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How To Torque Without A Torque Wrench

What happens when you’re borrowing your friend’s car, and you accidentally hit that big pothole you were trying to dodge?

One of your tires blew out.

Nothing to worry about, right? A new tire can be easily installed by you on your own.

torque wrench and tires

You won’t find the torque wrench in the trunk when you open it.

Where’s the torque wrench? Is there a plan of action?

There’s nothing to worry about as long as there’s nothing useful in the trunk (no lug wrench, no breaker bar, or any tools at all).

Towing agencies or friends with a suitable tool can help you in this situation.

There is a possibility that overtightening the lug nuts will strip the stud, or the lug nuts might not be tight enough.

It isn’t fun to replace lug studs or to look into the mirror and see the tire flying from under the car.

Are Torque Wrenches Required To Tighten Lug Nuts?

Many people use torque wrenches to tighten lug nuts.

Torque wrenches are definitely the best way to tighten lug nuts. Torque wrenches allow you to tighten lug nuts according to a torque value.

The tool allows fasteners to be tightened to the proper pressure, preventing overtightening or connections from coming apart as a result of under-tightening.

It is nevertheless possible to tighten the lug nuts with other tools and a torque wrench. The break bar and crossbar can be used.

Are Torque Wrenches Required To Tighten Lug Nuts

The equipment you will use will be less precise since you do not have a torque wrench.

Two options are given below.

Looking for a torque wrench? We built a guide that goes over numerous High-Quality Torque Wrenches that could help you make the right decision.

Cross-Bar Wrenches

You may want to start with a classic cross-bar wrench. Cross-bar wrenches are almost always kept in the glove compartment of every car.

Let’s follow these steps:

  • You should first make sure that you do not overtighten your lug nuts as this may damage the lug studs. The studs will need to be replaced if this happens.
  • It is best to double-check that the nuts are properly tightened to prevent the wheels from blowing off while moving.
  • Make sure the car is not running and that you have set the parking brake. When you use this setup, the automobile will not slip away from you as you handle the tires.
  • Make sure the crossbar wrench is tightly fixed to the nuts. Turn it counterclockwise with both hands and lean onto the right side of the door to release them.
  • Trying bouncing up and down on the right side of the wrench may help if stepping on the nuts doesn’t work.
  • When the nuts have finally come out of the tires, change them as quickly as possible. The cross-bar wrench must be used properly to tighten the lug nuts, and that’s the tricky part.
  • Once you complete the replacement, reapply the wrench over the nuts and torque them using both hands. Make sure they are not too loose.
  • It can be tightened if necessary, but not excessively. The nuts must be adjusted each time they are twisted.¬†
  • To make sure you have secured the nuts securely, press hard on the wrench.

Breaking Bars

Another fantastic way of fastening the lug nuts is by using a breaker bar. The breaker bar works on the same principle as the crossbar wrench. Considering you already understand you shouldn’t overtighten lug nuts, you could measure the amount of force you’re applying.

The instructions are simple as follows:

  • The breaker bar should first be stretched as far as possible. When it has reached the nuts, place it upon them. Apply the same standing technique to remove the lugnuts and start changing the tires. During this process, make sure your breaker bar is at the ready.
  • By getting the nuts loose with greater pressure, it requires less force from you due to the longer length.
  • Spin the breaker bar counterclockwise by gently bouncing it on the right side. You should be able to disassemble the wheels as a result of this approach.
  • In order to install the lug nuts after replacing the tires, you may not want to retain the bar extended. You may need to use less pressure if the bar is at its smallest length.
  • Rotate the bar in the opposite direction. By using screws of a shorter length, you’ll prevent overtightening and damaging threads.

It’s important to note that you cannot just twist the lug nuts by hand. Whenever you don’t know how much force you can use to tighten it, stand on it first.


Two methods are presented in this post for tightening lug nuts without a torque wrench. Make sure to follow every step in the lugnut installation process to ensure your safety. Tightening lug nuts can affect your driving safety.

However, you should use a torque wrench instead of the crossbar wrench and breaker bar, as they can work in place of each other.

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. If you need any further information, please feel free to ask.

Frequently Asked Questions

The use of a torque wrench to tighten lug nuts is still unpopular among car owners. This article contains their frequently asked questions. We hope the answers are helpful to you.

Are torque wrenches necessary for tire replacement?

A torque wrench does not have to be used. Every automobile comes with a spare jack and tire iron, enough to change a tire almost always.

Do I have to tighten the lug nuts all the way?

A wheel lug nut that is overtightened may damage the threads, damage the brake rotors, damage the wheel, or tear the stud off the wheel. A loose nut could fall and cause severe damage if not tightened correctly.

Is there a need to tighten the lug nuts after installing a new set of tires?

The nuts need to be tightened every time a tire needs to be replaced. The lug nuts must be torqued according to the manufacturers’ specifications. It is also recommended that you retorque the nuts after 50 to 100 miles of driving for optimum performance and safety.

Is a torque wrench required to fill the oil?

You should use a torque wrench and the manufacturer’s torque requirements the first time you change the oil.

Is a torque wrench really necessary?

Torque wrenches are an essential tool for anyone planning to perform any major engine work or repair any major powertrain components. Similarly, excessive tightening of cylinder-head bolts can cause costly damage and coolant leaks. The exhaust manifold can crack when the bolts are too tight. Sometimes for wheels, it’s hard to know. We wrote a full guide here going over if a Torque Wrench Necessary for Wheels.

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