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Lug Nut Torque

Were your lug nuts torqued properly?

  • Yes, 129lb-ft perfection

    Votes: 14 46.7%
  • Nope

    Votes: 8 26.7%
  • I haven't checked

    Votes: 7 23.3%
  • What are lug nuts?

    Votes: 1 3.3%

  • Total voters
    30

oreobbq

Member
Jan 8, 2021
247
321
Houston
After taking delivery of two model 3 vehicles fairly recently (a '21 this month), I noticed the lug nuts were nowhere near Tesla's 129 lb-ft specification. On both vehicles, the lug nuts felt like they were barely hand tightened. A couple of them were actually loose. I've only got a sample size of two cars though.

Your wheels probably aren't going to fall off spontaneously but you may as well check especially considering how quickly these cars accelerate.

A7oVQR.gif
 

NATO

Member
Jun 21, 2021
106
72
United Kingdom
I think I might take mine to my local tyre place when I get it next week and have the torque checked.

I have no idea about the tools used, are they able to set a specific torque? Or do all cars tend to use the same?
 

GtiMart

Active Member
Nov 13, 2019
1,367
1,208
Quebec City, Canada
You need to use a torque wrench to properly torque a nut. That means you finish each bolt by hand. Most (read 99%) or garages don't do that, they just use their air tool and torque. You might end up with 100 (if they stopped too fast), 200+ if they waited etc. A nice place that really does a good job will take a torque wrench. You can adjust those wrenches at 1lb-ft increments.

Not all cars have the same requirement but I don't expect garages to know each value. Most cars I've had before required 90-95lb-ft maybe? I also torqued most of my cars without a torque wrench but I have an electric impact wrench that goes up to ~100lb-ft and figured it was close enough.
 
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GtiMart

Active Member
Nov 13, 2019
1,367
1,208
Quebec City, Canada
I should have added that there are adapters that go on the end of the air gun to limit torque. Not as precise but can get in the correct range. I haven't seen a garage that used them either but I certainly haven't seen all of them 😀
 

Piffle

Member
Jul 14, 2021
15
14
Mid Lands, SC
After almost having a wheel fall off because of an incompetent shop when I was younger (1 lug nut left, hand tight)
After I pay for service, I ask the techs to come with me and verify the lug nut torque infront of me - I usually apologize 20 times, but explain my past incident,
 

danarcha

Member
Feb 9, 2020
88
127
South Bend, IN
I think I might take mine to my local tyre place when I get it next week and have the torque checked.

I have no idea about the tools used, are they able to set a specific torque? Or do all cars tend to use the same?

You can buy a good torque wrench on Amazon for $50 or less. Here is a link to one I bought which is great. Unfortunately it is no longer available, but you can see what they look like and find other similar ones. There is also a video at this link showing the proper use of a torque wrench.

MichaelPro MP001002 1/2-inch Drive Click Through Torque Wrench Lug Wrench with 3 Sockets (17-19-21 MM) - - Amazon.com

Each car has its own recommended torque setting and the torque wrench allow you to set the desired amount of torque. The setting for a Tesla Model 3 is 129 ft-lbs which is actually quite high compared to other vehicles. It's always a good idea to check the torque after having tires rotated or installed and then check them a second time after 100 miles of driving.
 
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oreobbq

Member
Jan 8, 2021
247
321
Houston
After almost having a wheel fall off because of an incompetent shop when I was younger (1 lug nut left, hand tight)
After I pay for service, I ask the techs to come with me and verify the lug nut torque infront of me - I usually apologize 20 times, but explain my past incident,

May as well get a cheap torque wrench and adjust it properly yourself. I believe I used a 21mm socket. Plus I'd rather do easy stuff like rotating tires myself since it's easy for a careless shop tech to scrape the wheels against the calipers or rotors.
 
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john5520

Member
Mar 3, 2020
989
772
Florida
I swapped back to my Aero 18s yesterday, and the lug nuts the on 19s were definitely not 129 ft/lbs as they loosened too easily. They were rotated a short while ago, so I'm sure the shop just used the air gun with whatever setting they use.

I'll rotate them myself from now on and just keep the torque wrench in the car.
 
Nov 4, 2018
140
109
Wisconsin
I swapped back to my Aero 18s yesterday, and the lug nuts the on 19s were definitely not 129 ft/lbs as they loosened too easily. They were rotated a short while ago, so I'm sure the shop just used the air gun with whatever setting they use.

I'll rotate them myself from now on and just keep the torque wrench in the car.
Just so you know, loosening torque is not necessarily the same as tightening torque. The more-accurate way to confirm torque would be to set a torque wrench below the expected torque of the nut and attempt to tighten it. If the nut turns, it was less than your setting. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I’ve dealt with this issue in industry and it’s a common misconception.
 

john5520

Member
Mar 3, 2020
989
772
Florida
Just so you know, loosening torque is not necessarily the same as tightening torque. The more-accurate way to confirm torque would be to set a torque wrench below the expected torque of the nut and attempt to tighten it. If the nut turns, it was less than your setting. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I’ve dealt with this issue in industry and it’s a common misconception.
It's possible. It just seemed easier than I'm used to with my past cars. It took hardly any effort and I've used same lug wrench for the past 12 years.
 
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