it all by feel now.
 
Messages
139
Location
Bremerton, WA
i love torque sticks, when i have airtools. I wouldn't use them on very expensive rims, but assuming you have the right one (i.e. 80ft/lbs) they're great for cheaper wheels, and they save a ton of time. They don't seem to suffer the way that torque wrenches do either, and you can always get them replaced for free from your snap on guy. [Big Grin] The thing most people don't realize is that if you don't get your torque wrench re-calibrated fairly frequently, it's basically useless. (and worse if you leave it wound up)
 
Messages
226
Location
Virginia
My 2 cents: Costco guy installed the lug nuts with an impact wrench and then the other guy came behind him to check with the torque wrench but of course at that point the nuts were overtightend. Wal-Mart guy lost his torque wrench so just used the impact wrench and slightly undertightened so I went behind him and torqued them myself. I would rather not have then overtightened.
 
Messages
4,378
Location
Camas, WA
People have different levels of training. The last time that Costco rotated the tires on the truck they used an impact with a level below the torque spec to mount the tires, and then they used a torque wrench to get the final torque.
 
Messages
418
Location
OR
I've also noticed that Costco performs the torque with the car on the rack instead of on the ground. They jam a steel wedge between the tire and the floor and then torque it. I guess it's bad practice to tighten a wheel under full load of the vehicles weight.
 
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