Check your lug nuts! - Toyota Prius Forum : Prius Online Toyota Forums
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#1 (permalink) Old 02-02-2006, 12:44 PM
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Default Check your lug nuts!

We just had an incident that left my 8-month-pregnant wife and me on the side of the road for over 2 hours.

Seems our dealer was a little too enthusiastic tightening the lug nuts after rotating our tires a few months ago. After we hit something and flattened a tire Tuesday night (on our way to a birthin' class, no less!), neither I nor the AAA mechanic could get the tire off the car because the wheel lock key was stripped to the point where it wouldn't grab on to the locking nut. They had to scare up a flatbed tow truck to tow us to a shop, where a friend met us and finally drove us home. The next morning, the mechanic busted the nut off for us.

Needless to say, I screamed at our dealer service rep since they were the only ones who had occasion to use the wheel lock. He seemed contrite and offered to replace it, but at this point, I don't ever want to be caught in this situation again. I'm less worried about my wheels getting stolen than I am about not being able to change an effin' tire when I need to. Non-locking nuts all around.

As a side note, are locking nuts a specific "feature" on the '04s, or are they a dealer add-on? The friend who drove us home had an '05 Prius (he liked ours so much, he bought one too!), and I had hoped I could try his wheel lock key. Nope. No wheel locks on his car. Go figure.
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#2 (permalink) Old 02-02-2006, 01:02 PM
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Some dealer must have thought he was doing you a favor. Just the standard chrome nuts on my 04. And not one word about locking nuts in the ten pages devoted to changing a tire in the owners manual.
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#3 (permalink) Old 02-02-2006, 01:05 PM
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It's a Toyota option, not sure if it is dealer or factory.

Good shops use a breakway socket wrench and a torque wrench to tighten lug nuts. The breakaway is a cast-in thin rod between the wrench end and socket end, that is designed to break at a given torque which is slightly higher than the specified lug nut torque. This way, even if they misadjust the torque wrench, it the nut cannot be overtightened, since the rod breaks before reaching critical torque.

You might ask if they use such a wrench, and if not, ask that you be allowed to witness the hand tightening.

I had a set of VW drums ruined by an overenthusiastic 4-Day Tire store who also bent the rims in the process. They mounted them so tight that the drum warped, and couldn't be turned on a lathe well enough to eliminate the brake chatter. Cost me four new drums and rims. I always look at them as they tighten them now. They don't like it, but that's tough.

2005 Seaside Pearl, BC#6
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#4 (permalink) Old 02-02-2006, 01:39 PM
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Default Lug Nuts

Does anyone with a shop manual know the torque settings for the standard (04+) Prius wheel lug nuts...? I had a 280ZX that called for 50 psi and when I asked, my tire shop willingly hand tightened them for me with a torque wrench. Their air gun was set considerably over 50 (90 as I remember) and it showed where the nuts were digging into the aluminum wheels.

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#5 (permalink) Old 02-02-2006, 03:08 PM
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Default lug nuts

75 foot pounds, or thereabouts.

DAS
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#6 (permalink) Old 02-02-2006, 03:12 PM
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Default Lug Nuts

TY.. That sounds reasonable....

2004, White, full package.
Scan Gauge,
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#7 (permalink) Old 02-02-2006, 03:50 PM
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It is also important to tighten the lug nuts in the correct order.

I set the torque wrench to 30 ft-lbs, and tighten them in the correct pattern as shown in the manual. It ends up being a star pattern. Then I do them again to 50 ft-lbs, and then finally to 76 ft-lbs. And you want it to be a smooth pull to the final torque so it is correct.

One additional detail is that if you are going to change or rotate the tires yourself you'll need a 21mm 6 point socket. I didn't have one so I had to go out and buy one at Sears.

You should also never oil the threads or the lug nuts. That is so that they wont loosen later, but it always bothers me to put something together that doesn't have any oil.

They may not say it in the book, but it isn't a bad idea to go back after about 100 miles to recheck them.

As far as the lock nuts, I wanted them on my 2005 Prius, but here in Florida the dealer said he couldn't order them as an option. I never could understand why, except that it is Southeastern Toyota. But the dealer convinced me it wasn't worth getting anyway. Aside from what happened to Thomme, you also have to never lose the key.
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#8 (permalink) Old 02-02-2006, 04:13 PM
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Uh huh huh huh...your mechanic busted a nut...uh huh huh huh!

PRIUS spelled backwards is SUIRP...
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#9 (permalink) Old 02-02-2006, 04:14 PM
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Personally, I'd rather have the cute receptionist at my dealer check my nuts for me.

No tools; this would strictly be a hand job.

2005 Seaside Pearl, BC#6
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#10 (permalink) Old 02-02-2006, 04:21 PM
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See... I threw that phrase out there wondering if somebody would, uh, rise to the occasion.

I did almost give myself a hernia trying not to giggle when the mechanic told me how hard he had to "struggle to bust that nut."
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