Who can say they have never experienced a busted tire?
Loosening those lug nuts on your car can get really tricky without the proper torque wrench.
Torque wrenches come in 4 different sizes, and it’s essential to know which size to get for lug nuts as. Without a proper torque wrench, you won’t be able to fix the issues correctly.
It’s not safe to use regular wrenches on lug nuts because there’s a risk of over-tightening them, which could lead to serious accidents.
Here we’ll tell you how to use torque wrenches on lug nuts and which is the perfect size for them.
The Proper Method of Using Torque Wrenches on Lug Nuts
Here, we’ll tell you the proper way of using a torque wrench on lug nuts.
Step 1: Make sure the torque wrench is calibrated
You can get a calibrated wrench such as digital torque wrench, which will be the safest and easiest choice for you, but if you already own one, make sure it’s calibrated before you start your work. Torque wrenches should be recalibrated on a regular basis.
Step 2: Set the torque according to the lug nuts
Next, you need to fix the proper torque setting for your specific bolts and vehicles. This will vary depending on the model, size, rim, design of your vehicle. You can usually find out the torque from the user’s manual or from a quick Google search.
Step 3: Inspect the bolts
If the bolts are damaged or broken, then you can’t torque them properly, so always check before you torque. Check to see if there are any signs of wear or tear or damage in the lug nuts.
Step 4: Turn the bolts by hands
If you’re putting in the bolts or tightening nuts, first place them on the screw with your hands and turn them clockwise by your fingers until the threading of the bolt catches that of the screw.
You should never use a torque wrench for making the threads of nut and screw catch because these wrenches are very powerful, and if they are not lined up correctly, it could end up destroying both the threads.
Step 5: Put in the socket
Select a socket that is the same size as the head of the bolts or nut lug. Attach the socket to the head of your torque wrench.
Step 6: Tighten with the torque wrench
Fit the torque wrench socket over the bolt and turn clockwise to tighten the bolt or nut. Do this until you hear a click, or it stops turning. This means that you’ve reached the optimum torque level. Any more turns might damage the bolt or nut or cause safety issues when the vehicle or motor is in operation.
The ideal way is to go in a star pattern as you tighten the nuts. This will make sure that the load of the wheel mounting surface is distributed evenly.
Step 7: Loosening lug nuts
If you want to loosen the lugs, then all you need to do turn the torque wrench counterclockwise. Once it’s loose enough, you can remove it but turning it with your fingers.
What Size Torque Wrench for Lug Nuts?
Torque wrenches are used in various industries in an economy, but when we’re talking about lug nuts, which are fasteners for different types of vehicles, we can find mainly 4 sizes for these wrenches.
These sizes are more or less proportionate to torque ranges, which are measured in newton-meters for metric fasteners and foot-pounds for SAE fasteners. Sometimes for small wrenches, inch-pounds are also used.
Based on the type of vehicle that you have, you have to choose the appropriate torque wrench for lug nuts.
This is the smallest size torque wrench used for very small bolts. An appropriate range in which you can use this drive is 50-250 inch lbs, which is around 4-21 ft lbs.
This torque wrench is mostly suitable for small vehicles like motorcycles or mopeds. You can also use this wrench for other small fasteners in your vehicle like the valve covers.
The second most common torque wrench size, this can be used to do major repairs in small trucks or motorcycles. A suitable range of this torque wrench is 15-75 foot-pounds. For most socket sets, this is the most common drive, and it is often used in engine work like tightening spark plugs.
This is the most common size of a torque wrench. You can use this drive in suspension, mounts of transmission because this size is used for larger sized nuts and bolts. If you get this one, you can probably work on almost all kinds of automotive work.
The range that is most suitable for this drive is 30-250 foot-pounds. When you’ve got a flat tire in the middle of the road, you’ll use this one for mounting the car, loosening the lugs, and then tightening them on the wheels.
This is a heavy-duty torque wrench and is used mainly in construction vehicles or maybe a semi-trailer truck. These are also employed in center-lug wheels in special cars. Chances are you won’t need a torque wrench this big unless you’re specialized in heavy-duty structural repairs.
Torque wrench ranges differ from brands and models, but these are the middle and the most suitable ranges where the wrench gives optimum performance.
There you have it! Now you know the torque wrench you’ll need for lug nuts. The size of the drive of torque wrenches will depend on the kind of automotive work you’re into. If you’re a car or motorcycle owner in need to easy repairs and fixes from time to time, you can make do with a 3/8″ or a more useful 1/2″ drive.
However, if you’re a professional in the automotive industry and work on rebuilding engines and structural repairs, then choose one from among the heavy-duty ones.