Safely installing a wheel on a vehicle requires the right hardware, tools, pressure and patterns. As much as it seems simple, there actually is a science to it –- a science worth learning as the careless installation of wheels on a vehicle can cause both damage to the tires and wheels as well as potential danger to passengers.
Start by checking all the parts, including the hardware. This includes lug nuts and bolts used to attach the wheel assembly securely to the vehicle. (Note: Be sure to use only the specified sizes of studs and nuts.) It also includes checking the wheels, studs and mounting faces. Use a wire brush to remove any dirt, oil, rust or corrosion. Replace anything damaged or that looks suspect.
It’s important to note that torque specifications are based on dry, clean threads only. Never lubricate the hardware threads, as this will change the amount of friction at the lug seat, which will cause an inaccurate torque reading and could result in over-torqueing.
Start the hardware manually by hand. The hardware should turn freely and smoothly. This helps prevent cross-threading.
Tighten the bolts a quarter turn each time in the specific star pattern sequence for the number of hardware positions on the wheel. Using a click-type torque wrench, apply the final torque to tighten at the recommended torque value for the application.
Recommended torque specifications are unique for each vehicle. Specifications vary by make, model and year, so be sure to check the vehicle owner’s manual or other trusted resource for recommendations.
Proper wheel installation, including nut torque, is essential to safe, economical, trouble-free service. Use only the specified sizes and types of studs and nuts.