DIY Car Maintenance Tips You Can Handle: Replace a Broken Wheel Stud

Wheel studs keep the wheels attached to the hub. Naturally, wheel studs undergo pressure and can become exhausted or worn over time. If you purchase a used vehicle from buy here pay here auto dealers these issues will have been taken care of as part of their inspection, but if you went with a private sale you may need to do some DIY work on the wheel studs. Some of the most common problems are when there is visible damage to the threads and when there is rust accumulating on the stud itself.

The first part of replacing a stud is to prepare the car and your work area.

  1. Ensure you have your car parked on a hard and flat surface. Put the car in park if it has an automatic transmission or in first gear if it has a manual transmission.
  2. For the tires that will be staying on the ground, put wheel chocks around them, and engage the parking brake to ensure the tires are not going to be moving.
  3. Use your tire iron to loosen up the lug nuts only; do not remove them just yet.
  4. Find the jacking point locations and position the jack stands under those points.
  5. Elevate the car using a floor jack made to support the weight range your vehicle falls under. Raise the car until you have the wheels all the way off the ground.
  6. It is recommended that you use gloves as well as safety glasses for this next step where you will separate the lug nuts away from the wheel studs. Using a tire iron is the best way to go about doing this.
  7. Use a sticker or marking mechanism to indicate which wheel is which if you have to remove more than one of them.
  8. If applicable, you will need to take off the front brakes by detaching the bolts that mount the brake caliper. Separate the caliper and use a rope or bungee cord to attach it to the frame. Remove the rotor for the brakes, which may require the use of rotor wedge screws to push the rotor away from the wheel hub.
  9. Detach the hubcap from the wheel after putting a drain pan or something similar underneath. Drain the bearings of any oil that may be in there as well as any grease that might come out. Look for a locking ring by locating the tabs that need to be forced back; you can use a hammer and chisel to do this part. Remove the hub and make sure not to lose the tapered bearing that comes out.
  10. Locate and detach the wheel seal and use a seal remover tool to take it off the hub. Inside the wheel hub, remove the bigger bearing from the hub.
  11. Flip over the wheel hub and pop out the studs. Wipe down the threads inside the mounting holes. Discard the broken wheel stud. It is recommended that all studs be replaced.
  12. Flip the hub over once again so you have the seal facing you. Pop the new wheel studs into the splined holes with your hammer. Ensure they are seated all the way in.
  13. Lubricate all the bearings that are in acceptable condition with the oil or grease that came with it, and attach it into the wheel hub. If you previously had gear oil in the wheel hub, you will need to fill it up again. Put the bearing onto the spindle and inside of the wheel hub.
  14. Secure the wheel hub to its spindle by placing the outer lock nut on. Make sure it is all the way down and tight and then back it off using the torque wrench. Make sure to torque the nut as specified.
  15. Using the new gasket, detach the center plug and fill it with oil until the oil runs dry. Replace the plug and be sure to spin the hub at least five times so that it will fill all the way up.
  16. Attach the caliper along with the brake pads back onto the rotor. Secure the bolts on the caliper. Place and tighten down the lug nuts with the tire iron.
  17. Take the jack stands out and place them away from the car.

Make sure to take a test drive and look out and listen for any weird noises or vibrations. Once done with the test drive, perform a recheck on the lug nuts and make sure there is no new damage to the wheels or studs.

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