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Do you rotate the lug nuts when rotating the tires?

OK, either my dealer is trying to pull one over on me, or I’m an idiot, and it’s probably the latter.

Bought a new Kia Sorento in summer 2012, it came with the optional wheel locks. Summer 2013, had a flat, in the process of putting on the spare and replacing the new tire, I just didn’t hassle with putting the wheel lock back on. So I have 3 wheels with a wheel lock, and 1 wheel without a wheel lock.

2 weeks ago I had the car in for an oil change an tire rotation. After paying for the rotation, I observed that the wheel without a lock was still in the same position (left rear). So I called the dealer today, and made a huge stink about how he had charged me for not doing the work, and blah blah blah. The dealer agreed to get me in tonight to do the tire rotation that had not been done two weeks ago. An hour later, that same wheel appears to STILL be in the same position (left rear).

Then I made a HUGE stink, pointing out that I could tell from the lug nut pattern that the wheel had not moved. The service advisor said “Well I rotated the tires myself”. I pointed out that that wheel without the wheel lock (thus making it unique) was still in the same position on the left rear. The service advisor said “Well, no, I just put them on the rack when I rotated the tires.” But at my old mechanic, before I started to take my in-warranty car to the dealer, the dealer kept the lug nuts with the same tire…so my unique wheel would have moved to front right.

Is it common practice to keep the lug nuts on the same wheels, simply moving the tires when rotating the tires? If yes, then I just made a tool of myself to the dealer. If not, then my dealer is being shady.

My personal experience is to use the same lug nuts on the same wheel. Basic procedure set them off to the side, reuse them. I think rotating lug nuts would not be expected.

If it makes a difference at all, you should replace the lug nut or nuts that differ. I switch lug nuts with sets of wheels as one set is steel and the other is alloy. Anyone who said they matter otherwise, would get a strange look ! I think that it isn’t a bad idea to regularly inspect the lug nuts and their threads though, and replace them as an entire set when threads are suspect.


Dude, I hate to tell you, but you made a fool of yourself

The mechanics I know (myself included) do NOT keep the lug nuts with the rim, but keep them in their respective corners (LF, RF, RR, LR, you get the idea)

This is how I rotate tires, when I’ve got a car on the rack. I remove the lug nuts and put them on the arms of the rack. Then I rotate the tires to their new home.

Example. I’ve got the car racked. I remove the LR lugnuts and put them on the LR arm of the rack. Now I roll that tire to the LF position and use the lugnuts that I’ve already put on the LF arm of the rack. Same thing for the other side.

Your service advisor clearly rotates tires the way I do. As is common practice

And you are questioning his honesty

BTW . . . your old mechanic, the one that keeps the lug nuts with the wheels . . . he’s making things more complicated than they need to be

I believe you should apologize to your service advisor

I suggest giving a him a big box of fresh Crispy Cremes, which he can distribute among the mechanics, after picking the best one for himself. I’m not kidding

When I rotate my Corolla’s tires, I keep the lug nuts with the same wheel hub myself, not following the tire. That’s just the way I do it. But there’s not particular reason to do it that way. I expect your mechanic is telling the truth. That is just the way this shop or this mechanic does it. Before casting blame, next time maybe mark up the nuts or the wheels in some non-obvious way, so you can tell if they’ve been removed and put in a new position or not.

This may also have to do with the wheel lock function. Maybe there is a reason to do it that way with wheel locks involved.

My 1948 Dodge had left hand threads on the studs on the left side and right hand threads on the studs on the right side. The owner’s manual showed a pattern where the spare went to the right rear, the right rear went to the left front, the left front went to the left rear, the left rear went to the right front and the right front became the spare. With left hand threads on one side and right hand on the other, I think you would want to leave the lug nuts with their respective wheel hubs.

I’ve never ever heard of anyone ever rotating the lug-nuts. Why on earth would you do so??

Lug nuts stay where they came from. The lug nuts that were at the left rear of the car will always be at the left rear of the car. Why anyone would ever move them around when rotating is beyond me.

BTW, if I read your story correctly, you now have your tires back where they were located on the car before your first rotation.

I think we are being trolled. The scenario is ridiculous.

@Rod Knox, I thought of that for a moment but then thought that someone couldn’t make up something this ridiculous if they tried. It has to be real.

It really is ridiculous, @asemaster. Over the top ridiculous.

I can see a few of my friends asking similar questions, I error on a serious question getting undeserved flack.

I never heard of this either so congratulations, your tires are now back in the same position they were when you started after two rotations. Now you’re just going to have to do it yourself to save face.

I don’t expect this was a troll post. People all the time think they are being scammed – and in some cases they are right. But I don’t think so in this case. I mean, why would a shop scam someone on something as simple as rotating the tires? I think this is just the way that shop or that mechanic does it for some reason.

I have dealt with obsessive people but none have asked that there lug nuts stay with each wheel.

I wouldn’t allow a regular customers vehicle to leave with a missing front lug nut. If they will not buy a lug nut I’ll find one. Moving a dificiency from the rear to the front is absurd.

When all of the lug nuts from one side of a car end up in one pile, if there is something like a missing stainlees steel cap it must go back on the same position on the car. If a customer spots something different on the vehicle they will demand a new lug nut. I don’t have time for this type of nonsense.

If you suspect the tires are not being rotated, use a grease pencil and mark each tire with a unique symbol. Follow the tire, not the lug nuts. Every time I rotate tires, the lug nuts stay with it’s hub, not following the tire. I agree with the other posts, that judging a tire rotation by tracking the lug nuts is crazy. And, I, too, would not let a car leave with a missing lug nut.

I’m not a professional mechanic but when I rotate tires the lug nuts (or bolts for some cars) do not follow the tire. Occasionally, even though I usually keep them separate, on some jobs lug nuts from different wheels get mixed up. It’s not a problem and why should it be? If any of the lug nuts or bolts are damaged, they should be replaced. The purpose of rotating the tires is to even out the wear but what does rotating the lug nuts accomplish? Nothing really, so what’s the point in doing so?

Of course, you can if you want to but doesn’t appear to be a common practice.

The only thing that I’m concerned about during a tire rotation is to rotate the tires correctly then make sure a lugnut gets on each lug. I don’t see any specific need to get the same lugnuts back on the same wheel. They are all identical unless you have a right and left hand thread situation.

IMHO, moving the lug nuts around the perimeter of the vehicle just increases the possibility of one of them getting misplaced or winding up in a place where it is difficult to retrieve it. Back in the days of hub caps, I used to place the lug nuts in the hub cap as I removed them from the studs. Nowadays, in the absence of hub caps, I just place them on a shop rag next to the wheel.

Why anyone would think it necessary to rotate the lug nuts is something that I have a hard time understanding, but…c’est la vie! Or, as some people say…Whatever floats your boat…

My troll-ometer isn’t detecting anything. This is just a case of someone being told something stupid by a mechanic they trusted, and then getting upset when a mechanic they haven’t yet learned whether to trust or not doesn’t do what the first mechanic said should be done.

That said, no, there’s absolutely no reason to rotate the lugnuts along with the wheel.