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I made a rookie mistake of overtightening my lugnuts after the tire change with an air wrench. I noticed that as I was driving around the block all but one of the lugnuts came loose. Thank God I didn't take it on the highway.

As I was trying to retorque it , I noticed that everytime I tighten two of the 5 bolts it loosens up the rest.

Now my question is , did I mess it up to the point I need to change all the bolts in the front? Or can I get away with getting some lugnuts from Napa or autovalue and tighten it using my wrench instead?.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

The vehicle is a 1989 Chevrolet S10 Blazer with a 4.3 L V6. It's a 2WD with a posi traction in the back.

Thank you

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  • 3
    Can you see if the threads are damaged on the studs or the nuts?
    – HandyHowie
    Jul 12 at 5:56
  • Add a photo of the studs and nuts.
    – HandyHowie
    Jul 12 at 5:56
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    Had you got the wheels sitting correctly on the hub before tightening? This sounds like the lugnuts went up tight but then as you drove the wheels shifted. Assuming none of the lugnuts / threads etc are damaged.
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 12 at 7:02
  • Does your 'airwrench' tighten to the correct torque, or is it like most airwrenches?
    – Tim
    Jul 12 at 17:02
  • The only time I've had this happen is when I got the wheel on there crooked and it wedged onto hub so I couldn't put it on any further. Torqueing down the bolts caused the rim to free up and I could push it to where it actually mated with the hub correctly. Then the lugs actually tightened correctly. If this isn't the case, you're probably looking at stripped lug bolts or breaking the bolts off entirely. Shreds of metal/threads in the nut mean you've stripped the lug. Jul 12 at 19:23
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I suppose it is possible to stretch the wheel lugs beyond their capability, even with an air wrench it seems unlikely that is your issue.

I recommend that you do the following:

  1. With the wheel off the ground, remove all the lug nuts and the wheel and inspect the lugs for visible damage. Things like missing or distorted threads or changes in diameter due to stretching. If they look OK, then continue. If not, then replace the lugs. On some vehicles they can be tapped out with a hammer but on others you need to replace the hub as well.

  2. Replace the wheel taking care to make sure there is no foreign matter on either the hub surface or the mating surface on the wheel.

  3. Replace the lug nuts and tighten them "lightly" to ensure that the wheel is in solid contact with the hub.

  4. Lower the wheel to the ground and then torque the nuts to the proper specification using the "5 bolt" pattern as shown in this article:

Lug nut torque pattern

Image:

5 bolt pattern

  1. Repeat the process on the other wheels. Take the car for a test drive and then re-torque all the nuts after the drive. They should be close to the specified torque. If not, then your lugs and/or nuts are damaged and should be replaced.
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  • That pattern was common sense to us as apprentices... suppose it has to be an article now so it can be checked on a smartphone...
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 12 at 17:43
  • Just want to point out it may be difficult to remove the lugnuts once the wheel is off the ground, so you may want to edit step 1. Jul 12 at 19:57
  • Since they are loose to begin with, that should not be a problem.
    – jwh20
    Jul 12 at 22:18
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Thank you for all the helpful suggestions. However we found the issue to be with the rim itself. Last year my tie rods gave up and i completely destroyed my rim. After fixing my tie rods , we ended up finding a replacement rim. This rim was not not prepped to accommodate a lip thats on the wheel. We fixed it and now its running as expected. Thank you again for all the help

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