with RV tire expert Roger Marble
This is Part 2 of how to ensure your lug nuts are tight enough, but not too tight. The first part covered the science and engineering behind the basics, as I am expecting that there will be a number of people who will say something along the lines of, “Roger, you are all wet. I’ve done it THIS way for years and never had a problem.”
You are certainly welcome to ignore my advice and continue with the methods you have used for years. My target audience is those who are still new to the RV life and do not have years of automotive or mechanical background or training, and those that want to ensure they do not end up with a wheel coming off their RV or breaking a wheel stud. OK, let’s jump in.
I am confident that no one wants a wheel of their car, RV, trailer or dolly to come off while traveling down the road as seen in THIS video. Or maybe even worse, to cause someone personal injury as seen HERE (Caution: graphic). (The man suffered a fractured skull and chest injuries.)
So what do we all need to do to prevent a wheel coming off one of our vehicles? It’s easy. Just make sure all of your lugs nuts are properly tightened and that the wheel or nuts or studs have not been previously damaged. Sounds simple enough but how do we do that?
First, you need to know how tight the nuts are supposed to be. This information should be in your Owner’s Manual.
You can check out this YouTube video, “How To Torque / Retorque Lug Nuts – For the DIY Beginner.” Note: I covered the sequence for setting or checking the torque depending on how many lugs you have on your vehicle in THIS blog post. One important point to consider: If you had service on your brakes or tires and someone else tightened the lug nuts, how do you know they did the job correctly? Many of us have heard about or experienced an over-tight lug nut, so I recommend you set the torque yourself, as seen in the video.
Then, when you are doing the recommended “torque check” at 50, 100 and 150 miles, you will know that you don’t have a nut that is significantly over-tight. Note: If your owner’s manual has different mileage for torque check, follow that. If you find a nut that turns after the 2nd check, keep an eye on it in the 3rd check, and if still turning, you need service as something is wrong.
Let’s review the tools you will need and which were seen in the video.
Remember this info is aimed at owners of RVs with tires smaller than 19.5″. So if you are in a Class-A you can read to understand what is happening to your “baby” when you call the service truck.
Tools: Torque wrench, 6-point socket of the correct size for your nuts, 2′ “breaker bar”, 12″ long 1/2″ drive extension to allow you to get to your dual wheel nuts. Note: Trailer owners may not need this tool.
You will probably not need to use these tools too often, so top-quality (expensive) is not needed. In those cases I head for Harbor Freight for low-cost tools.
Check these links:
6-point “impact”-rated socket – I recommend you not use a “12 point” socket as they are more likely to spin off or round off your nuts. You do not need to buy a set. You might want to confirm the size by borrowing a socket from a friend or fellow RV owner. Example: 13/16″ Lowe’s or Amazon.com
Note: It might be better to go to Lowe’s or similar as you do not need a set, but be sure to get the correct size, not something “close enough” or you can damage the lug nuts. Here is a 3/4″ socket from Lowe’s or Amazon.com.
Now, how do you get the tight nut off? A 2′ long breaker bar will make the job easier. This is what I use (from Harbor Freight), and I can easily generate 200 Ft-Lb. Here is a selection at Amazon.com.
OK, so with all the tools you may need now collected, how do you set your clicker torque wrench to the spec for your vehicle?
Here is a YouTube video to help those who have never used a torque wrench. And you can check out this “entertaining” YouTube video from a guy in Australia on “How to Tighten Your Wheel Nuts – The Right Way.”
We hope this helps, and if these couple of posts help a few RV owners avoid problems we will be happy.