As part of your regular auto maintenance, you should inspect your wheels.  This means checking to see that lug nuts are properly tightened.  It seems like something minor, but taking this quick step can save you from a really big problem if one of the wheels would come off.

How to Check Lug Nuts for Tightness

When you are only inspecting your wheels and checking for adequate tightness in the lug nuts, using the special tightening pattern is not necessary.  You just want to make sure that each bolt feels tight and secure, fitting snugly in place.  How snug you ask?  With your wrench in place, lean over it and use your body weight to press down.  If the lug doesn’t move or moves slightly to tighten but stops, you are in good shape.  You should never stand on the wrench or use excessive force to turn it further than described above.  Over tightening the lug nuts can cause them to strip or even damage the wheel or the bolts.  A great rule of thumb is to start checking you lugs from the top position and going through one by one.

How to Remove Lug Nuts

Getting the wheel off of your car for auto repairs or wheel work requires first getting the lug nuts off.  There is an easy way to accomplish this.  Before you jack your vehicle up you will need to slightly loosen all of the lug nuts.  Only loosen them slightly before you jack it up and NEVER take the lug nuts off of an auto without jacking it up first.

Mechanic Tip: If you start removing your lug nuts from the 3 o’clock position the wheel will stay in place much better while you are working.  I suggest leaving the top bolt to be removed last for that reason.

What to Do When Your Wheel is Stuck

So you’ve got it jacked up and the lug nuts are off. If the tire just will not budge after firmly tapping all around the edge, what do you do?  Let the Columbia SC Auto Repair Pro give you a trick that nearly never fails!  Put your lug nuts back on the wheel but only turn them 5 turns or so, so they are on and not falling off but where they do not get snug.  Lower the vehicle back to the ground and drive forward and in reverse back in forth about 5 feet in both directions.  Then get the vehicle jacked up again and remove the lug nuts.  The wheel should be loose and ready to remove.

How to Properly Reinstall Lug Nuts

Once your auto repair is complete and you are replacing the wheel, you need to be sure to reinstall and tighten the lug nuts in the right order.  The order you tighten them is generally in a star pattern, but vehicle wheels may have anywhere from 4 to 6 lug nuts.  This helpful diagram will show you exactly what order to tighten your lug nuts down correctly.

This diagram from the Columbia SC Auto repair Pro shows you how to correctly tighten your vehicle's lug nuts.

This diagram shows you how to correctly tighten your vehicle’s lug nuts. Graphic found at http://0.tqn.com/d/autorepair/1/0/T/3/-/-/lugwrench-pattern.gif

If you are in the greater Columbia, SC area and are in need of auto repairs, foreign or domestic, call on the Auto Repair Pro to take care of you!  Visit our auto repair shop for the expertise of an ASE Certified Master Mechanic and the customer service you deserve.  Call 803-735-7902 to set your auto repair appointment.