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Thread: Tire shop says two of my wheel studs are junk...again.

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    Tire shop says two of my wheel studs are junk...again.

    Hey all, let me preface by saying I've had a lot of cars into a lot of mechanics and have generally found them to be good, honest folk.

    I am, however, a little suspect as to the information being supplied to me by the local tire shop swapping my snow tires on. In the spring for the summer tire install the shop mentioned I had two studs that were "toast" and needed replacing, fine. Paid for them to replace them. I was a little irked because I've HAD many older cars before (this is a 98 Dodge) with stretchy-threaded wheel studs before (hard to thread nuts onto studs, sometimes couldn't do it by hand and had to hold a socket to put them on) but this truck has NEVER had a problem with the threads. All the nuts go on super easy and the threads all look correct and not "bashed up". Didn't say anything at the time, they didn't charge too much.

    THIS time I apparently have two junk studs on the OTHER rear wheel. Now I'm a little more annoyed, I had those wheels off twice this summer to do work on the truck and never did I have a problem taking the nuts off with a 1' tire iron I keep in the garage for such purposes. Since the torque setting is 100 ft-lbs it stands to reason I need to pull with 100lbs of force to take these off, they always come off no problem. When I reattached the wheels I tighten them as much as I can with the wheel in the air then with the torque wrench on the ground. Sometimes I'm pretty close but I ALWAYS have to turn the nuts a bit to for the torque wrench to click. It's a high quality, relatively new torque wrench which works great on my other cars. This shop is telling me they couldn't get the nuts off with their impact gun and had to use their bigger impact gun to get them off and two studs snapped. Now this I don't know about at all, is it possible for a stretched thread to do this? And how did it go from 0 to "toast" in one tightening?

    Last spring I had my wife's car in there for a tire swap and shortly after her front rotors were warped. They weren't new rotors by any means but I still had a hell of a time getting the nuts off (used a breaker bar same length as my torque wrench since I simply couldn't get them off with the car's tire iron. I know overtightened nuts can do this to a rotor.

    So is this shop just trying to hose me and installing new lug studs either I don't need or that they're ruining by impact gunning the nuts on? (I know many tire shops impact gun the nuts on, which I think is a bad idea and just saves them time without really doing the best thing for your car as it's easy to overtighten the nuts. I've watched shops do this then "torque" the wheels with the wrench clicking without them having moved it. I'd really like to not have to pay for these studs this time and know not to go back to this shop if they're not caring for my car in a reasonable manner, and lying to me to boot. (Would also like to know if I'm just crazy and should just smile and pay the man).
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    find another tire shop
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    My guess is that they stripped the stud by putting the lugs on with the impact and had to replace them. I never use the impact to put the lugs back on, only to take them off so that I do not have to loosen the lugs before raising the vehicle.
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    That's what I figure, them trying to save time by gunning them on and making them not only too tight, but each one of a random tightness depending on how long the fella held the trigger down. Impacting them off should be fine of course, but I don't like the fact it's happened so often at only that shop.

    Would a stripped stud make the nut hard to take off, even with an impact, though? That seems unlikely to me if they went on by hand and torqued with a normal amount of force by me (mind you, they're only 'saying' this all happened when trying to remove the wheels, they've had lots of time to remove, reinstall and tighten everything back up before he called).

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    Quote Originally Posted by hofmanmi View Post
    My guess is that they stripped the stud by putting the lugs on with the impact and had to replace them. I never use the impact to put the lugs back on, only to take them off so that I do not have to loosen the lugs before raising the vehicle.
    agreed.

    never never torque the lugs with the impact, always use a torque wrench.

    I understand why it's done by shops....time....

    Ask them before they do the work "you will be using an impact to tighten the lugs, I don't want to lose a tire" when they say yes, you can politely say "then I guess you will be paying another shop of my choice to do the lugs"....don't let them do them.

    Lug bolts are not stretch to torque like a head bolt. Head bolts are designed to stretch and use only once, the lug bolts are designed not to strech and hence can be reused.

    (yes they will stretch a little during torque, but will return to there shape when the torque is relieved. If they are overtorqued, they will not return to the original size and shape, the diameter of the bolt will decrease and they will cross thread)

    (oh and by the way, if you do stretch them, then they won't all be torqued at the same amount which can cause a vibrating brake pedal)
    Last edited by Pav1; 12-05-2012 at 12:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverbullet91 View Post
    Would a stripped stud make the nut hard to take off, even with an impact, though? That seems unlikely to me if they went on by hand and torqued with a normal amount of force by me (mind you, they're only 'saying' this all happened when trying to remove the wheels, they've had lots of time to remove, reinstall and tighten everything back up before he called).
    if the lugs have been stretched and the diameter is decreased, then even if you torque them to the correct spec, they still will strip. So technically you could have stripped them, but then again you did not stretch out the bolt to begin with. The damage is the result of the tire shop.

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    you need to find another shop. also you should have asked to see them. Ill bet you they were stripped going on with a gun. I ALWAYS start any bolts by hand. I used to work as a mechanic and in the day I tightened lug nuts with a gun but this was after many years with a weak gun. Ill bet I could have had the torque within 15 ft/lbs. One guy that also worked flat rate there used to put head bolts in with a gun. That I couldnt do .But he never had a come back.

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    I asked them to keep the bolts for when I go pick the truck up later, I want to look at them to see if they are stripped near the tip or what the deal is. The service adviser said they snapped off as the tech tried to take them off with the more powerful impact gun.

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    If you can post some pics

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    Shit like this rusts.... most people dont use any type of neverseize or other lubricant as most feel that they may loosten on thier own.

