Driving with a broken lug nut stem

I took my 2004 Honda CRV to have the tires rotated and the technician broke one of the lug stems. He claimed that the nut had been put on improperly and was stripped.

I took the car to my mechanic, who was the last to have removed tire. He agreed to fix it and ordered the part. He claims that I am safe to drive it.

However, my wife and I are scheduled to leave on vacation, requiring we drive the car from Indianapolis to Asheville, NC. Is this kind of driving OK to do with a lug nut missing?

For that long of a trip I’d want it fixed. The Honda dealer doesn’t have one in stock?

I would get it fixed before the trip. Generally, if the wheel has five, you can get away with four, but only for a short time. If the wheel has four, I would not try to get away with three, even for a short time.

If the tire shop stripped the lug nut or stud, they should pay to have it fixed. Discount Tire did this on one of my cars and took full responsibility to have it fixed. If the stud was stripped at the lug nut end it’s an easy fix – put in a new stud and get a new lug nut. If the stud was stripped at the brake disk end, the disk may need to be replaced as well. I would not drive very far with a missing lug nut.


While I have seen many cars drive seemingly “forever” with a broken lug nut stud, if it were my car, I’d want to get it fixed.

Thanks for the responses.

I am definitely going to get it fixed. It’s just that we have to leave for our trip before the part comes in (tomorrow). After doing some more reading about it, proceeding with caution may be acceptable. It is a 5 nut mount.

I certainly would not drive on it with a bad stud, other than maybe low speeds around town. Are you certain the part is not available anywhere? Surely there is a large NAPA store somewhere like we have near me that carries almost everything in stock.

Make sure the other 4 are tight and you’ll be fine.

I wish mechanics would stop trying to blame someone else when things break. Sometimes the lug studs just break without a fault assignment.

For the reader who may have this problem in the future; if some important trip is coming up, you can decide to pay the cost of the repair and live happily ever after. There are times when saving $100 can hurt people.

Some of us don’t have the extra money and will have to put up with the worry of driving with a missing stud. Some of us can’t waste the time to negotiate a free repair because time is also valuable.

There are many questions. The answers are so simple (a month later), but the explanations are very hard to do. Time travel is the only way to know some answers. Watch out for difficult questions.

Just to be safe, keep a wrench handy and check the other four every few hundred miles. A torque wrench is preferred if you have one, of course.

I wish mechanics would stop trying to blame someone else when things break.

To be fair, if a lug nut won’t come off because it is stripped, the fault belongs to the last person to put it on, not the guy trying to take it off. It appears as though the guilty party has owned up to this, if it is being fixed free of charge.

broke is not stripped. If one lug nut was over torqued, the others may be cracked and about to break as well. It takes less than an hour to replace a lug, replace them all, they are only a few bucks each. I have driven 500 miles with one missing, but my nerves were shot when I got home, and I dont recommend it. And when one is broke it also upsets the wheel ballance, not as much as a missing ballance weight, but somewhat as it is closer to the axel it does not cause as much of a wobble. I say get er done.

I agree. It takes less than an hour to replace a lug…and an additional 15 minutes to change all four or five. Once the hub is off, and you’re standing in front of the arbor press with it, why would anyone hesitate to change the rest?

I guess that only one of them blamed somebody else. We don’t really know when the second guy broke it, taking it off or putting it on. The OP never stated it so that we could tell. I did assume that it was broken during installation, at which point it would have been convenient to lie about it.

It’s just a matter of belief. The first guy agreed to fix it, he didn’t actually admit to stripping it. If he did, it wasn’t stated that way. It is impossible to really know who did the damage. There must be two sides to every guess, which brings us back to time travel but in the other direction. (Insert Stargate comment here.) I don’t watch Doctor Who.

What’s is a mechanic to do then,stop and get the foreman/manager everytime a lug won’t come off so he has a whitness? And then what’s a shop to do, call the customer to come down and watch while they try different techniques to get the nut off?

All I the mechanic is paid for is to slap the air wrench on it and if it comes off, fine ,if not, all other work is on you.

Lug nots and lug studs do not have unlimited lifespans,sometime they break and need replaced,even with the upmost care.