CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Broken Wheel Bolt

How do you get a broken wheel bolt off the front right wheel. I had a flat and taking the tire off the bolt broke on my wrench. The year of the car is '99.

If it broke it should have fallen off, right? Do you mean how to replace the stud?

Does Suzuki use lug bolts? I thought only German cars, like VW’s, use them. Suzuki usually uses lug nuts and studs. The broken stud can be pressed out, a new one pressed in, and a replacement lug nut completes the repair. Done by tire shops all the time. Hell, I’ve done it in my driveway. No big deal at all.

The lugs are pulled through the drum or rotor by the lug nut. A shorn lug can be punched out of the wheel pretty easily and replaced: you need a heavy hammer and a punch (essentially a heavy steel or iron rod that fits the lug and can transfer the energy from the hammer strike to the lug efficiently enough to dislodge the broken lug).
Once you have punched out the shorn lug, you can replace it from the rear of the drum or rotor (you’ll need to fit the star-pattern into the drum or rotor enough to let the lug-nut catch the bolt and pull it into the drum or rotor fully).
This is pretty easy to do. If you are unsure about what to do, ask your auto-parts store for help.

Any mechanic can fix this. It’s not a big deal, and you don’t have to do it yourself.

Broken wheel studs are not uncommon. Don’t worry about it. Take it to your mechanic and let him or her replace the stud.

On some cars the bolt would not have enough room to come out unless you loosen the axle not a bit and give it some lax. The axle nut is what might be difficult to get off with the usual backyard tools.

On some cars, changing a broken lug bolt is easy. You just pound it out with a hammer and replace it, seating the new one by tightening it with the nut and then removing the nut to remount the wheel. Some vehicles, however, require removal of parts to get clearance to remove the bolt. I wish I knew which one your car is so I could be more helpful, but this is probably a case of “if you have to ask, you might be better off letting a professional do the job.”