what would cause wheel studs to brake off

Asked by Dec 02, 2014 at 04:25 AM about the 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan 4 Dr SE Passenger Van Extended

Question type: General

32 Answers


Lugnut issues, wheel issues at bolt circle, improper parts, overloading the cargo area. parts left loose at the wheel lugs

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

we had this issue and found that the local tire store was over tightening the lugs with their air wrench when we had our snow tires changed out.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Over tightening the lugs when those people put your wheels back on after brake checks, tire rotations, etc. These damn people use impact wrenches without "Torque sticks" and can tighten your lugs up past 200 ft/lbs where a Caravan only needs about 80 fl/lbs of torque on each lug. The metal on the lugs get stressed and they'll just snap off. Overtightening of the lugs will also cause your brake rotors to warp and you'll get pulastions when you hit your brakes.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

Strange, I have installed tires , wheels, and brakes, and done front end and suspension since 1984. At no store, have I ever seen a lugnut installed in the manner you describe. None of our wrenches were capable of the torque you say in actual tests performed by us, we compared them to calibrated wrenches from the snap-on truck. We had our 1/2" wrenches calibrated at a cost of $50 each. We purchased the torque sticks eventually by 1988 to increase our speed, and stop worrying about it. I think it is irresponsible to make statements about things you have not seen or tested. In evey case of lugnut shear I personnally investigated, we found evidence of overloading, or rust lines and chewed studs that indicated the opposite of this over tightening theory. We had a stamp for every repair order where the installer wrote the vehicle spec and his initials, and the date. The customer was invited to return after 50 miles to have any recheck they wanted....we hardly ever had them return or complain. sometimes they would have a different problem on the other axle, and want free work, but lugnuts were off the table for placing blame on our installers. I took the info with me to the dealership years later and apprenticeship school as well. Even after working with the district service engineer for Ford or GM in my career over the years, the specs and procedure stayed the same only at the dealer level, we blamed ourselves for customers issues because it is within Ford or GM's power to extend goodwill. I reject your idea, that lugs are overtightened at this late date, as the industry is well equipped and educated. What this vehicle's issue IS, may be ascertained easily enough by Q&A with the customer and inspection of the damaged wheel studs.

8 of 8 people found this helpful.

Also wheel bolt hole elongation at the bolt circle can help indicate to the inspector. Because this issue deals with possible collision and safety of persons, I would recommend evaluation by the insurance adjuster to determine the cause. If it was related to installer error, the appropriate paty could be informed and correction at that point could be addressed.


Excuse me (personally), (party)


while i have personally experienced this at a local tire retailer, I will admit that it has been a while. however i still believe it occurs because some places may not be as good as what the industry standard is. people make mistakes. However upon reading your answer it occurs to me that maybe the studs have a life span and they reach a point where they can no longer be torqued all the way. anyway it was interesting reading your answer, I consider myself properly reprimanded.!


I'm not going to get into a flaming war. I consider at least one answer BS and it's not the one I put forth. I've bent tire irons in the past loosening nuts and I still keep a piece of pipe in my trunk to assist people busting nuts. I have an average priced 1/2" impact wrench and I could snap lugs all day long by over torquing them. Unless you can speak for every business that uses a torque wrench, I suggest you direct your comments at the OP and not people responding.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

If those studs get overtorqued enough to break, it takes, for example, 3 times the twist to break them. I think they will find the payload on that vehicle is much less than it has carried. Sure, numerous overtorques could weaken them. they would get weaker each time. This is a good time to review the vehicle repair history and find where it was tightened the last few times. An adjuster looks at who's paying, and who can accept blame as well as the actual causal part and the evidence found there. Not meaning to reprimand, just rejecting opinion in favor of my own as always.


Let us not forget when breaking loose a wheel bolt or lugnut, it has been quite hot and quite cold, the presence of moisture between dissimilar metals and the natural process can lead to a stuck lugnut(s). The resulting breakaway torque can be working on the metal to metal contact adhesion vs. the applied torque. This is why a contientious tire store installer adds a little white grease to lugs where dissimilar metals are in contact. You can disagree with me, I have not seen the van either.


That's (conscientious), looks like my fingers need some torque sticks this morning too.


Mine don't snap off when tightening, they snap off when I'm taking the lugs off. They will turn 1-2 full turns, then tighten to the point where they can't be loosened anymore and I have to snap them off. My van is a 2004 Nissan Quest, and it hasn't been an issue till the last 2 years. My mechanic was the first to twist them off a few times, then I did. I thought too that he was over tightening or cross threading the nuts. It's starting to drive me nuts. Any ideas???

