Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Torque Lug Nuts to Avoid Brake Disk Warp ?

solaraman2003solaraman2003 Posts: 84
edited March 6 in Toyota
Does anyone out there TORQUE their lug nuts when they mount their wheels on the Solara ?

My super-ace mechanic brother-in-law says that you SHOULD do this (to manufacturer's specs) so that you don't warp the rotors


  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,626
    I doubt you could warp them with a hand wrench. This type of caution is meant for gorillas with air wrenches who smoke funny cigarettes during lunch.
  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    I do this to avoid possibly damaging my rotors and my alloy wheels.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,577
    I don't have a torque wrench though; I just tighten them to the point that they "feel" right. I think all rotors nowadays are pretty flimsy compared to the old days, and are just much easier to warp. On the plus side though, I think they're also cheaper and easier to just toss and get new ones, than the older styles.

    How much does a torque wrench run, anyway?
  • 0patience0patience Posts: 1,542
    How much does a torque wrench run, anyway?

    Do you mean how much torque? Mine have 450 ft. lbs and 650 ft lbs. Enough to break all the lug nuts with ease.

    Or do you mean how much do they cost?
    You can buy cheap junk for about $50 or you can buy a quality Ingersoll Rand air wrench for about $129
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    It's more likely you'll experience rotor warpage due to brake heat rather than overtorqued lug nuts.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    if you overtorque a couple studs, and don't adequately torque another on the other side, considering how marginal rotors are getting I would not guarantee this won't happen.

    another way to get this result is to jam down lug nuts one by one. this gets to the funny result of the little centering conical section of the lug nut not going inside the wheel hole, but binding up on the outside of the hole on the rim's edge. first time you slip on pavement, you have a loose stud as the wheel reseats. good way to have lug nuts come loose and wheels fly off into the bushes, and a good way to break lugs. that kind of pressure is bound to warp hot, thin rotors.

    in any event, it's something you have to watch for when tightening down a wheel. and why it's supposed to be done in a star pattern in two or three passes.
  • Also, I'd like to point out that the owner's manual of my Toyota Solara DOES specify that you torque them. I haven't actually done this yet, since my car is brand new and I've yet to rotate the tires the first time.

    I just wonder how many people are aware of this and/or ensure that this is done when going in for service (i.e. tire rotation).
  • rubicon52rubicon52 Posts: 191
    There are at least a couple of reasons for tightening the lug nuts yourself with a torque wrench. One is avoiding warping the brake rotors. Another is avoiding cross threaded lug nuts.

    Even if you're using an air wrench, you should turn the lug nut on a few turns by hand and then use the air wrench. However, a lot of the gorillas as these discount tire places do all the turning with the air wrench. If the lug nut is cross threaded, the air wrench will still drive it on fine. The problem comes when you try to remove that lug nut and discover that its cross threaded.

    This happened to me once. I immediately went out and bought a floor jack and now do my own tire rotations.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,626
    I think this is quite over the top for the regular car owner. If you use the star-pattern for tightening, and use only reasonable force, I can't imagine how on earth you could warp a rotor unless they are making them out of frozen pizza dough.

    Also, a good torque wrench isn't cheap, and a cheap one isn't good.

    So just tighten your wheels firmly by hand and don't over-caffeinate prior to installation.
  • oldharryoldharry Posts: 413
    Right now, I have several torque wrenches, I torque every lug on every car, and working in an alignment shop, that is lots of lugs. About once a year, I send them off to Angle Repair for recalibration and repair.

    It is heat that warps rotors, but if they are not tightened evenly, they expand unevenly. Tightening by hand in several stages, you will most likely be close enough. Using a power wrench, even with "Torque Sticks" may end up with uneven tightness if one i tightened before the rest are snugged.

    A 50 to 250 pound foot Central Tools "click" type wrench wholesales for about $240. I buy mine through a wharehouse company.

  • hank14hank14 Posts: 133
    Should any lubricant or grease be applied to lug nuts? I certainly don't want them flying off, but they can sure make a lot of noise when going on and off.
  • Lubrication may throw your torque readings off quite a bit, so be careful about that. I guess a little "never-seize" would be okay, but not a grease or anything like that as it will heat up and drool.

    Never seize is great stuff. Me myself and I prefer to install lugnuts dry.
  • hank14hank14 Posts: 133
    Thanks Shiftright. I'll go with that.
  • Warped rotors are common in todays vehicles. I've seen it occur after a panic stop. Also i've experienced warped rotors in my repair shop when lug nuts are installed incorrectly in sequence and over tightened with an air gun. I do not perform state inspections. When I brought my car in for an inspection, I asked the shop to torque the wheel they removed to proper spec with a torque wrench. They gave me an argument and said. "This was unheard of" I insisted and they complied with my wishes. The car manufacturers are reducing the weight of vehicles including rotors. In ending, if your rotor is slightly warped and you decide to replace the brake pads without cutting the rotors. a great deal of pronouced brake pulsation will result. If you don't agree that torqueing lugnuts is important, ask Mr. Goodwrench see what he says.
  • oldharryoldharry Posts: 413
    If you live in a state that uses road salt, a wire brush on your electric drill will clean off the rust when you have the wheels off, and you should not have problems. The wheel manufacturers also recommend cleaning the rust from the surfaces of the wheel and hub that meet. A build up of corosion may prevent the wheels from properly seating, resulting in vibrations and/or wheels that loosen in service.

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Cars fitted with hub-centric wheels also need special care. The mating surfaces of the wheel and hub should be free of all dirt and corrosion. A thin coating of anti-sieze should also be applied to the mating surfaces. Failing to follow the above suggestions will likely result in a wheel that is well and truly stuck onto the hub-and that's the LAST thing you want when you are trying to change a flat on a dark rainy night. And yes, I hand torque the lug nuts/bolts on all my vehicles.
  • If you use that (the little 'L' shapped wrench) and tighten the lug nuts in a star pattern, you will not wrap the rotors, unless you are the Hulk. If you think about it, the thing is probably 1/2 foot long, so even if you weigh 200 pounds and you lean most of your body weight on the wrench, you'll apply less than 100 ft/pound. Most lug nuts are around 80 to 120 ft/lb (I'm not talking about an 18-wheeler, but you common passanger car), so it should be fine. I even undo and redo my lug nuts that way if I see/hear them using an air gun during service.

    Plus, if you have a flat in the middle of nowhere, and the previous time you had work done in your wheels the guy pounded the lug nuts with thee air wrench, you won't be able to get them off.

    Do them with the provided wrench, and you should be fine...

    My $0.02. G.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    at the side of the road in never-never-land in the rain at midnight, you will appreciate having had the foresight to put a two foot chunk of iron gas pipe in the trunk to use as a "cheater", or handle extender, to get those nuts off. hand-tighten with determination on mounting the spare, don't use the "cheater" again here.

    warning, danger, beware of possibility of personal injury when overstressing tools, never be put in a position where the tool could trap you against a firm object or could snap back and hit you, etc. and so on, voids lifetime tool warranties, support your local lawyer, and so it goes.
  • cutehumorcutehumor Posts: 137
    so let me get this straight, there's no way a person torquing their lug nuts can warp their rotors. only air guns can? yes, I'm no hulk. lol I do tighten them as much as possible though. I have had the unfortunate experience of changing a flat where an air gun was used. my hand was hurting for awhile. :)
  • I really don't think you can bend rotors by hand, no. I've never seen anyone do this although I suppose with a long cheater bar it might be possible. Rotors aren't pizza crusts, they are pretty sturdy just sitting there.
This discussion has been closed.