Wow...

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I went to remove my front tire as my brakes were making a funny noise, I had to use a lot of elbow grease but I got the tire off. So when I went to put the tire back on, I took out my new torque wrench and set it for 85 ( spec for a ford focus ) and WOW, it was ever "light". I know that's what the car is spec'd at but I don't know if I can trust the spec. It seems really really easy. All the other tires are way over the 85 mark as it takes a good grunt to loosen the lug nuts. So is the tire place over torqueing the nuts on, on purpose? And they really don't know what they are doing? Or is it me? And should I adjust all the nuts to 85? Is this safe? It just feels too easy. And Yep I'm getting the torque wrench calibrated. And Yep I'm a newbie, but learning. Thanks
 
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One of the most time-honored traditions in the tire installation business is overtorquing the lug nuts. It's a tire installers way of saying how much they appreciate you and your car. Using a pneumatic impact gun to tighten your lug nuts to 200+ ft/lbs guarantees the wheels will be almost impossible to remove when you get a flat. That's a gift that keeps on giving, especially when you're stranded on the side of the road, at night, in the rain. If the mfr's spec says tighten lug nuts to 85 ft/lbs, that's your number. Overtightening can damage your wheels or hubs, even warp your brake rotors. Don't forget that when you torque your lug nuts, the twisting force of the nut actually stretches the lug, creating a clamping effect. Too much torque is as bad as too little (besides the wheel falling off the car thing when lugs are too loose). Lug nuts are like Goldilocks, they like it juuuust right.
 
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bretfraz: You forgot to mention that when you finally do get the lug nut off, it is usually still attached to the stud. Been there, done that. Two studs, one wheel, same time. A lot of times, the impact wrench/gun will cross thread the nut as well. Not a good thing. My Toyota spec's 76 ft/lbs and the shop uses an 80lb "socket". Not one problem, knock on wood.
 
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I always re-torque the lug nuts whenever I return home after picking up my Jeep from a shop when I know they needed to remove the wheels. I just had my tires rebalanced and rotated a couple of weeks ago. When I got home and tried removing the wheels, the grease monkey at the shop over-tightened them so much that I had to stand and jump on the lug nut wrench to remove them. Some wouldn't budge until I used a BFH to beat the bejesus out of the wrench. My Jeep specs them from 85-100 ft lbs, I torque them down to 100 ft. lbs.
 

Kestas

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This issue is the main reason I finally bought a torque wrench some time ago. Once I started using it, I was amazed at how little torque it took to fasten wheel bolts, compared with how tight I was torquing before!
 
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Yep the 80-100 ft lb range isn't much effort, but will hold your wheels on and not mess anything up. One of the best reasons for buying a 1/2" torque wrench - very amazing to see the difference between correct torque and "shop" torque.
 
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There are other factors. Next time, check the torque required to break loose the nuts you properly tightened a year ago or so.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Brandon: When I got home and tried removing the wheels, the grease monkey at the shop over-tightened them so much that I had to stand and jump on the lug nut wrench to remove them.
You're lucky you got away with just that. Last month I let a local tire shop remove and install my wheels (I usually take them in unattached to the vehicle) and they severely overtightened my nuts. The threads don't feel the same after that and one of the studs broke off due to being cross-threaded or stripped. I made them buy me a new stud and nut, which I installed myself despite their offer to do it, but I won't make the mistake of letting them touch anything more than my tires again!
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Zuke: Is this safe? It just feels too easy. And Yep I'm getting the torque wrench calibrated. And Yep I'm a newbie, but learning. Thanks
It's not only safe, it's much safer than over-tightening! You can even check the calibration yourself if you have any weights around. With the wrench parallel to level ground and the socket on a lug nut, place a known weight on the middle of the handle, measure the distance from socket center to middle of handle and see what torque setting it clicks at.
 
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85 is fine. My 90 Suzuki Swift was a SUPER UBER TIGHT 36 Ft Lbs of torque. Yup use a gun and break it. Suzuki Esteem 52.5 Ft Lbs original updated to 62.5 no problems with either. Worked at a tire shop that had to HAND TORQUE everything. That is just fine.
 
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most shops do indeed torque to the correct setting. at the shop i work at we tighten the lugnuts with a torque-stick and impact wrench, then manually check the torque with a torque-wrench afterwards, we then recommend coming back in 100 miles to have the lugnuts manually torqued to spec again.
 
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I recently discovered that even some automakers are overtorquing lugnuts from the factory. I did the first tire rotation on my brand new Mazda 3, and I had to jump up and down on the wrench to get the nuts off. A testament to the quality of their brake rotors, as none of them were warped...but that's just unnecessary to tighten them that much. 85 ft/lbs for allow wheels, 100 ft/lbs for steelies and you're good to go.
 
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JK I remember this being brought up in a thread last year about torquing lug nuts and then "rechecking" the torque. Say the torque stick is off (or the wrong one was used) and the torque got set to 200 ft lbs, and then the person who manually checks them checks them to ensure they are tight enough - and sure enough they meet the factory 85 ft lb spec. How do you ensure that they are not overtorqued without torquing them manually originally? Hope that made sense.
 
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How does that get removed shall a flat occur with 350ft/lbs of torque, huge 4 foot lug wrench in the trunk? Is the torque multiplier part of the wheel nut? I remember reading my 2002 Grand Am's torque reading, it was something like 125ft/lbs of torque and after reading forums I decided to try following that, set the wrench to 125ft/lbs of torque and ended up finding out my torque wrench read much higher than the actual torque because when I checked a few hundred miles later a few were loose enough to move by hand. Needless to say I tossed that wrench in the trash and I've been using a 4-sided lug wrench since. It might not be perfect torque but I know it's tighter than spec but not as tight as shops have tightened on the same car before.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Zuke: I went to remove my front tire as my brakes were making a funny noise, I had to use a lot of elbow grease but I got the tire off. So when I went to put the tire back on, I took out my new torque wrench and set it for 85 ( spec for a ford focus ) and WOW, it was ever "light". I know that's what the car is spec'd at but I don't know if I can trust the spec. It seems really really easy. All the other tires are way over the 85 mark as it takes a good grunt to loosen the lug nuts. So is the tire place over torqueing the nuts on, on purpose? And they really don't know what they are doing? Or is it me? And should I adjust all the nuts to 85? Is this safe? It just feels too easy. And Yep I'm getting the torque wrench calibrated. And Yep I'm a newbie, but learning. Thanks
Thats nothing aircraft tires at least the ones i work on are 70 in/lbs.
 
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I am surprised nobody mentioned a dab of antiseize and then torque to 80% of spec. Greatly reduced the chances of breaking a stud removing the nuts. Bought 2 new Kelly Navigator Golds yesterday. Took the wheels off myself and to the tire barn. I had hoped the old tires would make it to this fall, and maybe even another year. The one developed a bulge in the side wall. My wife drives the car 30 miles to work each day. Time for quick action.
 
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All of the manufacturers and ASE etc. etc. etc. recommend abosolutely NO antiseize on lugnust. Just clean and assemble dry. I think they are nuts but hey just me.
 

JHZR2

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My MB 300D uses lug bolts. They are not overtorqued, however after being tight and used for a while, they are SUPER HARD to get off. It is a dissimilar metals issue there, and Ive hurt my wrist trying to get them off! JMH
 
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