Q:

# How does the wheel lug torque affect wheel movement?

A:

The effect of the wheel lug torque depends on how much the applied torque deviates from the recommended car torque. While overtightened lug nuts cause vehicle vibration during braking, overstretches and weakens the wheel studs, undertightening causes wheel wobbling and unbalance during driving. Correct torque leads to normal wheel movement.

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Credit: frankieleon CC-BY 2.0

Wheel lug torque is the measure of force needed to tighten a lug nut, and it varies from one vehicle to another. Each vehicle has its correct torque recorded in the owner's manual. When the wheel lugs are overtightened, they exert excessive pressure on the wheel studs, leading to sudden snapping during driving and eventual stud weakening. This also damages the brake rotors, hence vibration when the vehicle brakes. Loose lug nuts on the other hand create a gap between the nuts and the wheel, which causes the wheel to get unbalanced and wobble, leading to eventual detachment of the lug nuts from the wheel.

To torque the lug nuts correctly and avoid the complications associated with incorrect torque, the car owner should refer to the vehicle's manual and apply appropriate tools such as a torque wrench in torqueing the lug nuts. A torque wrench can be set to produce a specified torque that is suitable for the vehicles.

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