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Tighten Wheel Lug Nuts Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your wheel lug tightening? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard to get a fair cost estimate for your wheel lug tightening.
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John Davis
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does it cost to tighten lug nuts?

Fortunately, it’s pretty inexpensive to tighten the lug nuts—if you’re charged at all! The average total cost for the service is $50. Many auto shops will check or retorque your lug nuts for free if you’re getting other services.
How long does it take to tighten wheel lug nuts? It doesn’t take long to tighten the wheel lug nuts. A mechanic can usually do it in 15-30 minutes.
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do I need for tightening my car's wheel lug nuts and how much do those parts cost?

You don’t need many tools to retorque the nuts: 
  • Lug nuts: You’ll only need to buy replacement nuts if they’re stripped or rusted. A pack of lug nuts costs around $10 to $20.
  • Torque wrench and lug wrench: These each cost around $10 to $20.
You don’t need new parts unless the lug nuts have been stripped and you need replacements. If you do need new lug nuts, some popular brands include Gorilla Automotive, McGard, and DPAccessories. You can purchase them from local auto part stores such as AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts, or from online retailers such as Amazon or Tire Rack.
If you’ve got a well-stocked garage, reach for your impact wrench to tighten the lug nuts—just be careful not to over torque the nuts.
If you’re replacing your wheel’s lug nuts, feel free to use aftermarket replacements. Since these don’t have mechanical parts, there’s really no difference between OEM and aftermarket nuts.
You don’t need new parts unless the lug nuts have been stripped and you need replacements. As long as you have a torque wrench, you’re good to go! You can buy one at a local auto parts store like AutoZone or Advanced Auto Parts or order one online.
If you do need to purchase new lug nuts, you can order them from brands such as Gorilla Automotive, McGard or DPAccessotires from auto part stores like AdvancedAuto Parts or online retailers such as Amazon or Tire Rack.

Where can I get my car's wheel lug nuts tightened?

If you don’t have a torque wrench or the inclination to tighten the lug nuts yourself, no worries! Head to your favorite mechanic or dealership service center. If you’re a regular customer, they might offer to check and tighten the lug nuts for free.
If you don’t have a preferred mechanic, we can help! Check out Jerry's
GarageGuard™
, our free car maintenance app that helps you choose a repair service from over 2,500 vetted shops in the US. You can compare fair price estimates and read customer reviews.
Look at a few of our vetted shops below and download the app to compare car repair quotes near you.
115 Reviews
On The Go Tires
address
(Mobile repair service), Fort Myers, FL
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$75
151 Reviews
The Import Doctors
address
7520 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$180
150 Reviews
Sam's Automotive
address
23035 Douglas Ct #120, Great Falls, VA
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$99
120 Reviews
Goodyear Auto Service - Waco
address
5601 Bosque Blvd, Waco, TX
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$0
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How will a mechanic tighten my car's lug nuts?

You might be surprised at how fast a mechanic can do this procedure. Here’s the simple step-by-step process of how they’ll tighten the lug nuts:
  1. Raise the vehicle (optional): If you’re replacing the wheels, raise the vehicle using a floor jack and jack stands.
  2. Optional wheel work: Install the wheels if you’re fixing a tire or replacing the set. 
  3. Tighten the lug nuts by hand: Don’t use lubrication or anti-seize compound at this point. If you raised your vehicle, you can lower it just until the wheels touch the ground.
  4. Tighten the lug nuts with a lug wrench or socket wrench: Typically, you work in a criss-cross or star pattern to tighten the wheel lug nuts until they’re holding the wheel. This way, stress is applied evenly.
  5. Torque in a specified pattern: Read the manufacturer’s specifications to find the pattern you should follow and the proper torque for your vehicle. Most give these in foot per pound (ft-lb). Use the torque wrench and tighten the lug nuts until you hear the wrench click. Remember to work in the pattern so you apply even pressure.
Keep in mind: If you don’t have your owner’s manual handy and you’re changing the rims on your car, look at the rim certificate to find the new torque values.

What happens if I don’t retorque my tires?

Driving with loose lug nuts isn’t a good idea. If a nut is loose or missing, there’s more pressure on the wheel, which can damage the wheel assembly. The loose nuts could fall off while you’re driving, and, in the worst-case scenario, you could lose a tire while you’re on the road! 
If you drive with lug nuts that are too tight, you could strip the threads on the nuts and wheel studs. Over time, this stretches the studs so that they weaken and are more likely to break.
Long story short, your car’s wheel lug nuts like to be tightened to just the right torque setting.

What is lug nut retorquing?

Any time a car wheel has been removed and put back on, the lug nuts that secure the wheel have to be tightened or torqued. It’s a simple process in which the mechanic tightens the wheel lug nuts to your car’s torque specs using a torque wrench.
The mechanic shouldn’t use lubrication or an air wrench to do the job as they risk damaging the wheel assembly.

When should I tighten my lug nuts?

When it doubt, check them out! Here are a few signs that it’s time to tighten the lug nuts:
  • After getting wheel work done: If you’ve changed a flat tire or gotten new wheels, for instance, get the lug nuts tightened after you’ve driven 50 to 100 miles on the new or repaired wheels.
  • Nuts are loose: Try to turn the lug nuts with your fingers. If you can turn them, they need to be tightened. 
  • Wheel noise: You may hear clunking or rattling sounds from the wheels if the nuts are very loose.

How often should lug nuts be tightened?

Check the lug nuts every time your car has regular maintenance and retorque them after you get work done on the wheels or get new tires. Plan on tightening the lug nuts after driving 50 to 100 miles on new or replacement wheels.

Can I tighten my own lug nuts?

It’s a fairly easy DIY to tighten your car’s wheel lug nuts with a torque wrench. You don’t have to have a floor jack and jack stands unless you plan on doing a tire change and then tightening the wheel lug nuts. 
Make sure you know your wheels’ torque specifications so you don’t over or under-tighten the nuts.

FAQs

Most lug nuts last between five and fifteen years. Over time, the lug nuts can start to rust and the steel expands, which means they won’t torque correctly. 

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.