Lug nuts are small metallic units used as wheel fasteners. They are used to attach the wheels to the hub. These nuts should be carefully fastened to ensure your safety on the road; any issue in the wheel can be dangerous.
There are various types of lug nuts for different kinds of wheels. Choosing the correct lug nut for your car is vital to make sure your ride is ready to go. Lug nuts are available in different shapes; generally, they have a tapered or rounded end. Even the size and model of these nuts depends on the model of your car. Without the perfect lug nuts in good condition, changing your car’s tires can be a challenging task. Therefore, the correct type of lug nut should be used.
In This Article
- Design Components of the Lug Nut
- Types of Lug Nuts
Design Components of the Lug Nut
There are a few factors that lead to the production of various designs of the lug nut. While choosing the perfect lug nut for your car, you must consider these factors:
The Type of Fastener Seat
There are three basic types of fastener seats or ends. The conical seat is the most common type, which is also called ‘acorn.’ It has a tapered end, and it is available with a taper of 60° or 45°. The spherical seat lug nuts are ball-shaped, and they do not have various angles. The flat-washer lug nuts are also known as the Mag type. These have a flattened fastener seat. The lug nut seat must match the seat in the wheels of your car for the lug nuts to be fastened tight and adequately.
The Thread Size
Also known as the thread diameter, this is the measurement of the wheel stud’s outer diameter. Some of the common thread sizes are- 12mm X 1.25, 12mm X 1.5, and 14mm X 1.5. The threaded area must not be lubricated with any material neither the studs nor the lug nuts should be oiled or lubricated to ensure the nuts will not be loosened easily.
The Thread Engagement
This is a technical topic but very important if you are going to buy lug nuts for your car. But you don’t have to worry about researching and learning about thread engagement since we have already simplified it for you. The only task for you is to make sure that you buy a lug nut with minimum threads equal to your vehicle’s stud size.
The tightening of the lug nut should be proper. The measurement of torque can be used as per the SAE recommended list for cars and light trucks. If the lug nuts are over tightened, they can pressure the lug bolts or wheel studs of your car. On the other hand, if the torque is less, then it can be dangerous to drive.
Types of Lug Nuts
The type of lug nut that is best suited for your car is hard to find if you have limited knowledge. Therefore, we will define nine types of lug nuts simplistically to make it a lot easier for you to choose the perfect lug nut. If you just realized that the lug nuts you have been using so far were not designed for your car, don’t worry! We have your back and a list that will lead you to the type of lug nut that complements your car and purpose. I hope you find the right lug nut after reading this article.
Conical Lug Nuts
Conical lug nuts are the most common type of lug nuts, which can be easily seen in different cars. The conical or cone-shaped lug seat can identify them. As mentioned in the section on types of fastener seats, these nuts are also called ‘acorn’ lug nuts due to their structural similarity with acorns’ shape. The seat is also tapering towards the end and becomes thinner, so these lug nuts are also called tapered seat lug nuts.
Although the names are different conical lug nuts are easy to identify and differentiate. Even if you have never noticed a lug nut, you can easily find these with a slight description. Also, conical lug nuts are easy to handle and use in cars. Installing a conical nut is extremely easy. The critical factor is that the lug nuts for aftermarket wheels and factory wheels are manufactured and sold differently.
You have to be more precise while purchasing lug nuts for factory wheels. The first and foremost aspect remains the size of the lug nut; you have to buy the right size of the conical lug nut to fit correctly. If any problem arises while installing a conical lug nut, check if it is the perfect size for your wheel stud.
The lug nut must be fastened with proper torque for your safety; they require a 19mm wrench for this task. If you are looking for a conical lug nut, make sure that your wheel stud is within your wheel’s 40mm range and not sticking out. These lug nuts work efficiently and are very durable when installed on the right type of wheels.
Spherical Lug Nuts
These are other commonly used lug nuts. Spherical lug nuts can be easily spotted on car wheels. Mostly they are referred to as wheel nuts and ball seat lug nuts. The various names given to these lug nuts can confuse you for a while, but once you are clear about what shape and type of lug nut you need, they are easy to identify. So pay a little attention, and you are ready to buy the proper fitting lug nut for your car wheels.
The identifying characteristic of these lug nuts is the spherical end or seat. The upper part of these lug nuts is identical to the head of the conical lug nuts. To keep the confusion aside, just look at the seat, and you are done. The rounded seat lug nuts are very useful and suitable for various cars and other vehicles. They are easy to install, and you can get familiar with the process in a short time.
They are easy to identify but can also be confused with conical lug nuts, so you must identify them differently as they both are very common. Spherical lug nuts are basic nuts, but they function very efficiently. Another advantage of these nuts is that the installation does not require any additional units like a washer, wheel lock key, etc. They are one of the best options if they perfectly fit the wheel stud of your car.
Mag Seat Lug Nuts
Mag seat lug nuts are quite different types of nuts. Once you look at these nuts, you can right away identify them based on their structure. They have a flat washer seat, which is characteristic of these nuts and perfectly fits the wheel seats. The installation becomes more convenient due to an extended thread, which allows better torque to be applied to the nut.
These lug nuts are often sold with paired washer nuts to help in easier and proper fastening. They can be used with regular flat seats or with an additional washer; the efficiency and the process of installation remain the same. Sometimes Mag seat lug nuts are also manufactured with inbuilt washers.
