Foot pounds is simply the unit of measure for torque. So, here we are looking at how much torque you need for loosening or tightening lug nuts.
If you can use the right amount of torque, then it becomes easier to securely attach the wheel to the car using the lug nuts.
The typical range of foot-pounds for loosening lug nuts will be from 70 to 145-foot pounds. It all depends on the wheel stud size mostly indicated in inches and millimeters.
Here is a table you can use to match your stud size to know how much torque is needed to open the lug nuts.
It is advisable to use an impact wrench to get the right torque for various applications. Most of the impact wrenches will range from ½-inch up to ⅜-inch.
There is the choice of getting an air-operated or battery-operated model. It depends on your budget and ease of use.
Sometimes the person who attached the wheel to the car overtightened the wheel making it hard to use your wheel spanner to remove the wheel. Here you need an impact wrench to remove such lug nuts from the wheels.
The car’s manual is also a nice resource for getting more information about torquing the lug nuts. Using the right specification will leave the car running right and also it is easier to remove the lug nut the next time it has to come off.
Also, keep in mind the torquing patterns too. The star pattern is often preferred to ensure that you can secure the wheel correctly.
Here is a video with more details on torquing lug nuts
How to Use the Correct Amount of Torque
It is vital to always consider the right amount of torque for ensuring that it actually works.
We have already mentioned a chart above for you to consider above. Such a chart helps you to see how much torque to use for loosening lug nuts.
The safest amount you can start with is using 80 to 100-foot pounds. Make sure you start slow with the torque and increase the torque when necessary.
You should also not apply unnecessary torque when you have already tightened the lug nuts. The same applies when loosening as too much torque can easily break the lug nuts.
Ensure that you are also not stressing the lug nuts so much. This is especially when the nuts are rusted or older. You may have to add a penetrant to ensure that the lug nuts can become loose with ease.
Snapping off the lug nuts can make it tough to remove the lug nuts. That is why we still recommend applying gradual torque to the lug nuts.
Electric Impact Wrench for Removing Lug Nuts
An electric impact wrench can also be used for removing lug nuts. What is important is that you should always use a high rating for an impact wrench.
The higher rating for an electric impact wrench will make it easier to get the job done.
It may still be advisable to spray additional penetrating oil on these lug nuts for making them easy to remove. Give it a couple of minutes for the oil to penetrate and start loosening the lug nuts.
Try to loosen and tighten the lug nuts to loosen the lug nuts. This action will mostly break free the nuts.
Even if you are using an electric impact wrench, make sure you are not over-torquing. Use the chart above to ensure you do it right.
Why Lug Nuts are Hard to Remove
Have you ever applied up to 100-foot pounds to the lug nuts but they seem not to move? There might be a couple of reasons why the lug nuts are not loosening. Here is why
- The lug nuts are over tightened
- They might be rusted
- The nuts are frozen or stuck
You may be intrigued to consider adding more torque to try and loosen the lug nuts. Such impact wrenches might be found at repair shops. So get your car there to have the lug nuts removed.
A breaker bar might also work, but it does not have the flexibility of an impact wrench.
This video should give you more tips on removing rusted lug nuts
Why is lug nut torquing critical?
It is vital to avoid ruining the wheels. This is especially when the lug nuts are over-tightened. The worst is when they are not tight enough.
Can an impact wrench help with lug nut removal?
It is possible to use it as it will have enough power to break the stubborn lug nuts. Just be careful not to use a lot of power at once. Add torque gradually.
What is the best capacity of an impact wrench for removing lug nuts?
Most lug nuts would have been tightened up to 100 ft-lbs. As such, having an impact wrench with a good capacity of around 500-foot pounds should make it easy to remove any type of lug nut.
Can an impact wrench be used for tightening lug nuts?
You may use it, but it is not advisable to do so. This is because the impact wrench may easily strip the threads on the lug nuts if you apply too much torque at once.