Know how to keep your 1993-current Ford F-150 Lightning wheels securely on your truck with the correct wheel torque specs guide from LMR.com!
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Wheel torque is the force needed to secure your wheels to your car correctly. Wheel torque is measured in “pound-feet” (lb-ft or ft/lbs). The manufacturer, in this case, Ford Motor Company, has determined a specific rating for each model year based on the wheel side, the number of wheel studs, and the size of those studs. An example of this would be for a 1993 Ford SVT Lightning; the wheel torque would be within a range of 100 lb-ft. of torque. The 2000-2004 Gen 2 and 2022+ Gen 3 Lightning has larger wheel studs, so this torque rating has increased up to 150 ft/lbs. of torque.
To ensure the correct torque for each wheel, your local trusted professional or experienced go-getter will use a torque wrench or even a torque stick to achieve the proper specs when installing or reinstalling a set of wheels. The torque wrench is preferred because of its accuracy and adjustability, greatly reducing the chances of improper installation and incorrect torque being applied. So, to answer the question of “what torque should lug nuts be” on the Lightning, see our chart above!
Now we know what wheel torque is and what specifications the manufacturer recommended for each model year Lightning, from the Gen 1 platform to the Gen 3 Lightning.
Removal of your lug nuts does not have to be in any particular order. Break the lug nuts free while the wheels are still on the ground. This will make your job much easier. Once your Lightning is safely secured on jack stands or using the Ford scissor jack in your trunk, remove the lug nuts with a cross lug tool or your lug wrench, one at a time, from your wheel.
Now that the wheels are removed, you can perform whichever service is needed, whether that is repair, replacing your tires, or upgrading to a new set of SVE Wheels! When it comes time to reinstall the wheels, pay close attention when threading on the lug nuts. You do not want to cross-thread the lug nuts on the wheel studs, so thread your lug nuts by hand before using your power tools. Once you have verified that the threads are not damaged and have hand-spun on the lug nuts, you can use your wrench or impact tool to snug them up. Once each wheel has been reinstalled, lower the car to the ground and grab your torque wrench. Torque each lug nut in an alternating or star pattern. This will ensure that pressure is dispersed evenly across the wheel hub to help prevent possible damage!
The damage that could result from incorrectly installing the wheels with proper torque includes but is not limited to damage to your brake rotors, lug nuts, wheel studs, or even improperly balanced wheels!
Brake rotors undertake a lot of abuse from daily driving. As a result, they get quite hot, and if torque is not evenly spread across the lugs, different pressures can cause the rotors to warp, resulting in vibration in your steering wheel. The only way to fix this is to replace the rotors and correctly torque the lug nuts. This can also lead to imbalanced wheels. With excessive torque on the wheel hub, one portion of the wheel may not be torqued with the same pressure, which will cause the wheel to spin erratically. Because of this, tire damage can also occur over time if the correct torque is not performed.
Damage to the wheel studs and lug nuts can happen by overtightening or under-torquing your wheels. For example, the 1993-1995 Lightning takes 100 lb/ft of torque. If the 2000-current lightning spec is used with 150 lb/ft of torque, the wheel studs could break, or the lug nut could end up stripping threads. While each of these does not sound like a major issue, they can lead to significant safety issues if multiple wheel studs or lug nuts become damaged. Under torquing, wheels can also result in stripped wheel studs and damaged lug nuts due to the wheel vibrating or wobbling while driving.
Though often overlooked, proper wheel torque is a paramount detail you do not want to ignore. Educating yourself with the proper knowledge can save you time and money and keep you and others safe while on the road. Whether you have a Mustang or a Lightning, ensure you or your qualified technician torque your wheels to manufacturers' specifications with proper tools like a torque wrench!