Wheel torque - does it matter? How to properly tighten wheel bolts on a car?


Bolts in car wheels should be tightened exactly as recommended by the manufacturer. That is neither too weak nor too strong. This is quite a general statement, but in fact it best captures the essence of things. Therefore, the tightening torque of the wheels is crucial. Torque wrenches are used in professional vulcanization plants, which are extremely precise. If you want to tighten the wheel bolts yourself, do you also need it? You will learn about this and many other things in the further part of the text.

Wheel tightening and safety while driving

Wheel torque - does it matter? How to properly tighten wheel bolts on a car?

There are several important reasons for properly tightening wheel bolts, and they are all related to safety. Here they are:

  • under-tightening the bolts can cause knocking in the wheel, which will lead - if you do not react - to damage to the bolts or fixing pins, and consequently the whole wheel will fall off. Even while driving, which is extremely dangerous;
  • an incorrectly tightened wheel increases the risk of "flashing", i.e. damage to the tire while driving;
  • over-tightening can damage the threads and stretch the studs, which will mean that only 3-4 bolts (depending on how many are on one wheel of your car) will hold the wheel properly. Over time, if the problem is not resolved quickly, it may be necessary to replace the entire hub.

The most important information about tightening car wheels

To understand why wheel tightening is so important, it's good to know the construction of modern cars. Wheels are mounted in passenger vehicles with four, five, sometimes six bolts that are screwed into the hubs. Each manufacturer in the instruction manual of a given model is obliged to specify with what torque (force) the screws should be tightened. It is recommended to use appropriate wheel nuts/bolts that are designed for either aluminum or steel rims. They should not be used interchangeably!

Wheel tightening torque - check how to properly tighten the wheel bolts

Wheel torque - does it matter? How to properly tighten wheel bolts on a car?

Knowing all this, we can move on to the key question - what torque to tighten the wheels will be correct? This, as mentioned, is included in the vehicle's manual. Generally, however, the recommended torque is in the range of 110-140 Nm. Before you start the wheel replacement process yourself, read the specific information about your car model. You already know the negative consequences of incorrect tightening of wheel bolts.

In the event of a road accident, which results in the replacement of a spare wheel, you do not have to worry about the wheel tightening torque values. Do it by feel, with the key that comes with the emergency kit. However, it is important that after reaching your destination, you visit a mechanic or tire fitter who will check the wheel to eliminate any errors that may have occurred during the emergency wheel replacement. 

How to tighten wheel bolts in a car? Get to know the necessary tools

Wheel torque - does it matter? How to properly tighten wheel bolts on a car?

Have you decided to replace the wheels on your car yourself? Of course, this is a process that, given the right place and tools, you will be able to carry out successfully. However, it is worth remembering how important this issue is and approaching it with appropriate commitment.

Among the items you will need to replace the wheels on your car are:

  • lift - preferably low-profile;
  • cordless impact wrench;
  • a set of appropriate impact sockets or a single socket that will fit the bolts on your car;
  • torque wrench - its range must include the tightening torque of the wheels appropriate for the model of your vehicle;
  • car stands - they are a form of protection and prevent the car from sliding off the jack. The cost of the stands is low, and a possible fall of the vehicle from the lift can lead to expensive repairs. It's not worth the risk.

Stay calm and methodical when performing the trade. Always put nuts or bolts in one place so they don't get lost. Evaluate their condition. Sometimes worn parts need to be replaced. You should tighten the wheel bolts smoothly, without jerking or using too much force. You already know that taking care of the right wheel tightening torque is crucial - don't forget about it!

Wheel torque - does it matter? How to properly tighten wheel bolts on a car?

The tightening torque of the wheels is a key element in the correct installation of the wheels on the car. Now that you have the right tools, you don't have to go to a tire shop to replace your wheels. However, in order for the process to run smoothly and for the vehicle to be safe while driving, you must remember about some of the most important technical issues related to this process. If you are not sure whether the replacement you did yourself was carried out correctly, be sure to go to a specialist for a check. It is a small cost - both in terms of time and money - which can be crucial in the context of safe movement on the roads. The negative consequences of a poorly carried out wheel replacement can be very large. It's definitely not worth taking that risk.

Frequently Asked Questions

What torque should the wheels be tightened to?

The most commonly recommended torque is in the range of 110-140 Nm. However, it may happen that the tightening torque of the wheel varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Why is the correct wheel tightening torque important?

This is a driving safety issue. There are many potential consequences of over-tightening or over-tightening a wheel. An incorrectly tightened wheel increases the risk of tire damage while driving. Insufficient tightening of the bolts can cause the wheel to fall off, and too much - damage the car's hub.

How much does it cost to change wheels at a mechanic?

The price of such a service depends on several factors. First of all, from the location and reputation of the car repair shop. It also depends on the vehicle type and wheel size. The cost of replacement can range from 50-7 euros for wheels with a diameter of 12-13 inches.

How long does it take to change wheels?

Replacing all wheels on a car should take about 40 minutes.

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