The average car has thousands of parts in it. There are some, like the engine and transmission, that you know well. They’re widely regarded as some of the most important parts in a car. But there are other parts that are unheralded despite the essential roles that they play when it comes to the overall well-being of a car. Lug nuts would fall into that category. They don’t always get the respect that they deserve, and most people aren’t even sure what lug nut size they need when they need to have lug nuts replaced. You should change this by learning more about your car’s lug nuts and the key part that they play in it. Discover more about lug nuts below.
What Are Lug Nuts?
Before we start discussing lug nuts and lug nut size at length, you need to know what lug nuts. Some of you might be at least a little bit familiar with them, but not everyone knows exactly what they are. For those of you who aren’t sure, lug nuts are large nuts that are in charge of securing the wheels on a car to its axle. They keep the wheels steady at all times and prevent them from flying off when you’re driving around in your car.
If you ever have to remove any of the wheels on your car, either because they’ve gone flat or because they need to be replaced, you’re going to need to take your lug nuts off first before you do it. Otherwise, you’re not going to be able to get your wheels to move, no matter how hard you might try to remove them. Doing it is usually as simple as using the tire iron that came with your car. But if you don’t have one handy, you’ll have to find a wrench and a socket that is the right size based on your lug nut size.
Lug nuts might not seem like they’re anything special. But you could make the argument that they’re some of the most important pieces of hardware in your entire car. If you attempt to use the wrong lug nut size when putting lug nuts on your car or if you drive around with lug nuts, it could potentially prove to be catastrophic, either for you or for your car. It’s why you should be familiar with your lug nut size and know as much as you can about lug nuts in general.
Are Lug Nuts Universal?
One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about lug nuts right now is that they sometimes think that they’re universal parts. They mistakenly believe that all lug nuts are the same and that you can use any lug nuts on your car since they’re all the same size. But this couldn’t be further from the truth! Lug nuts are not universal, and there is no way that you should consider using whichever lug nuts you can find on your car at any point.
In reality, there are many different types of lug nuts out there in the world. Every car also uses a different lug nut size. As a result of this, you shouldn’t ever just buy any old lug nuts when you’re in the market for them and try to use them on your car. You could do quite a bit of damage to your car and possibly even put your safety at risk if you take this approach to lug nuts.
Instead, you should realize that all lug nuts are different and that your car has a very specific lug nut size that you need to use when replacing the lug nuts on your wheels. This will help you keep your wheels in place while you’re driving down the street. It’ll also stop any damage from being done to your wheels, your axles, or your lug nuts themselves.
What Are the Different Types of Lug Nuts?
As we just mentioned a moment ago, there are tons of different types of lug nuts that are used in vehicles. The next time you need to replace the lug nuts in your car, it’s going to be imperative that you seek out the specific type of lug nut that you need to get the job done. You could find yourself in a world of trouble if you try using the wrong type of lug nut in your car.
There are some types of lug nuts that you won’t see in cars very often. Some of the more advanced ones are only used on larger commercial vehicles. But even still, you should be familiar with as many of these types of lug nuts as you can. Here are the eight most common types of lug nuts available to you:
- Conical seat lug nuts
- Ball seat lug nuts
- Flat seat lug nuts
- Extended thread lug nuts
- Mag seat lug nuts
- Tuner style lug nuts
- Spline drive lug nuts
- Lug bolts
More often than not, the average car will have conical seat lug nuts used with its tires. These have turned into the most popular type of lug nuts over the years. But if you drive something like, say, a BMW, there’s a good chance that you’re going to have lug bolts as opposed to conical seat lug nuts. It really all depends on what type of car you drive at the moment.
Do Lug Nuts Come in Different Sizes?
We just spoke a lot about the different types of lug nuts that come in cars. But that’s not the only difference that you’re going to notice when you look at the lug nuts used in one car as opposed to the lug nuts used in another. You’re also going to find that the lug nut size will change from one car to the next. There isn’t one universal lug nut size that is used in all cars.
There are lug nuts that have different thread sizes than others. There are also lug nuts that have different thread pitches than others. In order to keep your wheels and your axles safe, you’re going to need to figure out what your lug nut size is and use the right lug nuts in your car. One false move could lead to the demise of your wheels and/or axles. It can also lead to you losing control of your car in some cases, which is why you want to educate yourself about the different lug nut sizes available to you and choose the right one every time.
