Have you ever wondered what holds the wheels on a car? While it may seem like a daunting task holding wheels on the car while you are driving at highway speeds lug nuts and studs are the main reason why your wheels are still in the right place.
Most passenger cars have wheel studs and lug nuts. The studs act as a bolt for the lug nut to tighten to. Some cars have 4 studs per wheel while some heavy-duty trucks can have 6 or more.
How do the wheels stay on the car?
The wheels slide onto the studs coming out from the main wheel hub. These studs typically pass through the hub completely and extend away from the car. The wheel can then be slid onto the studs. The studs have to match the holes in the wheels or the wheel won’t slide on.
After you got the wheel mostly on the studs you can use one of the lug nuts and start hand tightening the lug nut so the wheel stays in place. After you’ve started one of the lug nuts you can begin installing the other lug nuts in a uniform pattern.
Typically lug nuts should be tightened in a star pattern. This will ensure that the wheel is evenly tightened. After all of the lug nuts are tightened a torque wrench is used to make sure that the lug nuts are tightened to a specific number.
The torque number is usually supplied by the car manufacturer. The measurement in the US is typically ft/lbs. When all of the lug nuts are tightened to the right spec the car can be driven safely.
What holds wheels on a car?
The force from the tightened lug nuts holds the wheel on the car. Just like when you tighten any bolt, the tighter it gets the more force it creates. Hence why your wheels stay on the car. The lug nuts push against the wheel which keeps them on the car. If the lug nuts are loose then you might lose a wheel while you drive.
Do all cars have lug nuts and studs?
Not all cars have lug nuts and studs. Some cars like the BMWs have lug studs rather than lug nuts. In this instance, the lug bolts are inserted through the holes of the wheel and tighten into the hub. This also has a torque spec.
So if you have a car without lug nuts your wheels might be held on by a set of lug studs.