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  1. #1

    Default Overtightening of lugnuts and oil drain plug

    Hi. I searched but couldn't find an answer. I have a 2010 Silverado WT with a 4.3L V6. I bought it new and let the dealer do the oil changes and tire rotations. I decided that since money is getting tight right now that I can save some money by rotating my own tires and changing my own oil, and I actually miss doing this work myself. I start with the oil change. I get it on ramps and take a look. Looks easy enough. (My last truck was a 1990 with a 305 and I did all the routine maintenance for the 13 years I drove it. So besides resetting the computerized nonsense this should not be any harder.) I get my ratchet out and try to remove the oil drain plug. Damn its tight! Oops it slipped and rounded the edges of the plug a bit. I didn't want to mess anything up and decided to take it to the dealer one more time to do these services. When I ask them to change the oil and rotate the tires I also ask them if they can use hand tools instead of air powered impact wrenches to tighten the drain plug and lug nuts so that they are not so tight that I can't use my own hand tools at home if I decide to work on my truck myself. Well of coarse the the service manager tells me he can't hand tighten the lug nuts on the tires because it will be a safety issue because the lug nuts will work their way off while driving, and same with the oil drain plug. So I ask him is this something that all new trucks need? I changed my own oil and rotated my tires with my 1990 for the thirteen years I owned it and never had it fall apart or anything come loose after tightening them with my own hand powered tools. He didn't know what to say to that. So I told him if your not comfortable using your hand tools than just do it your way. I didn't have any fight in me at the time and my oil needed changing.

    So what I want to know is do I need to buy and air compressor and impact wrenches and whatnot to just change oil and rotate tires?, or if I find a way to loosen these parts by hand is it alright to use my hand powered ratchet and my hand power lug nut wrench and my own power to tighten the lug nuts and the drain plug like I did with my old truck? Or is something different on these new trucks? Because I don't want parts falling off my truck because I didn't use an air powered impact wrench.

    I'm pretty sure the service manager is BSing with me. Also, the one time I had work done on the brakes of my old 1990 truck the dealer tightened its lug nuts so tight I busted the wrench that came with the truck for removing the tires. So if this is the case if I ever got a flat on my new truck that has had its lugs overtightened it would be pointless to try to put the spare on it. I would just possibly destroy another factory lug wrench or just bust my gut trying to loosen the lug nuts.

    (On a side note I also found out the hard way that there is only one headlight bulb that can be replaced without having to take the whole front of the truck apart. Damn! vehicles have gotten dumb in 20 years. I figured technology would have made them easier to own, but instead it just made 10-20min repair jobs go to 2-3hr jobs!)

  2. #2

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    The simple answer is no you do not need impact tools to complete these tasks. I use a combo wrench to remove my oil drain plug. I would suggest you check your owners manual for the lug torque spec but I think it is around 140 lb/ft.

    And if you have to go to a dealership for something I would find another one if this guy is trying to feed you this line of BS!!!





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  3. #3
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    The only thing I have to say is, they work for a flat rate per job so they're going to do it as fast as possible, whether it's right or wrong.

    Also with aluminum wheels if you have them, they should never be mounted with an impact. Do people do it, YES is it right NO. Always use a torque wrench with the correct setting.
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  4. #4
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    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by RedTruck! View Post
    Hi. I searched but couldn't find an answer. I have a 2010 Silverado WT with a 4.3L V6. I bought it new and let the dealer do the oil changes and tire rotations. I decided that since money is getting tight right now that I can save some money by rotating my own tires and changing my own oil, and I actually miss doing this work myself. I start with the oil change. I get it on ramps and take a look. Looks easy enough. (My last truck was a 1990 with a 305 and I did all the routine maintenance for the 13 years I drove it. So besides resetting the computerized nonsense this should not be any harder.) I get my ratchet out and try to remove the oil drain plug. Damn its tight! Oops it slipped and rounded the edges of the plug a bit. I didn't want to mess anything up and decided to take it to the dealer one more time to do these services. When I ask them to change the oil and rotate the tires I also ask them if they can use hand tools instead of air powered impact wrenches to tighten the drain plug and lug nuts so that they are not so tight that I can't use my own hand tools at home if I decide to work on my truck myself. Well of coarse the the service manager tells me he can't hand tighten the lug nuts on the tires because it will be a safety issue because the lug nuts will work their way off while driving, and same with the oil drain plug. So I ask him is this something that all new trucks need? I changed my own oil and rotated my tires with my 1990 for the thirteen years I owned it and never had it fall apart or anything come loose after tightening them with my own hand powered tools. He didn't know what to say to that. So I told him if your not comfortable using your hand tools than just do it your way. I didn't have any fight in me at the time and my oil needed changing.

