Recommended torque specifications are unique for each type of vehicle. Specifications vary by make, model and year, so it is important to check the vehicle owner’s manual for the vehicle in your bay or refer to a trusted service resource for the torque specification required.
By definition, torque refers to the amount of rotational force at the point of application. When attaching a wheel to a vehicle, torque specifications are the amount of force recommended on the hardware to ensure proper installation.
Following exact torque specifications matters for a number of reasons.
Too much torque can result in overtightening, which has significant consequences.
Overtightening can stretch the wheel studs, the bolts or posts the wheel attaches to. This stretching can put stress that can cause the stud to break, either during tire installation or while on the road. It can damage the wheel, strip the bolts and even cause the brake rotors to warp.
Too much torque also can damage brake rotors. Warped rotors will cause the vehicle to shake when applying the brakes, compromising vehicle control.
Repairing or replacing damaged rotors can be an expensive repair –- one that would be avoidable had proper torque specifications been followed.
Conversely, too little torque and you risk loose wheels that wobble and stress the wheel studs. This also can loosen the lug nuts until the wheel falls off of the vehicle.
Proper lug-nut or bolt torque is important to ensure the wheel is mounted properly to the vehicle. Any time a wheel has been removed and reinstalled on the vehicle, the hardware should be torqued using a properly calibrated torque wrench.