How to Replace a Lug Bolt

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The tires on cars and trucks are held on with lug nuts. These attach to lug bolts, which are the studs the wheel is mounted on. The most common number of lug bolts per wheel on cars is four or five. When one of these bolts is broken or stripped, it must be replaced as soon as possible to maintain the safety of the vehicle. In most cases, replacement of damaged or missing lug bolts requires only a few simple tools and some hard work.

Things You'll Need

  • Lug wrench
  • Jack
  • Jack stand
  • Heavy hammer
  • Flat washers

Removal of the damaged lug bolt

  • Loosen the remaining lug nuts on the wheel with the damaged or missing lug bolt by using a lug wrench. Do not remove the lug nuts at this time.

  • Jack the vehicle up and support the car on a jack stand. Remove the lug nuts and the tire.

  • Remove the brake caliper and rotor if the lug bolt is being replaced on a front wheel, or the rear of a car equipped with rear disc brakes. Remove the brake drum if working on a rear wheel of a car with drum brakes.

  • Knock the broken lug bolt out with a heavy hammer by taking very careful aim. These bolts are pressed in and will be knocked out with a few strong hits. Remove the broken lug bolt from behind the hub flange with your fingers. Note: It may be necessary to remove the hub assembly on some cars to accomplish this step.

Installing a new lug bolt

  • Push the new lug bolt in the hole after comparing the bolt to the old one to insure they are identical. It will only go in to its shoulder at this point.

  • Place several flat washers on the new lug bolt and screw the lug nut against them. Install the lug nut with the flat side toward the washers when possible.

  • Tighten the lug nut against the washers until the new bolt is seated against the back of the flange. Make certain it is completely seated. This task is much easier if use of an impact hammer is possible. Remove the lug nut and washers after seating the bolt.

  • Replace the brake rotor and caliper. Install the tire and all the lug nuts, tightening them as much as possible.

  • Take the vehicle off the jack stand and tighten the lug nuts again to insure proper tightening.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always be certain a vehicle is on a jack stand on solid level ground before removing any wheels and working under the vehicle.
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