Best Lug Nuts: Keep Your Car’s Wheels Secure
If your car’s lug nuts are looking worse for wear, it’s time to replace them
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It's easy to lose track of the small bits and pieces in your vehicle, including the lug nuts. These tiny wheel parts can be overlooked by those who choose to focus on a vehicle's more vital components, but they shouldn’t be. They have the important role of keeping your tires connected to the hub. We’ve created this guide to help you choose the best lug nuts for your wheels.
Gorilla Automotive Narrow Acorn Black Lug Kit
- Scratch- and corrosion-resistant finish
- Relevant socket tool is included with the set for convenient and easy installation
- Shipped loose in a plastic bag with no protection for a painted finish
- Only available in sets of 20, so you might end up with some left over
DPAccessories D3116 Acorn Lug Nuts
- Features triple chrome plating for corrosion-resistant strength and classic style
- Conveniently available in a wide range of pack sizes, including single lug nuts
- Installation instructions are not included
- Will not fit factory OEM aluminum wheels for Honda, Toyota, or Lexus
Muteki SR48 Open End Lug Nut Set
- Individual nuts weigh less than 2 ounces
- Available in a range of different colors, including black, purple, and neon chrome
- Paint finish is easily damaged during the fitting and general use and does not last very long
- Lug nuts may experience rusting relatively fast
Best Lug Nuts: Reviews & Recommendations
These stylish acorn-style lug nuts with a matte black finish are 1.36-inches tall and only 0.8-inches wide. They’re much narrower and more lightweight than standard factory OEM-issued alternatives. They’re also precision engineered in chrome vanadium steel for maximum durability, and the black paint job is remarkably scratch- and corrosion-resistant.
Indeed, despite being shipped loose in a plastic bag with no internal packaging, we found no notable chips or signs of damage. These lug nuts are available in 12mm x 1.25 and 12mm x 1.5mm thread sizes but only in lots of 20, which might end up being slightly too many or slightly too few for your individual needs.
A socket tool is also included in the set, so you don’t need to worry about finding or buying one with the right fit.
These closed-end, acorn-shaped lug nuts are a popular choice with Ford owners who need to replace their factory OEM lug nuts that have swollen and rusted under the chrome plating. This is in part due to their budget-friendly price point but also has a lot to do with their solid, cold-forged steel construction and triple-plated chrome finish. Be aware, however, that this set of wheel locks will not fit factory Toyota, Honda, Lexus or Scion OEM aluminum wheels.
Compatible with a 19mm hex wrench, these lug nuts are 1.4 inches (35.56mm) long and 0.87 inches (22.1mm) wide with a 60-degree tapered seat and 12mm x 1.5mm thread. They’re available in different set sizes, so it should be fairly easy to buy only the amount you need.
It’s worth noting that the manufacturer recommends installation by professionals, so it doesn’t include an instruction manual. Therefore, if you’re not sure what you’re doing, be prepared to pay extra for installation.
These lug nuts from Muteki are available in sets of 20 and have an extended length of 48mm and a knurled, open-ended design. They’re available in two thread sizes (12mm x 1.25mm and 12 x 1.5mm). They are also compatible with a standard 17mm socket.
The nuts are constructed out of tough chrome vanadium steel, so you can be confident of their strength, but each nut still weighs less than two ounces, so they’re lightweight, too. With a range of different colors, including black, purple, neon chrome, and chrome titanium, you’ll definitely find something to suit your individual style.
However, be aware that the durability of the finish leaves a little to be desired. We also found that these lugs nuts succumb to rust relatively quickly.
Available in a set of 20, these lug nuts from Wheel Accessories are a great value for a low cost. They have a zinc finish and feature an open-end acorn bulge design. You can get them in a variety of sizes with a slight price variation. They are forged from carbon steel and are then heat treated for optimal resistance and strength.
They have a hex style for ease of installation and removal. The benefit of using the bulge acorn style is that there is more seating surface, so they are more secure. They are one piece, so no washer is needed.
Of course, one of the top concerns when purchasing lug nuts is to ensure you get the exact right fit. Otherwise, you have to deal with the return process. Wheel Accessories makes this easy with a highly detailed product page and illustrated graphs to ensure you know what you are getting. Extremely durable and simple in design, these are top-quality lug nuts.
This set of lug nuts from White Knight is sleek and durable. Made with a black chrome finish over alloy steel, it comes in four different sizes. If a 20-pack is too much for your needs, you can also buy a four pack. White Knight also offers a wheel installation kit to ensure you have exactly what you need.
These lug nuts are designed to be corrosion-resistant and are tested repeatedly to ensure durability. As with any lug nut, the main issue you will run across is an improper fit. White Knight does fairly well in offering plenty of information to ensure they suit your needs.
There have been reports that the black chrome finish either doesn't arrive as part of the product or it peels off during installation. There may also be fitment issues, so double check the measurements before making a purchase.
Our Verdict on the Best Lug Nuts
Our overall top pick is the super-stylish, Gorilla Automotive Narrow Acorn Black Lug Kit, which is durable and resistant to scratches and corrosion.
The ever-popular DPAccessories D3116 Acorn Lug Nuts, with triple chrome plating, are our best value option.
Benefits of Lug Nuts
- Function. Lug nuts, or wheel locks, might be tiny and easy to ignore, but they play a massive role in the most basic operation of your car. In short, they hold the wheels on.
