Swollen Lug Nuts

sargeek

Adventurer
It seems my Tacoma has a personal problem. It's nuts are swollen. I was at the local independent shop, and they advised that I should replace the nuts on my Tacoma because the are swelling, and will be difficult remove with the OEM lug wrench. Should I be concerned, I have never had swollen nuts on a vehicle before?

Seriously - anyone else ever heard of this?
 

thethePete

Explorer
Yes. Very common with capped lug nuts. They use a thin chrome cap over the steel lug nut to give it a nice appearance. Dodge is famous for this, though I've done more than enough F150s too. Corrosion builds up between the chrome cap and the steel lug nut, and it's a compounding issue.

it is a good idea to change lug nuts when this happens 'cause you'll never get your socket on them.

The easiest way to get them off, since they usually swell so much that you can't get a socket on with a hammer; get a small, sharp chisel and split the lug nut down one edge, you should be able to grab the shell with a pair of pliers now and peel the shell out, that'll leave you with just the steel lug nut. You could just run them like this, but they're not capped, which is just asking for corrosion to seize them on.

If you can still hammer a socket on them to get them off then go that route first, it's a little eaiser, then use a punch to drive them back out of your socket.
 

GaryMc

Explorer
Interesting. My new'ish Tundra has capped lugs. Should I take a punch and get rid of the chrome caps? I hate chrome anyway.
 

Martyn

Supporting Sponsor, Overland Certified OC0018
A short course of broad spectrum antibiotics normally clears this up :sombrero:
 

thethePete

Explorer
I wouldn't peel the caps; the lug nut under them is typically open ended, and ugly. Just keep your rims clean when you're not in the bush, make sure you rinse out the holes where the lugs sit. They do keep the stud/lug nut clean by having that cap on them, but through being taken on and off a few times, the cap gets a tiny bit loose and corrosion and debris find their way in there to build up and swell it.

If you can get the lug nut off, it's easier to peel the shell off when it's off the vehicle, you can cut it with a rotary tool, or a sharp chisel. As I said, I don't recommend running the nut without the shell; open lug nuts look cool on a sports car, but I would dread taking them off a truck that has seen a few dozen water crossings etc. I know how stuck hub-centric nuts on medium duty trucks can get... I've had to put them back on sans-shell while we had parts on order from time to time though.

An ideal solution would be to go to an aftermarket capped lugnut that is solid material instead of having a shell on it. Make sure you stay the same size for the head though, many aftermarket lugnuts are smaller so they fit the bore of an aftermarket rim better. But really, if you kep your rims clean it shouldn't be a huge issue unless you're in the rust belt anyway.
 

FordGuy1

Adventurer
We throw away thousands of these type of lug nuts, Ford has the same crap and after a couple rotates they are junk. We replace them with Gorilla brand, and buy the Case hardened which are just a few cents more.
 

verdesardog

Explorer
Just go buy new ones that are the same outside dimensions as the original otherwise your lug nut wrench won't fit. I have found that there are several different nuts on the market, just because they have the same threads doesn't mean they will take the same size wrench.
 
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