How do I Fix Stripped Lug Nuts?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by nobb, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. nobb

    nobb Senior member

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    I took my car in to get the tires replaced about 7 months ago and I think the installer forced the lug nuts on somehow because now they are stripped. I was able to take the wheel off just fine before taking the car in. However, recently I tried to take my wheel off and I cannot because the screw thing that the lug nut screws onto is stripped. Not only can I not take the wheel off, but I cannot tighten the lug in completely so I am basically driving on 3 nuts.

    Im going to take my car back to them on monday to see if they will fix it for free. But just incase they dont, what would be a reasonable price to get this taken care of? The screw itself is stripped, so I am worried they have to replace the whole hub or something. How do they even fix things like this?

    Even if I do somehow manage to get the nut off, I dont think I will be able to screw it back on because of the strippage.

     
  2. AdamK47

    AdamK47 Lifer

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    So, the screw is stripped and now you have to drive on 3 nuts?
     
  3. helpme

    helpme Diamond Member

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    You can probably replace the wheel studs & lugs by themselves, without replacing the hub (well, the installer should do it for you since they screwed it up).

    Do you usually take your car to the guys that did this?
     
  4. mwmorph

    mwmorph Diamond Member

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    Air chisel can take the lug nuts off, takes a long time but it works.

    Otherwise, there's a special socket just for stripped lug nuts, it's a rarer tool and new mechanics dont usually have it but it's not that expensive.
     
  5. alkemyst

    alkemyst No Lifer

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    these threads are worthless without make/model....

    anyway most studs are pressed in. You basically just need to press out the old one (the harder part) and then pull in another. Depending on car will depend how much work is involved. On my fronts it's just pressing them out...on my rears I will have to remove the brakes and backing plates I believe.

    If the mechanic did this they should fix it free...9 times out of 10 its going to be less than 30 mins of their time and a dollar part.
     
  6. Squisher

    Squisher Lifer

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    If thine nuts offends thee, cut them off.


    I assume the lug wrench goes on fine, but the nut just spins

    If you can get to it with a rotary tool like a rotozip, you can cut it off with a cutoff wheel or plow into the side with a deburring tool. Then finish it up a hand chisel.

    A rental place should have some kind of rotary tool.
     
  7. nobb

    nobb Senior member

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    Sorry, I drive a 02 Mazda Protege. The stripped screw is on the rear wheels and I have drum brakes. The one nut is stuck onto the stripped screw, so no, the nut doesnt "just spin."
     
  8. Scarpozzi

    Scarpozzi Lifer

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    Take them back to the guys who screwed it up....If they won't help, do it yourself.

    I had a Mitsubishi Galant that had some cheap lugs on it....I tightened the lug nuts too tight one time and one actually broke off... Replacement lugs can be purchased from the manufacturer most times. They cost approximately $2-4 each. I paid $10 for 5...

    Having said that, call the local dealership and tell their parts dept what happened and find out if they have any in stock....go ahead and pick them and some extra lug nuts up, then see if you can remove the old ones using your favorite brute force method.
     
  9. nobb

    nobb Senior member

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    Ok update. I think the screw part is actually broken. When I try to turn the nut in either direction, it seems that the screw itself turns as well. The screw is stuck to the nut. I have no idea how to fix this now, probably better to get a professional to do it. I am making a 300km trip in a few weeks and I dont think I should be driving on 3 nuts.

    Also, I doubt the shop will fix this for free. I have a feeling they wont take me seriously because:
    1) I am young (19)
    2) I dont know as much about cars as they do.

     
  10. bruceb

    bruceb Diamond Member

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    If it is the actual threads on the stud that stripped, which is what it sounds like,
    then in my view, the only way out would be to use an Air Chisel to break off the
    lug nuts. After the wheel is off, you can then press out & install new wheel studs.

    There is also a Slight chance that you can cut the studs off from Behind the Wheel
    with a Sawzall .. it may work (might need a few blades as you are going to bend them)
    That method requires about 1/16" or so between the wheel and the brake hub. They can
    also Freeze them with Liquid Nitrogen or Freon and then chisel them off (freezing makes
    metal very brittle)
     
  11. LTC8K6

    LTC8K6 Lifer

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    If the stud and the nut are both spinning, then the splines on the stud are stripped, and you likely need to replace the plate that the studs are press fit into. Forget the name at the moment.
     
  12. lurk3r

    lurk3r Senior member

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    You don't have to know much about cars, you do have to go in and not be intimidated. They broke your stud, expect them to replace it for free. Don't be rude or attack them, but be firm.

    It sounds like the splines on the stud have been stripped from the wheel hub, it may be possible to use a bigger splined stud, or the whole hub may need to be changed. You should be able to grab one from a wrecking yard, or if they ask that is a part that it really shouldn't matter if its used. (the hub)
     
  13. nobb

    nobb Senior member

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    Yup, they wont do it for free. $61CAD to get it changed. But they offered to do it for free if I pay $230 to get my rear brake shoes changed with them (they need changing anyway). Is that a good deal? I have a funny feeling its not.

    But they did cut the lug off, so I am thinking maybe if I take apart the drum I will be able to hammer out the broken stud from the front? Is this something I can do myself and will it be as simple as just hammering out the broken stud and putting a new one from behind? I saw a youtube video of this, but I have drums instead of discs.
     
  14. shocksyde

    shocksyde Diamond Member

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    $230 for rear shoes? Good lord!
     
  15. DivideBYZero

    DivideBYZero Lifer

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    "Driving on 3 nuts..." :D
     
  16. alkemyst

    alkemyst No Lifer

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    Depends on car...shoes can be expensive compared to pads.
     
  17. nobb

    nobb Senior member

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    Thanks for all your replies, everyone.

    I took the plunge and replaced the broken stud myself. Cost about $4, plus another $3 in gas to drive down to the shop =) This wasnt as easy as I thought, but in the end I did it! Not only was this a great learning experience, but I also realize my shoes wont need changing for a while. I'll probably end up ebaying some new pads for later and learning how to replace those myself in the summer.
     
  18. alkemyst

    alkemyst No Lifer

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    This is how it starts much of the time....first by messing around with your nuts and then moving on to better things. ;)