Your Guide to Replacing Broken Lug Nuts During Auto Mechanic’s School

how to become a mechanic
Designed to fit over wheel studs, lug nuts ensure wheels stay fixed to the vehicle. Naturally, lug nuts are made to withstand great amounts of pressure, but they may eventually cause drivers problems down the road. In some cases, defective lug nuts are a matter of poor installation or a quick fix. Other times, studs and nuts begin to show the wear and tear of miles on the road.

Regardless of the particular issue, defective lug nuts can be dangerous and costly—and should receive the attention of trained auto mechanics. For auto experts, replacing lug nuts is fairly simple, but it requires a few careful steps.

Are you curious to know how to replace broken lug nuts during automotive training? Keep reading for a how-to guide.

Auto Experts Identify the Problem and Remove the Lug Nuts

Lug nuts might pose different problems that will determine the appropriate recourse for mechanics. Often times, auto experts will spot a problem in the thread pattern that fits wheel studs into lug nuts. This is a common result of poor—or do-it-yourself—mechanic work during an installation or an oil change. Fixing lug nuts hastily or with improper tools can result in cross-threading, with the grooves in the lug and stud misaligning. Rust and stud breaks are also common, and will similarly require the removal of lug nuts holding everything in place.

With a better sense of the problem, mechanics can gather the proper tools and replacement materials. Most thorough fixes require a change of both the bolt and the stud. The first step is loosening the lug bolts with a wrench. With the nuts off, mechanics then jack the car up and pull off the tire.

Lug nut replacement follows the first few steps of replacing a flat tire
Lug nut replacement follows the first few steps of replacing a flat tire

Mechanics Know How to Remove the Caliper, Rotor, and Studs

The next step is removing the brake caliper with a socket wrench. Graduates of auto technology school know not to remove the bolts with the rubber bushing that hold the caliper together, but the larger bolts securing the caliper to the vehicle. To prevent unnecessary strain on the brake line, mechanics should always hook the unfastened caliper to the vehicle with a wire or a bungee cord. With the caliper off, mechanics then remove the caliper’s mounting bracket and the rotor.

Mechanics now have a clear view of the hub flange and stud. Broken or rusty studs may be removed with a hammer and metal punch, tapping them out of their sockets. Studs will come out when the wheel is turned to align the stud socket with the clearing in the hub phalange behind it. Naturally, hammering on stubborn studs should be done with care, so as not to damage other working studs—or any other part of the vehicle.

Graduates of Auto Technology School Ensure a Durable Fix

Durable fixes are a priority for anyone learning how to become a mechanic. Since lug nut problems often arise from poor mechanic work, clients will be looking for an expert solution to avoid further costs and headaches. Once old studs are out and new ones are placed in their sockets, the head of the new stud must be tightened flush with the hub flange. This is accomplished with a larger temporary nut around the stud, allowing mechanics to grip the stud with a wrench—and pull the stud’s head flush with the hub phalange.

Once the stud is secured tightly in place, mechanics reverse the dissembling process, adding the rotor and brake caliper. Once the tire is back on, new lug nuts may be secured to the new studs. Auto experts are always sure to thread the nuts by hand first, ensuring proper alignment before they are tightened in a star pattern. This attention to detail helps mechanics earn a reputation for solid work, avoiding the quick fixes that often cause lug nut trouble in the first place!

Durable fixes help ensure customer loyalty
Durable fixes help ensure customer loyalty

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