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Wheel studs breaking

I’ve never had issues with wheel studs being cross threaded or breaking, but recently I’ve had 2 cross threaded on and 2 break off. I’m sure this is simply due to the shop cross threading the lug nut when my wife dropped the car off to have the tires rotated and possibly worn out studs. But I’m wondering if steel rims can contribute towards wheel studs breaking. I’ve ordered all new studs and will change them out this weekend. Really just trying to justify going to an aluminum rim.

And I’m just going to rotate the tires myself from now on

Nope. The threads are already destroyed before the lug nut ever touches the wheel.
The cross threading is causing the breaking. The idiot at the tire store caused the cross threading.

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The rims are not the problem. Have you talked to the shop about this?

Not worth the time. I’ve just been changing them when I find them.

I rarely broke studs until I hade a Chevy Lumina and a Buick skylark. I would hand tighten the nuts and torque with a wrench. They could gall up and break when I was removing them. I would buy 3 or four nut/lugs and keep them in the glove box it happened so often. Some folks will disagree but I put a small amount of anti seize on the lugs and that pretty much put an end to the problem. I rarely broke a Ford, Chrysler or Toyota lug. A shop using an air wrench to start the nut will ruin anyones threads.

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Sounds like someone took the cheap route and put in studs of the wrong material or treatment. Perhaps GM had a supplier problem. That happens occasionally in manufacturing, and it isn’t always caught in time.

Generally I don’t support the use of antiseize on lug nuts, but this case is an exception.

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I think I’ve had only one car where the studs broke and never been able to figure that out. At any rate, anytime the shop puts the wheels on, they will have a note on the invoice to re-torque the nuts after 50 miles. I usually try to do this when I get home, then if there is any problem with cross threading, it’s obvious right away.

I started using anti seize in the 60s to counter the rust caused by MDOT (Missouri). Seemed to have no downside. Had to be a little careful on tightening because any lube lessens turning force required. My opinion about most tire shops and most junior mechanics with impact wrench drivers is they bypass the necessary step of MAKING SURE THE NUT IS THREADED PROPERLY! Greenhorns and people in a hurry use the impact driver to seat the nut whether threaded properly or not.

Karl

I will not service any vehicle where it requires removal/installation of the tires/wheels, if I find any lubricant on the lug studs/nuts, for the reasons stated here.

http://www.aa1car.com/library/brake_rotors.htm

Tester

Last time I broke studs a van with no hubcaps. I thenk the salt rusted them in place. I broke 2, called aaa, they broke one more, naturally a Sat afternoon 100 miles into a 500 mile road trip, and a flat. Got towed 40 miles, had to sneak a dog and 2 cats into a hotel, and the sinclair gas station got som studs from tires plus so we could get back on the road Sunday am!

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I have to agree with Tester on the article about any lube on studs/nuts/bolts. Here it comes: BUT when you have a corrosive environment that seizes the wheel fasteners because of rust you are nearly required by PRACTICAL practice to ADAPT some method of avoiding frozen wheel fasteners. There is undoubtedly something better than antiseize. Probably Loctite Blue would be the best since it has the lowest holding strength, would seal the threads from ice melt and not affect tightening torque values. Now days more wheel fasteners are plated with nickel or cadmium or some non-ferrous metal which resist corrosion for a few assemblies but what after that? Now some of you can get all cranky about stuff which seems to be the norm but the idea of a forum is to exchange ideas and help each other find reasonable solutions. I would recommend we all try a little diplomacy.

Karl

Simple.

Did the vehicle come from factory with any kind lubricant on the lug nuts/studs?

I live in Minnesota. And even here we know better than to apply any kind of lube to the lug nuts/studs.

Tester

I’ve never experienced a broken or damaged wheel stud and never had to replace a lug nut. 62 Ford, 73 Ford, 78 VW, 92 Toyota. I place the lug nuts on by hand and tighten a full turn (by hand) first to insure they aren’t cross threaded, then tighten the lug nuts the remaining way with a torque wrench in rounds of three, each round in the star pattern sequence. If a shop ever removes a wheel (for example if I get new tires) first thing I do is take the car back to my driveway and remove and reinstall the wheel per above. I generally apply a very thin coat of moly grease to the threads before installing a wheel if it is one of my own vehicles. I don’t put moly on other people’s wheels (like if I change a tire for a friend) for the reasons tester mentions above.

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I read the article, but I think they must use more sand and less salt in MN than they do in the buffalo area.I use anti -seize on not only the studs but on the nubs as well because I don’t like having to beat the wheels off with a sledgehammer every time I put my snow tires on or off. This has been consistent with every make of car I have owned. I have seen shops here have to heat a wheel center cherry red to get the wheel off.

I am also not going to replace all my lug nuts and studs every two years and in 65 years of driving I have never lost a car wheel yet.

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