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Water, oxidation, aluminum, cast , pitch of threads. The whole combination is electrolytic corrosive, the wear or the change after hot /cold and wet and oxidizing. This means you check into the manufacturer for any parts usage update. But we always used lithium grease when assembling The nissan threaded pitch of 1.25 with acorn style nuts and aluminum wheels. We used new whenever threads cold not be turned easy by hand, Next, be sure loading is not exceeding the spring rate. With this type of issue, the MFR can be ahead of you, and have a bulletin telling what to use.


The manufacture of aftermarket nuts can need a rethread to check and deburr. but those wheel seats need a little wipe of lithium as an oxygen barrier.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

if you have evidence of oxidation at the bases of the wheel studs that tells you water gets in there and sits.


I'm having a similar problem w/ my Quest. We had the hub replaceed '14 and now since January the studs have broke 3 times while we were driving. They've been replaced, torqued correct and still do it. What do u think?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

There must be a problem with a hubcentric arrangement that performs like that.....When you have all your info and paperwork together, have the parts inspected by your Ford dealer. There are too many factors at work. Inspection must be the start of your plan to find the cause. It must be done by a place that has the required data. They must be able to refer to the vehicle as they refer to the data. If you can demonstrate how many lugs sheared, how many times, with what wheel and studs, nuts, and hub defined at each occurrence, it can lead to revealing the cause. They need vehicle history and R.O.'s from the previous repairs. Then they research with MFR data, and compare to find what's being done, and if they update to correct? Or if they correct parts usage. Then you see what they say. If you are not under warranty, you need documentation for insurance or recourse. They will need to know how you have been loading it and using it.


If you are out of warranty, there is also the opinion of the nissan dealer to consider, since that is a sort of "emblem" car.


Heavy handed mechanics that go ape with impact wrenches! I will not let a tire shop use an impact wrench on my cars and then need to use a torque wrench to do the final tightening.


I just reviewed all these posts, and the issue that had the description that gave a real clue was where it was described as lugnuts turning, then sticking upon removal, then snapping. I had some like this, found they were not OEM, but aftermarket acorn nuts in use. At some point, the nuts were removed, and some were substituted with problematic ones. Is it the pitch? (number of threads per inch) ( or metric ) were they chased ? can they be chased ? Since it is less often than one nut per wheel average for me, I did not investigate further. Since real parts are expensive, and I was trying to match what was in use for the package, I had to use a handful of generic parts that felt right as I threaded them on. Since those parts are produced in a country that does not manufacture cars, I still dont try to villify young people for the trouble in the marketplace. The management teaches the installer, the installer appeals to a journeyman for correction, and then the journeyman corrects the management when it comes to teaching procedure at every shop I have worked at, every parts supplier I have asked, and our tire tool and machine dealer who specializes. You end up looking at a price driven business, foreign manufactured copies of actual parts, and a constant lack of patience. What do you think an installer kid is going to do? Exactly what he is told, with a provided 1/2 inch gun, a torque limiter, and then, a torque wrench. It is not his problem if he can get it out of the shop fast, so you can go get your shopping done before dinner, get the stamp initialled, invite you back for a retorque. and go collect the "1/2 a man" wage he gets serving up what the supplier puts in his hand, marked with a thread pitch number? or completely unmarked. we dont care as long as it's shiiiiiiiinneeeey. My guess about that symptom is the maker of the wheel studs and the maker of the wheel nut were not using THE SAME TOOLING. purchased from a regulated source. All the skilled great grandfathers set it in place, and the bean counters have slowly complained to lower standards in the industry. Then a few people have a problem, and point at a dumb kid in a peewee's technician uniform who was taught to give it all day till his back and knees are toast. If you dont trust him, you bring your set in the back of a pick-up, or see your car dealer for best results, They can sell you the correct or updated parts as problems arise. You can demonstrate what's going wrong for them to measure, They can bag the aftermarket mismatched parts, and you can return them to the place that sells them as it might be in your experience. Who pays? You, your insurance, your aftermarket part sales supplier. You know you can carry a wrench, some lithium grease, and buy OEM to correct your own. (a thread pitch gauge is available at any hardware) Or you can ask that a journeyman tech be the only employee to touch your vehicle. They get union scale, benefits, take 3 breaks per day, and wont install problematic parts without you signing to take responsibility after rejecting their advice. They love you, and they spend their pay on tools that perform properly, they attend school to know how to use them. They get a higher pay, so you pay more, savvy?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

a nut that threads on with effort sometimes gets used because There have to be a full set on every wheel. What's funny about that nut? who's paying for an investigation? no-one. write it on the R.O. and get them to show up for a recheck when our lugnut stock gets updated. YEA, Right. That's why you ask your dealer to manage yours if its a problematic example. Use OEM parts, and bring every anomaly to your attention. If it bothers you, or has a history of issues.


