Lugs, Nuts, and Bolts
Ever wondered what holds your wheels in place and prevents them from falling off? Well wonder no more, in this article we will go over Wheel Lugs, Lug Nuts, and Lug Bolts. Those three things are what securely hold a wheel in place. A vehicle can either use wheel lugs and nuts, or lug bolts but cannot be equipped to use all three at the same time.
Lugs and Nuts
Wheel lugs (also called wheel studs) are threaded rods that are enclosed in the wheel hub assembly. They can either be bolted down or pressed to the wheel hub assembly. As seen on the picture above, each wheel lug sticks out from the wheel hub assembly. The wheel is then placed over them and bolted in position using lug nuts. The lug nut (also called wheel nut) is a fastener and is used to secure the wheel to the car.
Lug nuts are available in different shapes, sizes, colors, and finishes. The flashier lug nuts are generally only available from 3rd party and aftermarket manufacturers. Locking wheel nuts are also available. These are very popular in areas where wheel theft is common and with people who want to protect their assets. Wheel locks are installed in place of your car’s regular lug nuts. They are very similar to lug nuts but require a unique key for installation and removal. Without the key, it is virtually impossible to remove the wheels. Wheel locks leave just enough room for the key to fit and don’t leave any space for a prying tool.
For cars not equipped with wheel lugs/studs, lug bolts (also called wheel bolts) exist. Lugs bolts are generally only seen on European vehicles (mainly German). Rods do not protrude out, instead the lug bolts thread into holes in the wheel hub assembly. There is a great deal of dislike in the automotive community because of how time-consuming changing a wheel and tire can be. The wheel must at the same time be held up and properly aligned with the holes in the wheel hub assembly before the lug bolts can be inserted.
Since no rods are protruding from the wheel hub assembly, there is nothing to hold the wheel up when threading the lug bolts. This is can be a great inconvenience if a single person were stranded on the highway with a flat tire.
For people who would like to switch, conversion kits are available for purchase from 3rd party and aftermarket companies. These are not recommended by car brand nor manufacturer.