What Are the Most Common Lug Nut Sizes?
At this point, we hope that you understand just how important it is to use the right lug nut size in your car. But what you might still be wondering about is what the most common lug nut sizes are. There are actually a bunch of them that you should learn about prior to finding out which lug nut size is the correct one for your car.
Check out some of the most common lug nut sizes below. Keep in mind that the first number listed here represents the thread sizes for lug nuts while the second one represents the pitch of the lug nuts:
- 10mm x 1.25
- 12mm x 1.25
- 12mm x 1.50
- 12mm x 1.75
- 14mm x 1.25
- 14mm x 1.50
- 14mm x 2.0
- 7/16” x 20
- 1/2” x 20
- 9/16” x 20
As you can see, there is far from one universal lug nut size. The sizes vary up and down the board and can change from one model year to the next when it comes to the sizes used in individual vehicles. It’s your responsibility to find the lug nut size that fits in your car and use that one.
Which Lug Nut Size Do You Need for Your Car?
If you’re in need of new lug nuts for your car and you don’t know what the right lug nut size is, you might not have the slightest clue which lug nuts to buy. It can be a confusing process! If you have something like a 2005 Chrysler 300, then you’re going to need to get your hands on 14mm x 1.5 lug nuts. But if you have a 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser, then you’re going to need to acquire 12mm x 1.5 lug nuts. What gives?
Thankfully, it shouldn’t be too tough to track down the right lug nut size for your car as long as you’re willing to do a little bit of research on your end. There are some websites, like this one, that lay out which lug nut size you’ll need for your specific car. You can also consult your owner’s manual to see what it has to say about your lug nut size. Or you can even ask your mechanic to provide you with some more information on what your lug nut size might be. They can check out your lug nuts in most cases and tell you.
But whatever you do, don’t just guess which lug nuts you need for your car and stick whatever size seems to work onto your car. If you guess wrong and don’t choose the right lug nut size, it could take a huge toll on your car in no time at all.
What If You Use the Wrong Lug Nut Size for Your Car?
If you try to get the wrong lug nut size to work on your car, you might be successful at first. If you happen to choose a size that’s slightly too small or too large for your wheels, you may be able to shoehorn it in and make it work. But it’s not going to be very long before buying the wrong lug nut size for your car will come back to bite you. You’re going to pay for it in a big way in most instances.
You could do damage to your lug nuts, your wheels, your axles, or some other aspect of your car by using the wrong lug nut size. You could also put yourself into a position where you’re forced to drive around in a car that’s unstable due to the extra pressure that lug nuts that are the wrong size might put on your car. This could cause you to lose control of your car if you’re not careful.
Can You Drive a Car With Missing Lug Nuts?
If you ever lose a lug nut for one reason or another and notice that your car is without it, you might be tempted to drive around in your car anyway. This is going to be especially true when you’re not even sure which lug nut size you need to replace it.
At first, driving in a car with a single missing lug nut might not be the end of the world. But that missing lug nut is going to begin to put too much pressure on your wheels before long, and things are likely going to end badly if you don’t do something about it. The pressure change that takes place with your wheel might cause damage to everything from your wheel bearing to your wheel studs. And you might even start to lose more lug nuts before everything is all said and done.
With this in mind, you should shy away from driving around on a wheel with a missing lug nut. You should replace the missing lug nut as soon as possible instead while using the right lug nut size. It’ll protect you and your car and keep your wheels on tight.
Where Can You Buy Lug Nuts?
If you’re in the market for lug nuts at the moment, you should be able to pick them up at almost any auto parts store. Auto parts stores carry most of the major types of lug nuts and should have the right lug nut size for you. They should also be able to help you figure out which lug nut size you need to buy for your specific car.
Don’t delay buying lug nuts if you need them for your vehicle. You’ll steer clear of encountering any trouble when you buy new lug nuts for your car, and as a bonus, you’ll always know your exact lug nut size from now on once you’ve gone through the process of purchasing them. That alone might be reason enough to invest in new lug nuts for your car.