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2009 2.5i, H4, Auto.
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One thing I have been wondering about the last couple months since I got myself a torque wrench.

What is the correct procedure for re-torquing lug nuts?

After I take a car somewhere to get tire work done, they always say to have the lug nuts re-torqued after 50 miles.

I'll use my Fusion for example, since I know the numbers off hand. Ford says to torque the nuts to 95 ft.lb.when I have gone to check them, they make my torque wrench click as soon as I twist it.

Should I loosen them to make sure they are not over-torqued, or do you just leave them as it?
 

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2011 Outback 2.5i Premium, CVT, Steel Silver, all-weather package. Upgrades: Tweeter kit, BlueConnect, media hub, remote start, Curt 2" receiver hitch.
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One thing I have been wondering about the last couple months since I got myself a torque wrench.

What is the correct procedure for re-torquing lug nuts?

After I take a car somewhere to get tire work done, they always say to have the lug nuts re-torqued after 50 miles.

I'll use my Fusion for example, since I know the numbers off hand. Ford says to torque the nuts to 95 ft.lb.when I have gone to check them, they make my torque wrench click as soon as I twist it.

Should I loosen them to make sure they are not over-torqued, or do you just leave them as it?
Nope... They're fine. A lot of it is CYA. If a lug nut (or whole wheel) came off after you visited a shop, they could claim that you didn't re-torque them like you were supposed to. I've never seen them come loose in a modern car.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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Unless you suspect a problem, do not loosen them, just do as you seem to have, set the wrench , go in a 'star' pattern ,and push to the 'click' one time.

When I do work at home, I will often place the tire, go in a star pattern with a regular wrench to 'kinda tight', then to very tight, then, usually after lowering the car to the ground, I go back with the torque wrench to 'full tight'.

I have also re-torqued before, but never felt a lug nut move. Still, it's a good idea and some folks say required with alloy rims. I would always check before a road trip. But, I wouldn't panic about it if I forgot. (as well as looking for screws/nails in the tire, etc.)
 

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'11 Outback 2.5i CVT - '06 Forester X 5MT
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I'm curious about this too. From what I've read the actual torque spec isn't as important as tightening in a proper patter to EQUAL torque. So you're probably good just to make sure they are all torqued, no need to loosen.

HOWEVER, I have had a heck of a time trying to remove lugnuts with a good wrench and an extension because a tire shop just cranked them on. I would have been screwed trying on the side of the road with the OEM wrench. For that reason, and that reason alone, I loosen lugnuts and torque them after having work done. I then retorque them after a few days to make sure everything is good.

Having said all that, I have never had a lugnut loose when rechecking. However, a long time ago, I did have a SHO Taurus with alloy wheels that I almost lost a wheel on, but I hadn't had any tire work done recently, so I have no idea what happened there. Luckily I notice the car vibrating like crazy and checked it out.
 

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Startiger raises a very good question, one that I've wondered about as well.

Unless you suspect a problem, do not loosen them . . .
Doesn't that beg the question: "Should I loosen them to make sure they are not over-torqued, . . ?" (bold added).

If when the nuts are re-torqued they do move a bit until the wrench "clicks", you're pretty sure they're then set to the proper torque (assuming the torque wrench is reliable).

But if the wrench clicks without turning the nut at all, the nut could be at the proper torque, but it could also be well above it.

So I guess the question is: Do we trust shops to torque lugs nuts to a point close to the car maker's specs?

When I install the wheels, I follow much the same approach as 1 Lucky Texan. I then re-do it after some driving, and also find that, generally, there's no further movement of the nuts. But I know where I started. It's not the same as when a shop installs the wheel using an air driven impact wrench.

Looking at it differently, is there any problem with backing off the nuts a bit, and then torquing them with your own torque wrench so you know where they are?
 

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^^^interesting

a couple of times, I have read posts that 'seem' to indicate, someone had one or some loose/missing lugnuts and the primary theory is that a thief may have been interrupted trying to steal rims.

good point about lug nuts being too tight. I use Discount Tire and have not had major problems with them, but some shops may not use a torque wrench or torque 'stick' - or some tech there doesn't use them properly.

Like any service, you rely on proper technique and experience of the tech. Even with DIY, I have made mistakes.

as for loosening - how much? May as well go ahead and pull the tire off, inspect the brakes, wire brush the lugs and any rust, and remount yourself.

And, when was the last time your torque wrench was sent to the metrology lab for calibration? At some point, you have to decide your personal level of satisfaction.
 

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I carry a cheeter pipe for those lug nuts, just in case, they do go crazy with those air guns, they should have settings on those guns, and use them.
 

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'11 Outback 2.5i CVT - '06 Forester X 5MT
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Doesn't that beg the question: "Should I loosen them to make sure they are not over-torqued, . . ?" (bold added).
This is part of my thinking.

...as for loosening - how much? May as well go ahead and pull the tire off, inspect the brakes, wire brush the lugs and any rust, and remount yourself.

And, when was the last time your torque wrench was sent to the metrology lab for calibration? At some point, you have to decide your personal level of satisfaction.
I just loosen them until they budge, then retighten with the torque wrench. Not too hard.


To both points, my understanding is that EQUAL tightening is more crucial than a set torque value. To that extent I at least assume the shop is tightening them all the same amount. Whether torqued or until the wrench maxes out. Same goes with my torque wrench. I may not be down to the exact ft-lb, but all my bolts are all tightened the same amount.
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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Hey! Over-torqued lug nuts are a bad thing. I've been told they can really screw-up your aluminum wheels and warp the rotors. I bought my wife's car home from Mr. Tire last year and decided to check the torque on the lug nuts. None of them were anywhere close to spec or even within 5 lbs of each other! I have the cross type lug nut wrench and I had to jump on that thing to get several of the nuts loose. I ALWAYS upon arriving home after any time a wheel has been removed and replaced, back the lugs off a bit and then re-torque them to the proper specs. I use the star pattern of course. This extra few minutes is well worth the effort in my opinion. I then check them again after a couple of days or about 50 miles (trip to Baltimore and back) and have seldom had more than one click.

Don't trust those youngsters at chain tire shops to do it right or give **** if they don't. Been screwed too many times.
 

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I agree that the recommendation to re-torque is simply a CYA measure on the shop's behalf. Besides the few of us who actually own torque wrenches, who's really going to do this? I just can't see most of the people I know going out to their cars 50 miles after getting new tires just to re-torque the nuts.

I've never re-torqued and found a loose lug nut. I'm fairly sure that the shop guys over tighten the nuts anyway. In that case, it would be better to loosen them and then torque properly. But if you loosen the nuts and then torque to specs, I'd imagine you'd need to come back in another 50 miles and re-torque them.

So if you want to be really anal...

If a shop was the last place to touch your nuts:
1. loosen nuts
2. torque to spec
3. re-torque after 50 miles

If you were the last person to touch your nuts (and properly torque them):
1. re-torque after 50 miles

Edit: I just re-read the post above. He said the same thing I did. I just wanted to type about touching your nuts.
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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If you were the last person to touch your nuts
Been married for a long time. So, yeh I'm most likely the last one. Just couldn't resist. 51 on the outside and 13 years old in my head.
 

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As we saw when subaru published the wrong spec for a while, too tight might warp something or shear a stud, too loose and all 5 just shear at once!
 

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I have been using (and carry in my OB) a "cross lug nut wrench" for many years now. In my opinion, the easiest and safest way to get lug nuts on and off. Then, re-tighten with torque wrench, depending on wheels composition (metal, alloy and such).
 
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