Torquing lug nuts is something many of us seldom do, myself includeduntil a few years ago. I had always given the lug nut a good tighteningwith a four-way wrench and thought, Good enough for who it's for. Well,it wasn't and it isn't!

I'm going to cover some information from a previous article ("Playing ItSafe," Jan. '05). Lug nuts should be tightened to a specific torque.This torque depends on the size of the wheel stud. You will find atorque chart from Diamond Racing Wheels included at the end of thisarticle.

The reason to torque lug nuts is more than to just get them tight. Thetorque ring of the wheel is the raised ring just outside of the lugholes on the back of the wheel. It acts as a lock washer. The lug nutsmust be set to the correct torque for the torque ring to work properly.

Here are the proper dry torques for the different sizes of studs:7/16-inch diameter 50 to 60 lb-ft; 12mm diameter 70 to 80 lb-ft;1/2-inch diameter 80 to 90 lb-ft; 5/8-inch diameter 110 to 125 lb-ft.

There is another frequently overlooked aspect of lug nuts. All theone-inch "racing" lug nuts are not the same. OE nuts and wheels have a30-degree taper, while most aftermarket racing wheels and nuts have a45-degree taper. If you use aftermarket one-inch nuts on OE wheels, thenut will contact only the outer edge of the lug hole. However, if youask a knowledgeable dealer, he can get 30-degree one-inch nuts for you.If you were to use OE nuts (even one-inch ones) on racing wheels, thenthe nuts would only contact way down in the hole. If you are in doubtabout what you have, look at the wear ring on your lug nut. If it isnear the top or bottom of the tapered surface, then you likely have thewrong tapers between your wheel and lug nut.

By now you should have the correct lug nuts to match your wheels. Lugtorque should be checked each time the car is to enter the track. Oneproblem with torquing your lugs in a dark pit with wide offset wheels isproper positioning of the torque wrench. Using a long extension, it iseasy to pull down on the wrench, thus giving a false torque reading. Forthis job you really need a clicker type torque wrench such as theCraftsman that I use.

TORQUE VALUE CHART

7/16" dia. 50 to 60 lb-ft

12mm dia. 70 to 80 lb-ft

1/2" dia. 80 to 90 lb-ft

5/8" dia. 110 to 125 lb-ft

*Use this chart to get correct torque values for each size wheel stud.

The tool shown makes it easy for anyone to hold the wrench straight. Youare now placing the torque wrench pull where it is supported on eachend. This makes it quicker and easier to get good readings.

Your 1/2-inch drive torque wrench plugs right into the tool handle. Withone hand on the wrench handle and the other on the extension handle, itis easy and quick to check lug torques.

Contact Sleepy at: sleepy.gomez@primedia.com

SOURCE
Diamond Racing Wheels
307 W. Layton Ave.
Milwaukee
WI  53207
Craftsman Tools
www.sears.com