- Safety. Properly fitting lug nuts constructed from strong, robust materials will keep you rolling, no matter how bumpy the road gets.
- Performance. If you’re looking to improve your vehicle’s performance by reducing weight, it’s possible to replace the original lug nuts with ones made out of much more lightweight material, such as titanium.
- Cost-effective. On a similar note, if you live in a particularly humid (or just outright wet) climate, you might find that your wheel locks rust and become corroded much quicker than you’d like. Swapping the manufacturer’s lug nuts out for a chrome-plated set will reduce the speed of corrosion and may save you money in the long run.
- Style. They might be one of the smallest and most basic elements of your car, but that doesn’t mean you can’t invest in new lug nuts for entirely aesthetic purposes.
- Security. If you’ve also invested in a set of after-market alloys or fancy rims, you’ll likely need to upgrade your lug nuts to match the new mounting holes. Investing in a set that can’t be removed with a standard socket tool will help deter potential thieves.
Types of Lug Nuts
There are various types of lug nuts available on the market, and the type you need will depend on your specific vehicle and, more importantly, your wheels. The only real difference between one type of lug nut and another is the shape of the seat. The seat is the part of the lug nut that comes into contact with the wheel itself.
Also known as acorn lug nuts, these are the most common type and are described as “conical” because the base tapers in at an angle of approximately 60 degrees. They’re designed to fit conical holes, are straightforward to fit, and easy to center.
As the name suggests, the seat on these lug nuts is spherical or rounded. They are difficult to differentiate from conical seat lug nuts when attached to the wheel because their heads are almost identical.
This type of lug nut is one of the most difficult to fit and center successfully. The seat is flat and resembles a washer.
So-called because they were originally constructed from magnesium, the mag seat lug nut has an extended thread and a washer. They’re generally used when a longer thread is simply required.
- Basic (under $50): You should be able to pick up a set of budget-friendly lug nuts for less than $50. These will likely be chrome-plated and incompatible with anything but the included key. Fortunately, the key is still expected to be fairly user-friendly—just don’t lose it.
- Premium ($100-$200): On the other side of the price scale is where the lug nuts constructed out of cold-forged steel and other high-end alternatives live. You’ll find that they are light, relatively thin-walled and (usually) designed to fit smaller wheels.
Thread Size and Pitch
Lug nuts are screwed onto the threaded bolts—also known as studs—that poke out through the holes in your vehicle’s wheels. For your lug nuts to fit onto these studs, you need to buy ones with compatible thread size and thread pitch. The thread size is the outside diameter of the bolt which then corresponds with the width of the hole in the lug nut. In non-metric studs, the pitch is the number of threads per inch. In metric studs, it’s the distance between the threads in millimeters. The relevant measurements should be in your vehicle manual (unless it’s been modified, in which case you need to check them yourself), or you can measure them with a pitch thread gauge.
This is the part of the lug nut that will ultimately sit against the wheel surface, and there are different shapes to choose from. The most common are acorn (or tapered) seats, ball seats, and flat seats or mag seats, which are also flat but include a separate washer.
Poorly fitting lug nuts can negatively affect both safety and appearance, so it’s important that you measure all the relevant dimensions before buying new ones. This includes the overall length and outside diameter. If you’re after lug nuts with a mag-style seat, you’ll also need to confirm the correct shank length and diameter.
You might be upgrading your lug nuts out of necessity rather than any style decision, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pick a set that looks cool. You can get lug nuts in all kinds of finishes and colors, including black, silver, chrome, and even red and blue. Go wild and choose your favorite!
- The Right Lug Nuts. There are three things that you need to know if you want to buy lug nuts and actually be able to use them: the bolt pattern, the seat type, and the stud size.
- How Many Do You Need? This will depend on how many bolts (or studs) you have on each wheel. Four or five is a pretty good guess, but some vans and SUVs might need as many as eight lug nuts per wheel.
- Style. Upgrading your wheel lug nuts is a simple and subtle way of adding extra style to your vehicle. Consider which color and type will look best on your vehicle.
- Security. Choosing a set of lug nuts that require a non-standard socket tool to remove them will certainly help if you’re worried about theft, but remember that most lug nuts are not really a suitable swap for specially designed wheel locks.
- Know the size of your wheel bolts. The diameter and thread pitch of the lug nuts are big factors in how they fit. Most lug nuts have a 1.5 thread pitch and a diameter of about 12mm.
- Check if the lug nuts are compatible with OEM wheels. Some car manufacturers make vehicle-specific lug nuts. The last thing you want is to buy lug nuts and later find out they aren’t compatible with your car's wheels.
- Do not use machines to install the lug nuts. Install each one by hand. However, you can use a machine after you are sure the lug nut is securely in place to fasten it.
Q: Are lug nuts covered by a warranty?
Reputable companies give a warranty for their products. If you receive defective lug nuts, you can return them. However, it is advisable to seek clarification with the company on its warranty policy.
Q: Can I replace OEM lug nuts with aftermarket lug nuts?
In the past, it was a cardinal rule to stick to OEM lug nuts if the original ones got damaged. But these days, most lug nut manufacturers make precision machined aftermarket lug nuts that fit the wheels of most vehicles.
Q: What type of lug nuts fit my truck?
Trucks typically require longer lug nuts. You have to confirm the length of your wheel studs before purchasing any lug nuts for your truck. However, some lug nuts fit small vehicles as well as trucks.
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