Harley Rider

Lug Nut Torque Problems At Dealer Service

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I've had great service at my Lexus dealer for the past 8 years of Lexus ownership, but for some reason the mechanics don't seem to give a rat's hind end about proper torque on lug nuts, even after I brought it to the attention of my service rep.

Last fall I had one heck of a time breaking some of the lug nuts loose when I swapped my summer tires/wheels for the winter ones. My air impact wouldn't budge some of them (125psi compressor). I always step-torque up to 76 ft/lbs, but the mechanic at the dealership obviously went much farther than that. I mentioned that to my service rep and he insisted that they used 85 ft/lb torque sticks on their impact wrenches.

Just changed back to summer wheels/tires this morning. Loosened with a digital torque wrench checking each nut at 75 lbs, then increasing in 5 lb increments until one loosened, continuing until all five started to rotate. One broke loose at 85 lbs, one at 90, one at 95, the rest anywhere from 110 to more than 150 - the maximum my torque wrench could be set at. This is on a car that was just serviced last week - including brake inspection and tire rotation. So, I can't believe they used an 85 lb torque stick. (How accurate are those things, anyway?)

I'd have been really unhappy if I had to change a tire at night in the rain (or any time, for that matter) with nuts tightened to more than 150 lbs. Plus, I can only imaging what the torque disparity is doing to my rotars. Looks like I'm going to have to take a torque wrench with me to check all 20 lug nuts before I leave the dealership after each service.

Gonna change the wheels on my GX Wednesday. We'll see if they have the same problem.

Anyone else have this problem? Or, is it just me?

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No, it's not just you. I've had both the Lexus dealer and their separate body shop tighten lug nuts so tightly that I could not loosen them with a breaker bar let alone the lug wrench in the tool kit.

Last fall, the Lexus dealer body shop removed the rear wheels of my 2000 LS400 to reinstall the rear mud flaps after an $8,000 rear end repair including bumper replacement. On a Saturday morning a few days after I got the car back, I tried to remove my summer wheels/tires so that I could install my winter wheels/tires. I couldn't get a single one of the 10 rear lug nuts to budge with my breaker bar. Luckily, the body shop has a skeleton staff and I zoomed to the shop and had them loosen the lug nuts.

I think the phrase you were searching for was "They don't seem to give a rat's !Removed!."

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Lexus dealers aren't the only one who over torque. Sears, NTB etc., over torque frequently due to the type of gun they use. Your best bet would be to use a little anti-seize paste on your studs. It will help you break easily.

I remember when i worked for a local Infiniti Dealer most of the techs would use torque sticks but the Tire and Lube guy wouldn't bother. He was eventually fired for a different reason but we would complain about it a lot.

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I started this post three years ago, but the issue hadn't improved. If anything, it's gotten worse. My local Lexus service folks don't seem to be the answer anymore -- maybe they never were, I just presumed that it's Lexus, so they have a higher standard.

Last month I took my wife's GS in for service and launched a complaint with the new service manager about wheel nut torque. I'm convinced that improper impact wrench use was the direct cause of warped front rotors, which I then replaced with top quality rotors -- by an independent shop. (The independent shop also fixed a noise in the front end that the Lexus shop never fixed in three trips. I suggested that Lexus replace the sway bar bushings, but they always said they were fine. I told my independent shop to replace them. They did and the problem was solved.)

So, when I took the GS in I specifically asked them to hand torque the lug nuts and that was written on the order in large letters. When I got home, I set my torque wrench at 80 pounds to check the 76 pound torque. Nothing moved at 80, a couple moved at 85, a couple more at 90, and the highest one finally moved at 110. So much for hand torquing. 

I took my GX in today and again asked for hand torque. This time I watched the service from the customer lounge and saw the tech take the wheels off, move front to back, etc, and immediately reinstall them --- without ever even checking the brakes!! So much for a $150.00 service and "inspection". Then I watched as the tech ran down all the lug nuts with an impact wrench with a straight socket on it, not even a torque stick. I immediately went to the service manager, then the general manager, to express my displeasure. They had the tech pull the wheels, inspect the brakes, then hand torque the lugs. This time he ran them down "some" with an impact wrench, lowered the truck to the ground and apparently checked them with a torque wrench. It appeared that he did have to add torque to some, and he did a second round on each wheel to check them, but that's not the way I would have done it.

My concern is, if this is happening to me, when I am obviously checking them, what are they doing to unsuspecting customers who don't know a lug nut from a walnut?

Does anyone have a recommendation for a GOOD Lexus shop or mechanic in south-east Michigan?

P.S. I had some unplanned work done by Lexus of Kingsport, Tennessee while on vacation recently, and they were great. I couldn't have asked for better customer service. 

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Afraid I don't live in that area so won't be able to help you with another shop.  Toyota services Lexus cars/trucks so you should consider taking your vehicles there.

Regarding the torquing your wheels, learned a very important lesson a couple of months ago.  The body-shop I used to install the read difuser on the R8 decided not to tighten my rear wheels.  I drove the car for a couple of days before one of the wheels almost came off... Love you, Total Recon Auto Center in Rockville, MD!!!  anyway, after being embarrassed by Ferrari and Jaguar owners on social media, a couple of my friends made me realize as a car-guy it's our responsibility not to depend on others to verify your vehicle is safe. The big shops like Lexus are kind-off obligated to work/fix your car since their reputation is on the line (within the community as well as Lexus/factory).  Best advise, stick with Lexus or Toyota as they will work on your car for free if they fudge the job, and the indies might not.

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