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By pgwerner, July 29, 2012

I've been putting together an roadside kit for my car and splurged a bit on a decent torque wrench and socket for the lug nuts on my Corolla. I felt like this would be a good thing to have to torque the lug nuts just right if I need to have an emergency tire change, based on a previous bad experience where I had a roadside change done and the towtruck operator *overtorqued* the lug nut, resulting in damaged threads on the lug itself and an expensive replacement.

Anyway, I haven't actually tried removing a tire with the torque wrench yet, and was wondering if that tool is sufficient to loosen and remove lug nuts, or whether I'd still need an old-school 4-bar lug wrench on hand as well.

No - use a regular 4-way lug wrench or breaker bar for removing the lugs. A torque wrench should only be used to tighten to a preset value. Otherwise, you could throw off the calibration or damage the torque wrench.

I use a 1/2" drive ratchet wrench to spin the lugs on/off when loose, then switch to the old-style straight-bar torque wrench to tighten to spec. I aim for just over 80 lb.ftf. BTW I messed up one of my front wheel lugs and had to replace it. Found the replacement at Advance Auto Parts OK, but had a devil of a time getting the old one out using a nut extractor kit at the Dover AFB Auto Hobby shop! A video of that process would have been quite hilarious to most of you guys!

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