The name used for these lug nuts, ‘Mag,’ is not significant to its shapes or use, but it signifies the metal used in producing these nuts, i.e., magnesium. The flat seat characteristic makes these lug nuts inexpensive. Therefore, these lug nuts are economical, easy to handle, and efficient at their job.
Flat Seat Lug Nuts
Flat seat lug nuts are not as common as the conical or spherical alternative, but you can encounter these lug nuts many times. Like mag seat lug nuts, these fit perfectly to any surface while installing. The shape being the same, mag seat and flat seat lug nuts are commonly confused due to their similarities. The main difference between these two is that flat seat lug nuts are installed just like a washer, whereas mag seat lug nuts have an extended thread which has a flat end.
Another variation lies in the installation; mag seat is comparatively easier to fasten than flat seat lug nuts. But once you know the right technique to get the proper torque on a flat seat lug nut, the process becomes simple.
Generally, you can accomplish a mag seat lug nut’s task by using a flat seat lug nut and vice versa. Just get the right size of lug nut and required tools, and you are ready to install the lug nuts to your car wheels.
Extended Thread Lug Nuts
These lug nuts make life a little easier for people who work with cars regularly. The extended tread provides excellent grip and easier fastening of these lug nuts. If you have an option of purchasing an extended thread lug nut that perfectly fits your wheel stud, then go for it; you will not regret buying these. They are super easy to handle and install; the extended thread allows you to quickly tighten these nuts with your torque wrench without putting in the extra effort.
They are durable, and the chances of breaking an extended thread lug nut are very less. A lot of torque is produced very easily. But it is not always possible that extended thread lug nuts are preferable for your car or vehicle. So better to choose the right one rather than switching to an extended thread without considering the compatibility.
You need to make sure if these lug nuts can fulfill your needs before you fall for their ease of installation. Otherwise, these nuts are strong and made up of durable chrome vanadium steel.
Tuner Style Lug Nuts
These lug nuts are conical in shape; the seat is similar to conical lug nuts. But you will need a specific key with these tuner style lug nuts to remove them from the wheel studs. The key is mostly provided with the pack of these lug nuts or purchased separately. You can easily find these nuts and the key if they are suitable for your wheel studs; just know precisely what you want.
Generally, the tuner style lug nuts are available in 60 degrees tapered structure. You can make sure that the installation tool is available in the pack you are buying and your quest for the perfect lug nuts and additional tools end there. These lug nuts can be easily spotted in Gt-5 and BRM wheels, but they are also useful for other vehicles for different purposes.
Small Diameter Spline Drive Lug Nuts
These lug nuts are mostly used in aftermarket vehicles and cars manufactured by companies like Chevy, Ford, and Cadillac. These small diameter spline lug nuts vary in size and other aspects. The seat of these lug nuts is either conical in shape or have a spline curve-shaped groove. These nuts are fastened and removed using a special key. They have different numbers of spline drive towards the close end, for example- seven spline drive close end.
These nuts are commonly made up of cold-forged steel. If these lug nuts are suitable for your car wheels, you only need to buy a pack and start installing them. After getting the nuts and the required tools for the task, using the key to install the lug nuts is very easy. You can also figure out the size of the hex wrench you will need after choosing the perfect size of the lug nuts for your car. These small diameter spline lug nuts are very useful if you are looking for small size lug nuts.
Left-Hand Threaded Lug Nut
Some vehicles use the left-handed thread lug nuts like a few types of motorbikes or some vintage cars. A left-handed thread stamp can identify these as “L” or “LHT.” As most of the lug nuts are right-handed lug nuts, they are commonly available. On the other hand, left-handed thread nut is not much common, and finding them can be difficult. But you can always track the right place if needed.
Unlike right lug nuts, they cannot be available at every department store, but specific hardware stores can easily provide you with these left-hand threaded nuts. If you cannot find the right place, then looking for these nuts online can significantly help. You can order the exact size and type of left-hand threaded nut from a reliable website to ensure you get what you are looking for.
You can choose to replace these with right-handed nuts, but if you are obsessed with originality, then putting a little extra effort to find the same nuts is worth it. They are available in various shapes, sizes, and materials. Just keep the determination search a bit, and your vehicle can get the perfection you desire.
These bolts are useful for vehicles that have a flat rotor without any studs. This is not a typical case, but there might be situations when you have to work with cars or vehicles that do not have any stud in their wheels for attaching or securing things in place. This can be a bit confusing because we have been choosing the lug nuts as per the shape and size of the wheel stud, but here the studs are absent.
The lug bolts are a type of lug nut in which the studs are attached to it. You might not have encountered these lug bolts as they are not widely used. These bolts are standard in European classical vehicles but are not at all common in the Asian marketplace.
As instructed earlier, the first thing to keep in mind while choosing the lug bolts is the suitable size for your work. The lug bolts must not be too long or too short, or it can cause complications in the installation. While tightening the bolts, they might not fit correctly if there is any discrepancy in the size. So it is crucial to use the exact size recommended for the lug bolts. Again, if you feel confused about anything, just go on the internet and find the right information.
The list of all the possible lug nuts you might need ends here. These small units can change your driving experience and enhance the safety of the vehicle. Having basic knowledge about all these types of lug nuts can be proved very helpful in emergency situations.
If you own a car, it is crucial to identify the right lug nuts for your car. One never knows when you might get stuck on a road without any potential help. Wait for no one; just carry the right tools, and you are good to go. Or you might feel an urge to restore or modify your vehicle; we are glad to be of any help to you and give you the right piece of information.