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Yes, I use one and yes you should buy one. (or two - One large and one small) They come in handy not only for wheel lugs, but just about any DIY project. I have a nasty tendancy to overtorque everything, so having a torque wrenches has saved me untold nightmares.
Always. I carry a spare cheapie Harbor Freight in my truck. At home I have a Snap-On 3/8 in. flex head (most used), 1/2 Snap-On, a Bonney 600# 1/2 inch, 2 cheapie Harbor Freights, and a very old Craftsman beam type. Every spark plug, wheel lug, etc gets torqued. Maybe not quite correctly, but torqued.
I saw a car loose a wheel because of over torqued lug nuts. Over the years the streching weakened them and finally they gave way. Fortunately the damage was not serious, but it could have been. It made me into a believer.
With the vintage racer I crew on, we torque them every time we go out on the track, even if we haven't pulled a wheel. We torque them to 80 lb, but I will say that the battery impact gun I use, seems to torque them right at 80 lb too.
it depends on the wheel. but generally i don't because I've tightened enough wheels with one to know about how much to tighten them. i would always use one on rod bolts etc.
Same here. Checked hand tightening with one several times in the past and was surprised how close to actual torque the lugs nuts were. Never had a problem with loose wheels in over 50 years.
Of course, use one all the time on engine assembly.
I frequently do brake jobs, etc. for friends, I'm always pulling wheels off. As a habit I always torque them. I don't want one of my friend's wheels falling off because I got in too much of a hurry.
Some thirty years ago I was out ripping around a back road in a sports car when the overloaded right front wheel (whose screw-in studs had been stripped by an ignorant mechanic) parted company, rolling under the car and launching it into the air where it did a half-spin and came down backwards against a rock face, nearly totaling the car.
After that I became a little more careful how I install lug nuts...
I always do so that I can remove the lugs if I have a flat. Impact wrenches can put them on so tight that the small lug wrench in the car can't remove them. 80ft.lbs. also. mike...
Yes, 80 is what I use, cross-ways of course. I understand those who say they "know" the proper torque by hand. And in fact I come very close by "feel" after many years of doing the job. I just like to take the one step further and verify. Doesn't hurt.