Why Is It Unsafe to Drive with a Broken Wheel Stud?

is Driving with a Broken Wheel Stud Safe

When it comes to the safety of our vehicles, many components demand our immediate attention when they fail or break. One such crucial part is the wheel stud. Mounted on the vehicle wheel assembly, it is a small but vital component that secures the car wheels when fastened with a lug nut. 

Think what would happen if a wheel stud loses grip or breaks off. Will it be safe to continue driving with a broken wheel stud? Here we’ll answer these questions while exploring the risks involved and the symptoms to watch out for.

Is Driving with a Broken Wheel Stud Safe?

is it safe to drive with a broken wheel stud
Loosened or broken wheel studs affect essential wheel assembly parts, such as bearings, ball joints, drums, etc.

The simple answer is no. It is not safe to drive with a broken wheel stud. The wheel stud helps maintain the connection between the wheel and the vehicle. 

When a stud breaks, it loosens the wheel’s attachment, putting additional pressure on the lug nuts. It affects other essential wheel assembly parts, such as bearings, ball joints and disc brakes or drums. Furthermore, such a situation can cause a vehicle to lose control and pose unavoidable safety risks.

Is It Harmful to Drive with a Missing Lug Nut?

Driving with a missing lug nut may not be as harmful as in the case of a broken wheel stud. However, it is recommended to get the missing lug nut replaced with to avoid any potential damage. Moreover, avoid driving at all if there is more than one lug nut missing. It can cause unusual stress on wheels and tyres, which can be quite harmful and risky.

What Causes the Wheel Stud to Break Off or Become Loose?

Causes of bad wheel stud
A wheel stud is fastened with a lug nut to secure the wheel

Now let’s take a look at the common causes of a broken wheel stud:

Improper Installation of Lug Nuts

Over-tightening of lug nuts when fastening them to secure the tyre causes stress on the wheel stud. Therefore, it is important not to take any risks and ensure to follow the right technique and tools while installing or uninstalling lug nuts.

Corrosion and Rust

Exposure to changing environmental conditions and road debris can cause corrosion and rust to develop on the wheel studs. This weakens their structural integrity, making them prone to breakage.

Damaged wheel hub

Damage to the wheel hub, such as from an accident or striking a curb is among the common causes of bad wheel alignment. This can result in the bending or breaking of wheel studs. Preventing wheel hub damage is one of the obvious reasons why you avoid potholes or other types of road surface impacts.

Stripped Thread

If wheel stud threads are stripped due to wear and tear, it loosens the grip of lug nuts. Due to this problem, the wheel may not securely attach to the hub. To prevent this, regularly inspect the wheel studs, as well as lug nuts, for damage and replace them if necessary.

Broken Wheel Stud Symptoms

is it safe to drive with a broken wheel stud
Loosened or broken wheel studs affect essential wheel assembly parts, such as bearings, ball joints, drums, etc.

Some prominent indicators of a broken or loosened wheel stud are listed as follows:

Wheel Wobbling 

A broken wheel stud can impact the wheel balancing of a car causing the wheels to wobble. Such an issue also impacts the control and stability of a car on the road. This is what happens when a wheel stud breaks

Loose Wheel Nuts

In case of encountering loose or detached wheel nuts, the very first thing to do is to inspect the wheel studs for any loosing or wear and tear.

Noises and Vibrations

A broken wheel stud may cause car noises you should not ignore or excess vibrations, especially when turning or driving at higher speeds.

Welding a wheel stud is not recommended and is generally considered unsafe. Wheel studs are critical components that hold the wheel securely to its hub. That said, any welding done on wheel studs can compromise their strength. Instead, it is advised to go for a long-term solution, such as replacing the broken wheel stud with a new one. 

How to Replace a Broken Wheel Stud: Step-By-Step Process

how to replace a broken wheel stud
Step-by-step process of replacing a broken wheel stud

Replacing a broken wheel stud requires some mechanical knowledge and proper equipment. If you feel comfortable executing such a task yourself, follow these general steps to replace a broken wheel stud. Keep in mind that these steps may vary slightly depending on your vehicle’s make and model. If available, consult the vehicle’s manual for specific instructions:

  • Gather the necessary tools, such as need a lug wrench, jack, jack stands, a hammer, a punch or drift, a socket set, and a new wheel stud.
  • Park the vehicle on a flat surface and engage the parking brake. 
  • Loosen the lug nuts on the wheel with the broken stud but do not remove them yet.
  • Use the jack to lift the side of the vehicle where the broken stud is located. 
  • Place jack stands securely under the vehicle to provide additional support. You can also take help from this guide on how to use a jack to safely lift a car.
  • Remove the lug nuts and locate the broken stud.
  • Using a hammer strike the stud from the backside (where the wheel mounts) to push it out. It may require several strong hits to remove the stud completely.
  • Insert the new wheel stud into the hole from the backside. Make sure it is aligned properly with the other studs. If needed, apply a small amount of lubricant to ease installation.
  • Place a few flat washers over the threaded end of the stud, then thread a lug nut onto the stud. 
  • Tighten the lug nut gradually, using a socket wrench, until the new stud is pulled through the hub and fully seated.
  • Place the wheel back onto the hub, ensuring it is aligned with the remaining studs. 
  • Use the jack to lower the vehicle until the wheel is touching the ground. Finish tightening the lug nuts with a lug wrench, ensuring they are securely fastened.
  • After a short drive, recheck the lug nuts to ensure they are properly tightened.

If you are unsure about any of the aforementioned steps, it is advised to seek the help of a certified auto technician for proper wheel stud replacement. 

This marks the end of our comprehensive piece on driving with a broken wheel stud potential risks, causes and symptoms. It’s important to properly maintain the wheel hub assemblies of a car for a smooth and safe driving experience.

When buying a car in the UAE, make sure there are no performance issues with its wheel hub assemblies and other related components before closing the deal. Here are some wheel hub failure symptoms that you should know about.

Stay connected with the dubizzle car blog – your go-to source for guides on auto parts and repairs.


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