    So what I want to know is do I need to buy and air compressor and impact wrenches and whatnot to just change oil and rotate tires?, or if I find a way to loosen these parts by hand is it alright to use my hand powered ratchet and my hand power lug nut wrench and my own power to tighten the lug nuts and the drain plug like I did with my old truck? Or is something different on these new trucks? Because I don't want parts falling off my truck because I didn't use an air powered impact wrench.

    I'm pretty sure the service manager is BSing with me. Also, the one time I had work done on the brakes of my old 1990 truck the dealer tightened its lug nuts so tight I busted the wrench that came with the truck for removing the tires. So if this is the case if I ever got a flat on my new truck that has had its lugs overtightened it would be pointless to try to put the spare on it. I would just possibly destroy another factory lug wrench or just bust my gut trying to loosen the lug nuts.

    (On a side note I also found out the hard way that there is only one headlight bulb that can be replaced without having to take the whole front of the truck apart. Damn! vehicles have gotten dumb in 20 years. I figured technology would have made them easier to own, but instead it just made 10-20min repair jobs go to 2-3hr jobs!)
    the install of the lug nuts should not be done with a air gun .... this results in damage to the rotors. I use a torque wrench and torque to 120 ft lbs in two passes. first is 50 ft lbs then the 2nd 120 ft lbs. this is for my 2000 4wd 1500 SILVERADO. after I drive a few miles I then re-torque to the 120 ft lbs ........

    use a wire brush to clean off any corrosion on the rotor/drum surface ..this reduces the lugs to loosen.............................


    ON THE OIL PAN DRAIN PLUG the torque is 15ft lbs a little more than a spark plug .

    on all these you use 6 point sockets only ...this will prevent damage to the fasteners ...


    with a very highly improperly torqued stud/nut/drain plug you can use a piece of pipe over the ratchet handle to increase you rotating force or using a box wrench 6 point hit the opposite end with a hammer by taping the wench much like an air gun would.

    many suffer the effects of the tire shop/dealership damage done with the air gun wheel hardware when the need to change a tire and find it is impossible. this is because the sockets they use are worn . this causes the fasteners to get rounded off. now you will find it impossible to remove.
    Last edited by j cat; 04-23-2013 at 01:04 PM.

  5. #5

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    I can confirm 120ft-lbf on the lugs...

  6. #6

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    My manual and the dealership that I asked call for 140 on the lug nut torque. Heck who knows they could both be wrong. But, I have been torquing the lugs on my 2002, 2003, and 2005 at that for 10 years and never had any issues with rotor warpage. My dealer and the engineers that I asked at the GM tech center told me that the proper torque spec for the drain plug on a 5.3L with aluminum oil pan is 22.5 ft/lb. I have also been torquing all three trucks at this with no issues. With spark plugs, I have been torquing them to 132 in/lb with each truck. As far as needing air tools to do the job goes, I have a compressor and impact tools. I never bother to use it for a tire rotation/brake job. I do exactly as J-cat stated and torque the lugs down in steps using a torque wrench. You can get a pretty good deal on a craftsman torque wrench when they are on sale. I have noticed that dealers tend to over torque lug nuts. The first thing I do when we buy a new car is take it home and break the lug nuts loose with a breaker bar and retorque to the proper torque spec. It sucks to get a flat and not be able to break the lugs loose on the side of the road.

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  7. #7

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    One of my favorite peeves - I HATE tire shops, I could go into a rant real easy ! You ought to see what some of those gorillas do to Budd type truck lugs - plum scary ! That shop forman should be demoted to sweeping the floor. Mister jcat has it right ! If I could add anything it would yet another wheel torque after a few miles. Especially with aluminum wheels.

  8. #8
    Sr. Engineer nickgiacalone's Avatar
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    I third the 120 ft/lb of torque on the lug nuts for a 1500. The specs on my last truck (2500HD) was 140 ft/ lb

  9. #9

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    Thanks for the info. I knew I was getting lies from the dealer.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickgiacalone View Post
    I third the 120 ft/lb of torque on the lug nuts for a 1500. The specs on my last truck (2500HD) was 140 ft/ lb
    yes the 140 ft LBS on the 2500 is what I have seen . heavier tire/wheel ..

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