What Causes Wheel Studs to Break Off

Wheel studs keep the wheel and disc brake assembly aligned. Breakage of wheel studs can be quite serious. Let’s find out what causes wheel studs to break off and what you can do about it in the article below.

The primary purpose of wheel studs is to secure the tires and the wheel in your vehicle safely.

The number of wheel studs may vary from one vehicle to another. 

Most cars, SUVs, and trucks found in the United States have four to six-wheel studs on each wheel hub. People think that these steel studs will not wear and tear with time. But in reality, wheel studs are just like any other mechanical part of the car, prone to wear and tear with usage and age.

This article discusses wheel studs and some of the common reasons why these steel studs break. Continue reading this article for more information.


What Causes Wheel Studs to Break Off

What Causes Wheel Studs To Break Off?

The wheel studs are exposed to different environmental conditions, which affects these steel studs, leading to wear and tear that finally causes their breakage. 

However, there could be various other reasons why wheel studs may break. For example, if your technician does not fit them appropriately or if the lug nuts are loose or over tightened, it affects your wheel studs.

Is It Safe To Drive a Vehicle With Broken Wheel Studs?

It’s not safe to drive a vehicle with a broken steel stud because if one Stud is broken, it puts extra pressure on the remaining studs, which will cause the others to break as well. 

The wheel will wobble and finally separate from your vehicle, which is dangerous for the driver and others on the road.


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Top Five Reasons For Wheel Studs To Break Off

#1. Rusty Studs

Rusty studs are one of the reasons for the breakage of steel studs in your vehicle. Your wheel studs mainly consist of stainless steel, which prevents the studs from rusting

However, it does not prevent the studs completely from oxidation. The wheel studs may rust when the vehicle runs in saltwater or road in which salts are used to melt the ice. 

If your wheel stud has become corroded, removing the lug nuts without causing any damage becomes difficult.

If you are staying in places like New England, where there is heavy snow and rain, then your studs are exposed frequently to road salts. So you need to check your wheel studs within a regular interval. If you see some signs of rust, then it’s better to replace the Stud with a new one.

A steel stud may cost you between $80 to $100. The labor cost is about $65, and the rest is your wheel stud. You can even replace the wheel stud on your own if you can learn the skills. But if you are not confident of doing it, it’s best to replace the studs with a professional mechanic.

Here’s a video that explains how to do it:


#2. Improper Tightening Of Studs

Some people tighten the lug nuts at home without using a proper tool, which can cause the wheel stud to break. You need to use the torque wrench to tighten the wheel stud. If you don’t have a torque wrench, it’s wise to take your vehicle to the nearby mechanic as soon as possible.

Another thing you need to remember is if you have not used the proper tool and the steel stud has broken, then never hammer it out. Hammering can destroy your vehicle’s wheel bearings, and you have to deal with a high repair bill.


What Causes Wheel Studs to Break Off


#3. Damaged Threads

The lug nuts are fastened to the steel studs so that the wheels are in their proper place. The threads of lug nuts are the same as that of the wheel studs. 

But sometimes, the threads may get, which results in breaking the steel stud. It happens mainly because of two reasons. The reasons are as below.

Improper Installation

Lug nuts are hand threaded. It usually needs a minimum of four rotations to attach to the steel studs safely. But some of the technicians or car owners often forget this while changing the tires on one side of the car and quickly tightening the lug nuts. It results in the breakage of studs.

Cross Threading Of Lug nut Into Stud

Cross-threading of lug nuts onto wheel studs happens when the professional mechanics hurry and use the wrong wrenches to tighten the studs. 

To avoid this, you need to be sure that the lug nuts are correctly installed. You need to tighten the lug nut slowly onto the steel stud until it reaches the hub of the wheel.

#4. Missing Lug Nut

If the lug nut is broken or missing on one wheel, it creates uneven pressure on the wheel hub. Consequently, the wheel studs break, and the wheel gets separated from the vehicle.

#5. Hitting Objects

When the wheel stud hits a pothole, curbs, or any other objects directly, there are chances of breakage or bending of the wheel stud. However, many SUVs, trucks, and cars these days come with hub caps so that any sharp objects will not directly hit the metal studs.

#6.Daily Stress

When you use the car for ages, it puts stress on the metal studs, another reason for the breakage.

Answers To More Questions About Wheel Studs

#1. Why do my studs keep breaking?

The wheel studs are exposed to different environmental conditions. It may be the primary reason for breakage. However, other factors like under-tightening of lug nuts, over-torquing lug nuts, or improper installation can break the metal studs.

#2. Is it ok to drive with broken metal studs?

No, it is not safe to drive with a broken metal stud. It is so because once the wheel stud breaks, it puts additional pressure on the remaining studs and causes them to break. As a result, the wheel separates from the vehicle, which can cause serious accidents.


What Causes Wheel Studs to Break Off


#3. How long do wheel studs last?

The wheel studs consist of metal. So they should last a lifetime. But in actuality, they undergo wear and tear for years. So once you observe the broken or corroded Stud or stripped out threads on the wheel stud, you need to replace it with new studs.


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Wrap Up

Tires play an essential part in your car because it is the only component that touches the road’s surface. So, they should be in perfect condition all the time. Numerous things make the tire functional. 

The most vital part of the wheel is metallic studs. These studs go through the back of the disc brake rotor and the tire rims and are tightened by lug nuts. 

If these studs are not tightened properly, then the wheel can’t stay on a vehicle. If you drive your car in such a condition, then the wheel may wobble and get separated from the car, which can cause deadly accidents on the road.

In this article, I have outlined various reasons for the breakage of a metal stud. I hope it will help you diagnose the problem related to the wheel stud in your vehicle. 

Remember that once you find any issues with the metal stud, take your vehicle to the professional mechanic nearby your location and resolve the problems as soon as possible. 

It’s not wise to drive your car with broken metal studs as it can cause accidents on the road.

Please do share your suggestions for this article. I would love to read your suggestions in the comment section.


Happy Driving!

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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