Fixing a Sheared-Off or Cross-Threaded Lug Stud (With Video)
This article, with video, shows how to deal with both a sheared-off lug stud—a lug stud that breaks into the lug nut because it was cross-threaded on too tight—and a lug stud that has to be replaced because the threads are stripped beyond repair.
The reason why I do all my own auto repair and service is not that I'm super cheap ... it's that most shops assign simple services to their newest entry-level technicians, and they often mess it up. They torque on oil pan bolts with a powered impact tool and then you can't get the bolt off again, or the oil pan threads get damaged. Or doing a tire rotation, they use the wrong size impact socket, and so they round off the lug nut points so that next time the correct sized socket won't work. Or they put on the lug nut with a power impact tool without bothering to screw it on by hand first, and so they cross-thread the lug studs.
I may sound somewhat critical. People do make mistakes. But when I mess up, I take ownership of the mishap and fix it. Or if I can't for some reason, I inform the customer and they're generally forgiving because they appreciate my honesty. The low-level technicians, on the other hand, will keep torquing down the nut or bolt until it's tight and leave the problem to the next guy to fix.
Video on How to Replace a Broken or Damaged Lug Stud
This 2.5-minute video with step-by-step instructions shows the replacement of a broken lug stud and a lug stud with stripped threads on a 2004 Honda Accord. The steps are also described lower down in the article.
Step-by-Step Instructions: Replacing a Broken or Damaged Lug Stud
I. Remove the Brake Caliper Assembly and Brake Rotor
I'm assuming your car has disc brakes on all four corners.
1. Remove the brake caliper assembly off the steering knuckle (front wheel) or knuckle (rear wheel) of the car. Support the assembly as to not put stress on the brake hose.
2. Remove the brake rotor. If the rotor is stuck, a few sharp blows with a ball peen hammer between the lug studs should vibrate the rotor loose.
II. Punching out the Damaged Lug Stud(s)
The studs have connection splines that allows a tight fit inside the wheel hub hole. There are specialty tools that can press out the lug studs, but a few sharp blows with a hammer works for me. The hammer blows will not damage the wheel bearings.
III. Installing the New Stud Lugs
If the steering knuckle or a wheel hub/bearing assembly does not allow the head of the new lug stud to angle into the wheel hub hole, you can grind off a portion of the head to allow clearance into the wheel hub hole. If the brake dust shield is also in the path of the new lug stud, and the dust shield cannot be removed (like on the Honda), see if there's a low point on the shield that can be bent to allow a path for the lug stud. A few light taps with a hammer is all you should need to get the lug stud through the wheel hub hole.
IV. Torquing the Stud Lug Into the Wheel Hub
Place a spacer, like an oversized nut, between the stud lug protruding out of the wheel hub hole and screw on the lug nut. Apply torque to the lug nut (preferably with a powered impact tool) to pull the splines on the lug stud into the wheel hub hole. When the head of the stud is flush with the wheel hub, you're done.
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