A broken wheel stud on any vehicle compromises the safety of you, the passengers in your car, and other drivers on the road. Since a broken stud puts excessive stress on the wheel and causes damage to other car parts, driving is not safe to do.
Alternatively, the best course of action is to contact a mechanic so that they can make the necessary repairs.
Now that you know what you should or should not do, here is some more invaluable information about the causes of these broken parts, the best fixes, and how to determine the right size for your vehicle.
What causes wheel studs to break off?
Even though wheel studs are made of hard steel, the condition of each stud is still subject to failing to do its job. There are many causes of a wheel stud sustaining damage and breaking off completely.
Here are three of the most common causes that everyone should become familiar with.
1. Under-torquing or Over-torquing
Sometimes the wheel studs on a vehicle will break off whenever a person is driving with a loose wheel. This loose wheel may be due to at least one of two problems, under torquing or over-torquing the lug nuts when a tire has been installed.
Simply put, if the mechanic uses too much force when tightening the lug nuts, the wheel studs may break.
2. Threads on the wheel stud are damaged by an improper installation
Every so often, the threads of wheel studs may be damaged by someone who does an improper installation. For instance, whenever a new tire is installed, it must be done carefully to prevent the possibility of damage to the threads on the wheel stud.
If not, the threads on the wheel stud can easily be stripped, especially if the person forgets to hand thread the lug nut on the stud (i.e. uses a minimum of 4 rotations to make sure the lug is properly attached) before using a power tool to tighten it securely.
3. Rust on the wheel studs
Another common cause of a wheel stud breaking off is rust. Though many wheel studs are highly resistant to rust and made of steel, it is still possible for rust to form on these components.
For instance, if the wheel stud is exposed to salt water or sodium chloride from melting ice in the winter season, the steel can corrode and may need to be replaced by a certified mechanic.
Can you drive a car with one wheel bolt missing?
You may be able to drive a car with one wheel bolt missing. However, you must drive safely at legal speeds while you are on the roads.
And, your first trip should be to your local mechanic. Your mechanic should install a new wheel bolt before you drive to other places.
If you continue to drive with the missing wheel bolt, you will be putting more pressure on the other wheel studs which could cause them to fail, too.
How much does it cost to fix a broken wheel stud?
If one or more of your wheel studs has been stripped, damaged, or broken, they will need to be replaced. The cost to replace a wheel stud normally ranges between $100 to $125, and in most shops, it only takes about 30 minutes to fix.
Are wheel studs the same?
No, not all wheel studs are the same. There is more than one type of wheel stud that’s available on the market today. This is because wheel studs can vary in size, length, tread pattern, and diameter. The type of wheel stud is also determined by the vehicle type.
How do I know my wheel stud size?
When you decide to replace your wheel studs, you need to find the exact size. You can find this information by using a vernier caliper.
A vernier caliper will provide you with the exact size so that you purchase its replacement. Here are the measurements that you will need.
Also, you can take a loom in your car user manual, you’ll find valuable info regarding this aspect there.
- length of the stud
- threaded shaft diameter
- diameter of the collar or the knurl of the bolt ( the area that is under the head of the stud)
Driving a vehicle with a broken wheel stud is unsafe for both the driver and their passengers. If you have a broken wheel stud, you will need to replace it right away.
This will ensure that you will not have any safety issues, but also protect other components of your vehicle.
A certified mechanic can inspect each stud on all four wheels. This inspection will ensure there is no rust, damage to threads, or any other problems that will cause the stud to break off.