In the automotive industry, wheel installation involves keen knowledge of proper torque specifications. In general, you should tighten the wheel-attaching hardware (composed of bolts or lug nuts) according to the recommended torque specification for the vehicle’s make, year, and model. These specifications are usually found in the vehicle’s manual.
At the same time, proper wheel torque also involves using the correct tools, patterns, and procedures. These elements will prevent the hardware from over-tightening, stretching the studs, and stripping the fastener threads as a result. In addition, using the right torque tool will reduce the possibility of warping the rotors, hubs, or brake drums.
To put it simply, a proper wheel torque sequence is critical during installation as it ensures optimum performance and road safety. It would be helpful to have a go-to reference guide and make sure you or your automotive servicing center can do it the right way. To help you understand the importance of wheel torque, this article will discuss everything you need to know about said topic.
What is Wheel Torque?
Wheel torque is the act of adjusting the wheel-attaching hardware to ensure the wheels are securely attached to the car. It is critical in road safety since improperly tightened wheels may cause accidents and injuries due to your vehicle breaking down unexpectedly or a tire falling off while you’re on the road.
The torque value is measured in pound-feet (lb-ft), Newton-meters (Nm), or kilogram-force meters (KGFM). It involves using a torque wrench to tighten the wheel’s hardware. For example, if your vehicle has lug nuts and you need to remove them, you will use a special socket that fits over these nuts.
On the other hand, if your vehicle has bolts instead of lug nuts, you will need a special socket that fits over these bolts. The torque wrench itself has a meter or dial with numbers on top of its handle where you can adjust to your desired torque value.
Preparations for Wheel Torquing
Before you conduct a wheel torquing, you’ll need to prepare first. Here are the following preparations that you should consider:
- Get Your Torque Wrench Ready – Before using a torque wrench on your lug nuts or bolts, make sure it is calibrated and working correctly. This will ensure that your wheels are installed with the right amount of torque when you use the tool.
- Clean and Lubricate the Threads – It’s essential to clean off any dirt, grease, or oil from the threads of the wheel-attaching hardware before torquing them down. This will help reduce wear on the hardware and prevent any damage from occurring. In addition, you should also lubricate the threads with an anti-seize compound to control seizures in the future.
- Center Your Wheel – Before tightening your lug nuts or bolts, make sure to center your wheel on the hub. This is important if you want to avoid uneven pressure when you tighten down each fastener and ensure an even seating of all five lug nuts or bolts.
Retorquing Vs. Torque Checks
When it comes to wheel torquing, two standard terms are used during this procedure: retorquing and torque checks. Here is a brief explanation of each:
Retorquing refers to the act of re-tightening your lug nuts or bolts after they have been initially tightened. It’s essential to do this to ensure that the wheel-attaching hardware has reached its desired torque value and will stay in place even under strenuous driving conditions.
Torque checks are used to describe the act of checking the torque value of your lug nuts or bolts after they have been tightened. It’s essential to do this to ensure that each fastener has reached its desired torque value and will not loosen over time.
What are the Proper Torque Sequences?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the proper torque sequence for a given wheel installation may vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. However, there are general steps that you can follow when installing new wheels:
- Start by tightening the lug nuts or bolts in a crisscross pattern. This will help evenly distribute the pressure on the wheel.
- Next, tighten each lug nut or bolt a little more. You should use an incremental pattern when tightening the hardware, such as one-third of a turn at a time. This will prevent over-tightening and damage to your car’s components.
- Finally, torque the lug nuts or bolts to the manufacturer’s recommended specification. For most vehicles, you can find this information in your car owner’s manual.
Note that some aftermarket wheels do not require any torquing. If this is the case with your new wheels, you should carefully read and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure proper installation.
How to Properly Tighten a Wheel Torque?
