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After much struggling re jack points and pumping or screwing with the included jack or the smallish floor jack that I have I discovered that someone has supertorqued the nuts. I feel like im going to bend the included wrench, break my slightly longer torque wrench, or strip the nut trying to break / spin the nut. I have an air impact, but im always hesitant to use it for my seasonal swaps (these wheels have been in place no more than 6 months). I do not have a proper breaker bar. Question is, am I being too cautious; should I just jam my impact on it and let er rip? - is there any risk of stripping the nut so long as I'm using a correctly sized socket - should I try to spray the lug with wd40 (thinking like a farmer here).? Nuts nor lugs haven't been mistreated to my knowledge; although the shop it was last at probably overtightened. Im just really nervous that Ill strip the nut and then; darn, I don't know how even a shop would get the nut off!? (other than some variation of a nightmare I had shortly after getting the van where I watched a shop strip the lock nut and proceeded to "sleeve" the nut with an old socket by taking a sledge hammer to it (yeah, like my van has ever held an alignment properly since). Such a simple thing but the wheels (and brakes) on this van have been a nightmare like on no other vehicle i've ever had; heaven help anyone who tries to use the spare - even if they manage to get the spare out which is an exercise Ive decided Ill never bother attempting. !

So, the question is (and man id love to hear that im stupid and to just . . . ) how do I most safely break these nuts free, and what size socket should I use - they seem amazingly shallow even when Im using the tools supplied with the van's kit (and of course nothing is stamped with a dimension!!!) - frustration here, burned most my day doing what should have been way less than an hour to swap over 4 wheels!
 

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My advise, if you want to take it is, forget about WD-40 or similar, it can get in between the nut and the SS sleve loosing it.

Use a six point socket, not a 12 point socket.

Do not use an impact wrench, if you want to reuse your nuts, at least not until the nut is loose.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks, that's helpful and appreciated - Ive got a solid 6 point, do you know what size a 2012 would be (I think this is a stupid question)? They wouldn't be metric or something would they?

Is there a "shop trick"; would they just use a big breaker bar?, or spray it with Nito? or take a torch to it? or something?
 

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Breaker bar comes in handy, regardless. Any DIYer should have one or extension bars to a 1/2" drive set. Impact wrenches are hard on the ss caps on the nuts. 3/4" socket should work.

They are likely over torqued to 120 ft. lbs.

Impact wrenches should never be used on lug nuts because they loosen the ss caps over time.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Breaker bar comes in handy, regardless. Any DIYer should have one or extension bars to a 1/2" drive set. Impact wrenches are hard on the ss caps on the nuts. 3/4" socket should work.

They are likely over torqued to 120 ft. lbs.

Impact wrenches should never be used on lug nuts because they loosen the ss caps over time.
120 makes sense by feel (not sure theres anything that qualifies me to say that, especially since I haven't broken one free yet; but theres something about the flex in the system that says that's where it will spin; Im pretty adept at torqueing my truck nuts to 90 plus or minus by feel); Im not a mechanic but im guessing that you state 120 for some reason; is it where snap-on sets there standards impact to or where typical shops set all their tools to or something like that? - ill definitely be shopping for some breakers or extension bars; my back just don't do much more than 95lbs with a standard tool lol!
 

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120 makes sense by feel (not sure theres anything that qualifies me to say that, especially since I haven't broken one free yet; but theres something about the flex in the system that says that's where it will spin; Im pretty adept at torqueing my truck nuts to 90 plus or minus by feel); Im not a mechanic but im guessing that you state 120 for some reason; is it where snap-on sets there standards impact to or where typical shops set all their tools to or something like that? - ill definitely be shopping for some breakers or extension bars; my back just don't do much more than 95lbs with a standard tool lol!
Some wheel installation charts say 120 ft. lb., don't ask me why. :) They can take it but sure don't loosen up easily. Also, it's an extra cushion for not loosening up, as most people don't get the nut torque checked after initial installation. At the other extreme, use of torque sticks usually means under-tightening.

With impact wrenches, who knows what torque is applied?

Here's what Tire Rack says about wheel installation:
To remove your old wheels and tires, break the lug nuts or bolts loose before raising the vehicle. We recommend using hand tools exclusively (Photo A). When removing wheel hardware, a power wrench may be used with extreme care, but should not be used to torque lug nut hardware. It is best to carefully remove lugs with a four-way wrench or a socket on a breaker bar. An impact wrench may damage the lugs or the studs.
An impact wrench, pounding away on an overly tightened nut, will damage the stainless steel cover on the nut.
 

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I put on 3 sets of winter wheels last fall, all torqued to the specified 100 ft-lb. On one of the cars, taking them off recently was a real pain, while the other two were easy. Go figure. A 4 side lug wrench helps a lot. Also crack them loose before jacking, if you aren't already.
 

