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Check your lug nut torque!

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by BrakeDome, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. BrakeDome

    BrakeDome Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2019
    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    Washington
    Hi all,

    Lately while driving, I felt like there was a slight vibration in the steering wheel, that I didn’t really remember feeling before. Since I only have about 5500 miles (so haven’t rotated tires yet), I decided I would check the lug nuts and just make sure they were fully torqued down.

    To my surprise, each wheel was WELL below factory spec. I know this because when I set the 129 value on my torque wrench, I unknowingly was looking at the N-m scale and not lb-ft. 129 N-m is about 95 lb-ft and yet when I initially tighten down the lug nuts, i would guess it traveled between 3/4 - 1in. below it clicked.

    Fortunately, for some reason I felt like re-checking the settings on the torque wrench, and that’s when I caught that I set it to 129 N-m! I was like “no way!”

    I went ahead and set it properly to 129 lb-ft, and the damn thing traveled another 1 to 1 1/2 in. before it clicked again.

    I took it for a quick spin around the neighborhood and didn’t notice the vibration, but it could just be my mind convincing me that was the issue. I’ll have a better idea tomorrow when I drive my normal commute.

    In any case just wanted to share with my fellow forum mates and would highly recommend you take a few minutes and check your lug nut torque, and if you don’t know how, ask a friend, or stop by a local tire shop and see if they’d check it for you.
     
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  2. KenC

    KenC Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2018
    Messages:
    762
    Location:
    Maine
    Good tip. When I rotated my tires at 6000 miles, I first checked the factory-set torque by checking with 129ft-lbs, and it tightened up some more! It felt like only 100ft-lbs from the factory, to me.
     
  3. M109Rider

    M109Rider Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2018
    Messages:
    654
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario
    If your lugs were loose enough to cause a vibration, they would have not been tight at all, so that wasn’t likely the source.

    Neither a lug nut at 80 pounds nor 129 pounds would produce a vibration.
    So it’s likely something else.

    Always good to check them though.
     
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  4. BrakeDome

    BrakeDome Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2019
    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    Washington
    Seems like you are right. I drove to work today and I still did feel the same slight vibration I did prior to tightening the lug nuts.

    Once it comes time to swap to winter rims later this year, I’ll take these ones and have the balance checked out.
     
  5. Dan203

    Dan203 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2019
    Messages:
    355
    Location:
    Nevada
    Had this problem with my BMW so took it to a buddy who works at the Costco tire center. He said the tires weren’t even round. They shaved a bit off which helped the vibration, but didn’t eliminate it completely. When the tires wore out and I replaced them the vibration went away immediately.
     
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