    I've seen stranger things happen. what did they charge you to change them?
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    Indeed, wheel nuts can rust or seize on as any nuts. My wheels come off several times a year and every couple times get a bit of anti-seize on the first few threads. (Ah loves mah anti-seize).

    I told the guy on the phone I wanted to see the studs when I went in, when that time came he said he couldn't find them. That's enough to make me wonder without anything else happening. I've only asked to see old parts twice, this time included, and I'm sure mechanics hate it but I felt there was good reason here.

    In the end I asked him if they put the nuts on with an impact gun, outlined how I know my wheels have been over-torqued coming out of that shop several times and that this summer I never had a problem removing or installing any nuts on any of the studs which had good looking threads. I suggested the "odds" do not favour 2 out of 24 studs breaking every time his shop touches them unless they're doing something incorrectly. I know parts like this have their life limit but then I should have had trouble in my removal and install of the nuts this summer between the two occasions his techs did it.

    It was telling when he mentioned almost right away he was only charging me for the studs and not the removal and install labour, the two studs were $4 each. Not a big deal, but I was upset on principle and still felt comfortable paying for the tire installations (he did do it, after all). Told him I wasn't confident on the work being done on my vehicle, felt misled and that I would be taking my business elsewhere in the future.

    Thanks guys for your quick and informative responses, that's why I love this site. Made me more confident in my suspicions so I could go in and make my point. Again, two $4 studs almost aren't worth an argument but, in my opinion, the principle of doing honest work is.
    Last edited by silverbullet91; 12-05-2012 at 06:31 PM.

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    You sir were a perfect gentleman. and did everything right. good for you!! Having been in the business I can attest that customers regularly pay for shop screw ups. In a flat rate world the car would be fixed on the mechanics time. But they dont hire mechanics ,on flat rate, to change tires. It would cost too much, so in come the "by the hour "flunkies or students. I am unable to do most of my own work now but I trained my son(now a mechanic) very well. The big things are to know when and where you can take shortcuts. because if something goes wrong you (mechanic ) will pay out of pocket. I remember a chrysler years back, that I did a timing chain on and when I put the cover back on the ballancer snout would push the seal back in. I missed it the first time and the next day I worked for free. It took a little fanagling to get it done right, but it was on my time.
    Last edited by jeeper52; 12-05-2012 at 07:28 PM. Reason: spelling

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    running them on with the impact is fine if they have torqe limiting sticks that being said most dont the shop is screwing with you
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    you are correct ,but starting them by hand 2 or 3 turns is important

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    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this yet but I will. Dodges, Caravans in particular, are the most common broken-stud vehicle in my shop. By far, probably 10:1 to the next vehicles - VW & Volvo (although they rarely break, they're just seized). I have several customers with Caravans and I'm the only one who touches them... and still studs break. Doesn't matter if I'm using my torque stick or a Snap On or JET torque wrenches. We also get a lot of vehicles from Costco's tire shop - 80-90% are Caravans. You didn't mention your model of vehicle.

    Anyway I agree that you should try another shop. And the fact that they're doing the repair for free (less materials) tells me they're not trying to screw you. If it happens again ask for the broken stud. You can tell by the sheer pattern what way the bolt was spinning when it seized and broke. Most of the time, for me anyway, they break coming off. I also keep the studs & nuts matched (in case there's a stretched thread difference). And if I'm installing a new bearing on a Caravan it gets 5 new nuts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by H3lzsn1p3r View Post
    running them on with the impact is fine if they have torqe limiting sticks that being said most dont the shop is screwing with you
    100% agreed.
    I know my impact gun I can set the torqe to XXXlbs once it gets to that setting the drill stops.
    but if you had issue b4 at the shop WHY go back a 2nd time?
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    agreed with the few upper posts

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    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this yet but I will. Dodges, Caravans in particular, are the most common broken-stud vehicle in my shop. By far, probably 10:1 to the next vehicles - VW & Volvo (although they rarely break, they're just seized). I have several customers with Caravans and I'm the only one who touches them... and still studs break. Doesn't matter if I'm using my torque stick or a Snap On or JET torque wrenches. We also get a lot of vehicles from Costco's tire shop - 80-90% are Caravans. You didn't mention your model of vehicle.

    Anyway I agree that you should try another shop. And the fact that they're doing the repair for free (less materials) tells me they're not trying to screw you. If it happens again ask for the broken stud. You can tell by the sheer pattern what way the bolt was spinning when it seized and broke. Most of the time, for me anyway, they break coming off. I also keep the studs & nuts matched (in case there's a stretched thread difference). And if I'm installing a new bearing on a Caravan it gets 5 new nuts.
    Good information Noltz, I like the idea of keeping studs and nuts matched. My truck is a Dakota and I'm not surprised Dodge's "stuff" may break more than that of other manufacturers, but if it really was weak studs or bad nuts (I bought the nuts new a year and a half ago) *I* should have messed a few up removing/installing the nuts several times as I did between the two occasions the shop had it when I did maintenance on the truck myself (I use a torque wrench and anti-seize to install the nuts as I mentioned above). They've broken 2 of 24 every time they've touched the truck. I DID ask the shop to see the broken studs the second time around and after agreeing to keep them they "lost" them, maybe true but at least a little suspect. Initially they WERE going to charge me for parts AND labour on the new studs until I, armed with information from this thread and confidence from the collective opinions here, told them why I thought this might be their fault and I should not bear the full financial responsibility. The first time this happened I just trusted them that maybe those two studs were bad and it was "one of those things" as I know things break on cars and most mechanics (or tire techs) are pretty honest and do a good job. The second time made me suspect when they started talking about all the trouble they had removing the nuts with an impact gun...I could easily remove them every time I tried with about a 12" tire iron and I'm no He-man.

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