All of you almost have the answer to the studs breaking off repeatedly. Yes, over or under torqueing causes breakage, but the most common reason is the replacement " multi-fit" rims. The auto manufacturers put a flange in the center of the hub for a reason. The rim slides on tight to this flange, supporting the car's weight on the center hub. Multi-fits can leave up to a quarter inch of gap between the hub and rim causing the weight to be carried on the studs alone.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

A overzealous monkey at the tire shop with a impact wrench.


Tech paddle did not read the first answer, wheel issues, he /she describes lug-centric wheels installed on a hub-centric design.wheel and hub system. subverting manufacturer intention. That's customer pat and installer or sales related error. paddle that into your memory banks.


customer pay, not (pat) and the issues with shiny garbage being used in place of manufacturer part numbers and design is all throughout the thread, being cited. as possible cause. lug centric vs hub-centric is alluded to in the second entry, i believe, and the point of install and diagnosis after, are where it should be found and pointed out hopefully before it gets put on the vehicle. the first time. Thanks for the new name for an old repeating problem. cheap crap with a high price that barely fits.


Full of regrets about not learning reading comprehension in the third grade. The installer kid is fully outfitted with torque limiting devices, company policy, and management follow up. He does not choose aftermarket imported crap. The thread pitch interference is not there when you get the correct nuts, some dealer nuts and studs, or ask a journeyman to come measure and correct. The customer has to sign when all this is taken out of their hands by choice. If it went unnoticed, theres noone to send it back to? just get it outta here, your sales person may say. But you blame the monkey. and ignore him.


See if you find the subject was satisfied already in this thread. I can read it there, plainly.


Still no further participation by the asker to tell us what was found. That further illustrates the facts contained in our discussion. They have not further responded because they are no longer questioning it, it is now obvious. Please choose who said the cause for yours, or tell what you had for parts that caused it., A 1/2" lugwrench and its operator are clearly NOT the cause given the facts found in numerous cases where insurance adjusters and engineers found poorly fitting facsimilie parts. They just dont thread right and leave gaps for moisture is what was cited for my customers. we use only dealer items now, when the cheap stuff starts to show a problem. The supplies were returned. The signatures ans initials after using a torque wrench following torque sticks are now the standard. I see though it is still not idiot proof, so I reiterate.

I assumed it was the guy's fault who put my brand new tires on (not even 6wks old).In the middle of mid turn my tire goes flying off my car and I'm sitting on the ground with a front end looking like I was in a car accident ... I've changed my own tires on this van and have had no issues but as soon as I buy new tires . I'm not sure but I'm assuming in a good business u keep ir customer safe . I'M SURPRISED THEY DIDN'T TAKE NOTE... Thank God I was on the highway!!


I am a machinist and make wheel studs and stud nuts. When new from the factory they have a little film of cutting fluid on them to lubricate the thread. When any shop removes the nuts a small amount of antsiest should be added to lubricate the threads. Problem solved!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Be aware that any torque spec is subject to either dry or lubricated threads. The torque you apply is a means to an end. You are using torque to stretch the bolts and maintain a tight joint under tension. If you put a lubricant on either the threads or between the nut and the surface of the rim, you are reducing the torque lost to friction. So, you can easily snap lugs even at the torque spec.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I'm currently having this problem with a 97 Silverado. I have found evidence of severe oxidation and water getting into the wheel-hub due to someone not replacing the dust-cap when it was last worked on. (Both a tie-rod and an axle had been replaced). 5 of the 6 studs broke off with no warning. The lug-nuts had not come loose - they were all still tight on the broken studs. I'm about to rip it apart and take a look. I'm guess that the reason the tie-rod and the axle was replaced was because it had a bad wheel-hub the whole time and it caused a chain reaction, which eventually led to this.

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