Now that you know the basics of wheel torque, it’s time to learn how to tighten your wheels properly. Here are the following steps:
Step One – Place Your Vehicle on a Level Surface
Make sure your car is parked on a level surface or jack stands before working on it. This will ensure that no rolling occurs while you’re removing old tires and installing new ones, which could cause injury to yourself or damage your vehicle’s components.
Step Two – Remove the Old Tire
Begin by loosening each lug nut with a socket wrench, then remove them completely using your hands. You should also remove the old tire from its rim by placing it on top of a jack stand with two other stands underneath for support before unscrewing all five lug nuts one at a time until they are entirely removed from their holes in the wheel rims.
Step Three – Place New Tire On Wheel Rim
Once the old tire is removed, place the new one on the wheel rim and ensure centered. You can do this by using a straight edge or ruler to measure from the inside of each lug nut hole to the opposite side of the rim. If the measurements are equal, then your wheel is centered correctly.
Step Four – Reattach Lug Nuts
Screw the lug nuts back onto the wheel rim, using a crisscross pattern to distribute the pressure evenly. Do not tighten them all the way yet – you will need to do this in Step Five.
Step Five – Tighten Lug Nuts Incrementally
Now that the lug nuts are attached, you can tighten them in an incremental pattern. Start by tightening each nut one-quarter turn, then move on to the next nut and repeat until all five are tightened. You mustn’t over-tighten these nuts because this could cause damage to your vehicle’s components like the brake rotor or caliper pistons which will lead to costly repairs.
Step Six – Torque Lug Nuts to Manufacturer Specifications
Once the lug nuts are tightened to your satisfaction, it’s time to torque them to the manufacturer’s recommended specification using a torque wrench. This can usually be found in your car’s owner’s manual. If you’re not sure what the spec is, ask for help at an auto parts store near you.
Step Seven – Recheck Wheel Torque
Once you’ve torqued the lug nuts to their recommended specs, it’s time to recheck your work by removing one nut from each wheel and inspecting how tight they are using a torque wrench or another measuring device that’s accurate within two pounds per square inch (PSI). If any of these nuts are loose, you may need to remove them all again so they can be re-torqued before driving off in your car.
Keep in mind that these steps can vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle, so it’s always best to consult with a professional mechanic before making any changes to your wheels.
How DataMyte Can Help
When it comes to wheel torquing, DataMyte has two essential products to offer: Digital Clipboard and LightStar™ Torque Wrench.
DataMyte Digital Clipboard
The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a productivity and performance platform that lets you create and share checklists easily and conveniently. Whether you’re performing retorquing or torque checks, you can make use of DataMyte’s checklist and task management features to create a comprehensive, step-by-step guide or checklist for wheel torquing. That way, you’ll have a record of the work that was done, as well as all the necessary steps and specifications involved.
For more information about DataMyte and its Digital Clipboard, click here.
Lightstar Torque Wrench
The LightStar™ Torque Wrench is a digital torque wrench that offers a wide range of wrench specifications, values and percentages. It is ideal for torquing lug nuts to the manufacturer’s specified values, as well as for rechecking torque values. With up to eight precision and accuracy values, the LightStar™ Torque Wrench is an ideal tool for any workshop or garage.
Some key features of the DataMyte LightStar™ Torque Wrench include:
- SMART WRENCH™ TECHNOLOGY for optimum precision auditing.
- Patented Residual Torque to eliminate the possibility of false readings caused by friction.
- Stress-free handle for comfortable use that won’t cause fatigue or pain when in service for extended periods.
- Lightweight, durable construction designed to withstand years of regular use in your workshop.
- Integrated LED light for easy viewing and precise operation, even in low lighting conditions.
The DataMyte LightStar™ Torque Wrench is an absolute must-have when it comes to wheel torquing! It ensures accurate auditing on the very first try. Check out its official product page to learn more!
That’s it! You’re now ready to drive safely on the road with your new wheels. Remember to check back on this article whenever you need to retorque your lug nuts or if you need step-by-step instructions on how to perform wheel torquing.