Many European cars use lug bolts to secure the wheels. A lug bolt features a threaded stem attached to a conical/ball seat that matches the wheel insert. Unlike lug nuts, lug bolts fasten the wheel and brake rotor directly onto the hub. Equipping your vehicle with the correct lug bolts is very important to ensure the safe and reliable mounting of the wheels. If you’ve ever changed your stock wheels to aftermarket wheels, you’d know that there are various types of lug bolts. You may even find it hard when realizing your old lug bolts don’t fit on your new wheels. According to the specific wheel or purpose, the style of your lug bolt may vary in thread length, seat type, head shape, and thread pitch. So how to figure out which ones to meet your need?
How to Choose Your Lug Bolts?
Wheel lug bolts are designed to ‘stretch’ a certain amount when torqued to the manufacturer-specified spec. This stretch allows the bolts to make a strong mechanical connection to the threads on the vehicle hub. Common seat types of the bolts include conical seat, ball seat, flat seat, etc. If you use current wheels, and would like to upgrade to higher performance bolts, just keep the same lug seat. If you get aftermarket wheels, make sure you have lug bolts that will fit properly. Once you know which type of lug bolt you need, always be sure to have the correct thread pitch and wheel torque specifications. Otherwise, the bolts may not be able to properly secure the wheel to the vehicle hub. Improper installation of bolts leads to vibration, broken the wheel combination or even your wheel falling off the car! It’s essential to be aware of the lug head shape. Most lug bolts have a hex shape that is designed for fitting a range of regular sockets. Some lug bolts’ diameter are commonly designed for specific aftermarket wheels and will require an adapter for installation/removal. Others have a spline-like shape. They are called locking lug bolts, which require a dedicated pattern lug key for installation/removal. If you purchase aftermarket lug bolts, make sure that you have the hardware to be able to install/remove your lug bolts.
What Do Lock Bolts Mean?
This type of lug bolts refers to the bolts with spline grooves on the head and require a special key. When the key with hex socket inserts sets the bolt inside, the spline drive key fits around the outside grooves of the bolt. This allows you to install/remove the locking bolts. The requirement of a unique tool reduces the risk of stripping the lug bolt and prevent the wheel from theft. Like the common aftermarket wheel bolts, these are widely found on aftermarket wheel applications. Furthermore, they add security for your wheels. Meanwhile, their smaller head diameter makes them lighter than other types of lug bolts. This makes them popular among many performance-conscious track enthusiasts.