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I put on 3 sets of winter wheels last fall, all torqued to the specified 100 ft-lb. On one of the cars, taking them off recently was a real pain, while the other two were easy. Go figure. A 4 side lug wrench helps a lot. Also crack them loose before jacking, if you aren't already.
They were lubricated, so the resultant tightening increased.
 

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Mine are torqued to 100 ft lbs. I do my own rotation once a year which equals to around 6500 miles. When tires are ready for replacing I have service writer put no impact and torque at 100 ft lbs. I have walked away from tire stores that refused. Once I couldn't find one so I removed all my wheels and brought them in to be mounted and balanced which they don't like.
 

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When I get new tires, I take the wheels off my car (2005 GTO) and bring them to the store with the new tires. I don't let anybody work on it unless absolutely necessary (like replacing the steering rack that blew out a seal). I put a little smudge of grease on the hub mounting surface every time I rotate the tires or work on the brakes. Never had a problem getting a wheel off.
 

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They were lubricated, so the resultant tightening increased.
No, not lubricated. Lug nuts should never, ever be lubricated.

I should have also said all the cars have closed head lug nuts. Open head nuts (where the stud end threads are exposed) are murder to get loose after a winter of salt exposure, even when properly torqued.
 

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No, not lubricated. Lug nuts should never, ever be lubricated.

I should have also said all the cars have closed head lug nuts. Open head nuts (where the stud end threads are exposed) are murder to get loose after a winter of salt exposure, even when properly torqued.

Here's an anti-seize nut.. :)

Something more technical:

Then, there's Eric:

There was a time that it was okay to use a light lubricant on the lug nut threads, something like say Rust Check, BUT not any on the seats. I can't find that anymore.
 

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Here's an anti-seize nut.. :)

Something more technical:

Then, there's Eric:

There was a time that it was okay to use a light lubricant on the lug nut threads, something like say Rust Check, BUT not any on the seats. I can't find that anymore.
I watched all of the first, but not all of the second.

The first guy has a somewhat right answer to the wrong question. The second one is exactly right. Lube on the threads impairs the ability to properly torque the nuts.

In engineering school, I sat through a 2 hour lecture on why not to use lube, starting from first principles.

The first guy says some things that are pure BS, like tightening the nuts in the wrong sequence can warp the rotors. They only way a rotor can get warped that way (actually bent) is if it is not properly seated on the hub due to an obstruction, and if by chance that happens, the tightening order won't make one bit of difference.
 

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This guy has a more middle of the road opinion:

If you do apply lubricant, make sure to do so carefully and only to the threads. Never allow any lubricant on the mating surfaces of the nut or the lughole of the wheel.
Here's something interesting from that article:
Much of the “stickiness” brought about by proper torque comes not from the threads but from the contact between mating surfaces. Even a thin film of oil between those surfaces can create a hydraulic barrier, preventing proper torque from being applied. This can also make it easier for the nut to work itself loose.
That applies between the wheel and the hub. I have heard this before regarding heavy coatings, like chassis lubricant, being used there, causing wheels to loosen up.. A spray of Rust Check or Fluid Film, something light and corrosion inhibiting, is all mine get. I suppose the corrosion inhibitors get crushed during the process. Oh my, can't win. :)
 

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There was a time that it was okay to use a light lubricant on the lug nut threads, something like say Rust Check, BUT not any on the seats. I can't find that anymore.

It was never ok, but many did it anyways.

Any lubricant you add to the threads, do changes considerably the pressure applied berween the wheel and rotor (or whatever the wheel is in contact with).


Q: I've found a simple solution for tight lug nuts that I've been using for over 30 years.

Whenever I get a car, I remove the lug nuts and wheel, brush the threads with a wire brush and lightly coat the threads with anti-seize compound. I also put some compound on the wheel rim where it makes contact with the hub or drum. It just takes a little bit of anti-seize compound. It keeps parts from rusting together. It allows an accurate torque to be applied when tightening the lug nuts. It's impossible to apply proper torque with rusted threads.


I have never had a lug nut come loose and have never had a problem getting them off when needed.

S.N., Minneapolis

A: You make some great suggestions, with which I agree — mostly. You mention that proper torque is important. I agree and that means using a torque wrench. But experts tell us not to use any lubricant, including anti-seize compound, on wheel studs or nuts.

The tech folks at Tire Rack state: "Torque specifications are for dry threads only. The fastener threads should be free of oil, dirt, grit, corrosion, etc. It is important NOT to lubricate hardware threads or seats. The friction at which torque is measured against should come from the hardware seats. Lubricating hardware threads and seats alters the friction generated which will result in inaccurate torque readings and/or over-torqueing of the hardware."

Source:
 
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