man putting on wheel

The Different Types of Lug Nuts Used to Secure Car Wheels

The nuts and bolts of your car are so important. They are such little things—but not paying close attention to them could have serious implications. 

In a recent ruling in Michigan, the state’s court of appeals ruled that a mechanic could literally rotate your tires but not legally perform a tire rotation if they did not tighten the lug nuts for your tires. 

The bottom line with that one is that you have to look out for numero uno and numero uno’s car. And a good place to start knowing your car (if you don’t already) is with the nuts and bolts of your car, specifically the types of lug nuts your car needs. 

If you don’t know the type, or like many, didn’t know that there was more than one type of lug nut, then you’ve landed on the right post. 

Stick around to learn which lug nut is right for you. 

Before We Talk About Types of Lug Nuts

Just to make sure we are on the same page: it’s a large, heavy-duty nut with a different type of face on it on one side. 

These nuts are paired with and fasten things together with an attached heavy-duty bolt. In this context, lug nuts attach tires to wheel structures. 

Professionals use specialized tools such as a torque wrench for lug nuts to ensure that lug nuts are fastened properly to their bolt. 

The different types of lug nuts come from the difference in the shaping of the business end, or the seat of the nut that contacts the rim. 

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Key considerations are proper diameter, length and thread diameter. These can differ widely even within the same type of lug nut. 

Conical/Tapper Lug Nut

These are also called acorn lug nuts in some circles. 

The face of these lug nuts tapper in a straight line into a cone shape around the threaded hole for the lug nut. These are the most common lug nut for many, mostly American-designed cars. 

Ball-seat/Spherical Lug Nut

These are similar to conical or tapper lug nuts. But instead of tapper in a straight line, they taper with a rounded, ball or sphere shape. Ther are widely used as well but not on the same scale as the conical/tapper lug nuts. They are found on some Audis, Volkswagons, and Hondas. 

Flat-seat Lug Nut

These are the simplest lug nut. They often look like nuts that are used in other applications. Often, they are not closed-ended and can travel the full length of the bolt. 

They are also troublesome to use because they are usually very low profile, meaning they are smaller and don’t have the same girth of other nuts. 

Tighten down on What You Need

Lug nuts play a vital role in the safety of your vehicle. Understanding them is also a key part of understanding how the whole wheel structure works. This allows you to learn more about how to care for your vehicle. 

See our other reading recommendations to you on the right. Be sure to keep on learning about your auto with our latest in news and trends. 

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