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Swollen lugnuts

Has anyone ever heard of “swelling lugnuts”? My wife took her car to tire shop for tire rotation and they told her the lugnuts were swelling and needed replacement, of which they could/would happily do for $35. Really???

If I was given a line of BS like that, I would resolve to NEVER return to that shop.
Yes, lugnuts can be damaged, but…“swollen”?
I don’t think so.

If they’re the type of lugnuts that have the cheap tin caps, rust can form under the caps on the actual lug nut causing the tin caps to expand. If these are the type of lug nuts the vehicle has, take the lug wrench for the vehicle and see if it fits over the lug nuts. If not, replace the lug nuts with the solid steel type.


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Please have your wife drive back to the shop; and state that she needs for her car to be correct, and safe, etc. - so she is back - to set up an appointment to have the swollen lug nuts replaced.

How long will it be, and what all can she expect. No problem; I just require the paperwork for this… After the estimate paperwork is filled out (and maybe if you the husband play your cards right) you might be able to get the paperwork as well…

Now, we have a written proposal to replace the swollen lug nuts; and the replacement part numbers, etc. It is also written down; and authorized by someone in authority in the shop. We then tell them that we don’t have the time for the procedure; or we call them up on the phone and state we will miss our ‘appointment’; and if this is a Nation Wide Franchised shop we can contact the headquarters of the large corp; and in addition - we can publish the written work order for replacement of the ‘swollen lug nuts’ - which will help this shop get the business which they obviously deserve.

It’s True ! Your Nuts Can Swell !

I Live In The Rust Belt And Have Had This Happen, Several Times.

Chrome lugs come in two varieties. Chromed steel lug nuts and steel lug nut covered with chromed steel caps.

The ones with caps can rust between the nut and the cap and swell up. I’ve even had them swell enough to bulge the cap and crack it.

You should replace them as they swell because it gets more difficult to put a wrench on them and could make changing a flat nearly impossible.

They’re fairly expensive, but I got OEM (same make, model), nice ones at my local salvage yard, dirt cheap. I stocked them in the glove compartment of the cars with with histories of swollen nuts.


My Inflicted Cars Were Chryslers.
What Is Your Car Make, Model, Model-Year ?


Well, I learn something new every day… Swollen Lug nuts… Sounded like non castrated bull to me…

I’ve Also Done What Tester Suggests. Be Sure To Get Lug Nuts With Exact Specs, Though. I Have A Local Auto Parts That Sells The Solid Ones At A Reasonable Price.


I call them lugnuts with condoms.


Yes, as stated above. The lugnuts are made of steel and have a chrome cap for appearance. As the steel nut begins to rust it can “swell” the chrome cap. To service these, I have a 21.5 millimeter socket.

However, it’s likely that your factory lug wrench will no longer fit your lugnuts. How annoying would it be to have a flat tire somewhere and not be able to change it because your lug wrench won’t work?

The Other Problem Is Trying To Remove The Swollen Lug Nut From The Wrench In Which It Was Jammed In Order To Remove It, So That The Wrench Is Usable.
It’s Sometimes Tough In The Workshop And Nearly Impossible Roadside.

Yes CSA, the capped lug nuts can be aggravating in a shop and I can only imagine what a pain they would be to deal with while squatting on the shoulder of an inner city loop during rush hour. If(?) that is the issue here I say spend the $35 and thank the shop for their advice. I would guess that $35 is the price of the new lugs and labor would be added now.

I’m an automotive technician. Swollen lug nuts is a thing and it occurs mostly on lug nuts with aluminum caps but it can occur on any of them.

Yes, in the intervening 7 1/2 years, I have learned that this can happen.
It never took place with any of the cars that I have owned over the past 5 decades, but apparently it does happen with some cars’ lug nuts.

Thanks for your response. Since you are new here, you probably don’t know how to determine the date of the last response. In the upper right corner of a post is a date, like Mar ‘13. That means the last response was in 2013. You will get more positive notice if you respond to recent posts. Please do stop by any time you like and keep responding with useful information.