Wheel studs occasionally need to be replaced due to wear and breakage. Replacing them is often quick and easy, but working with broken steel parts also creates unique challenges for mechanics of all ability levels.
INSTALL LEVEL OF DIFFICULTYMODERATE
What is a Wheel Stud?
The studs on your wheel hubs, along with the lug nuts, keep your wheels firmly attached to the wheel hubs and axles on all four corners of your vehicle. Wheel studs are nothing more than large bolts that are designed to fit securely into your wheel hubs. Although normal bolts often use hex heads, it’s not uncommon to find wheel studs with rectangular or even oddly shaped heads.
Automotive enthusiasts often replace their stock wheel studs with extended wheel studs when fitting aftermarket wheels to their cars and trucks.
How do Wheel Studs Work?
Wheel studs, sometimes called lug studs, are a lot like bolts. The shank, or shaft, of the stud is externally threaded. Lug nuts are internally threaded. Together these components fasten the wheel to its wheel hub.
Some European vehicles use lug studs instead of lug nuts. On these vehicles, there is an internally threaded hole tapped where a wheel stud might be on another, more conventional, vehicle. The lug nuts then become lug bolts on these vehicles.
How are Wheel Studs Made?
The process of making a wheel stud is a lot like the process of manufacturing a bolt. Wheel studs are often constructed using forged steel blanks that are then threaded externally to receive a lug nut.
Why do Wheel Studs Fail?
- Age, heat, and oxidation may cause your wheel studs to break under normal driving conditions.
- Insufficient torque on the vehicle’s lug nuts puts stress on the wheel studs, which may cause them to break off.
- Too much torque may rip the wheel stud out of the wheel hub. Be careful when using pneumatic tools to remove or replace fasteners, including lug nuts and studs.
What are the Symptoms of Wheel Stud Failure?
- Missing lug nuts. Lugs nuts may loosen up and fall off if too much torque is applied and the threads become stripped.
- In some cases, there may be a noticeable vibration coming from one of the vehicle’s corners. Strange vibrations and noises should be checked our right away.
What are the Implications of Failure?
- The wheel may become detached from the vehicle, potentially causing a traffic accident.
- Mechanics and shops may refuse to remove and replace your wheels until you agree to have new wheel studs installed.
Wheel studs, along with lug nuts, fasten your wheels to your vehicle. This makes them an extremely important, though often overlooked, part of your car or truck’s suspension system. If you notice missing wheel studs on your vehicle, it’s vital that you replace them or have them replaced as soon as possible.
If you have questions or concerns about wheel studs or any of your vehicle’s components, come into your local Pep Boys where we can answer any question, help you find any part, or perform any vehicle service you might need.