Potential pitfalls with aftermarket rims and wheel nuts…

By Adam Adler

1. A picture of the wheel nuts for a 200 Series LandCruiser aftermarket wheel rim. They don’t have as much purchase on the rim as the factory ones.

With the increase in expensive 4WDs on the market everyone is upgrading them either for functionality or looks. To be honest, when we’re putting so much money into the builds now why wouldn’t we. We take pride in our vehicles and want them to look as sharp as possible.

There’s been a huge growth in the 4WD wheel sector. It has always been there but it seems bigger than ever right now…

We’ve taken a number of steps to work with the rims on the market. Now, with every 4WD we work on, we actually torque each wheel.

Using a rattle gun can do two things. It can over-tighten the wheel nuts; stretching the studs so the next time they are removed they strip the threads; or it could go the other way, they could leave them too loose. Even after using a torque wrench to tighten the wheel nuts it may not always be perfect.

We serviced a 200 Series quite a while back. The customer contacted me after 1500kms of corrugated roads and told me one of the rear wheels had worked its way loose and had damaged the studs.

They had the vehicle repaired but asked me to cover the cost as we were the last to work on the vehicle. Now we 100% tightened the wheel nuts with a torque wrench and did everything we could to ensure the wheels were OK but sometimes things can happen.

I did cover the cost of the repair for the customer. During the conversation with the customer he mentioned that he usually checked the wheel nuts and was actually thinking about checking them but hadn’t.

Some will say that it’s not our fault, corrugations do that, and a simple check of the wheel nuts was required. Others will condemn me and shoot us down saying we should have done something different.

Either way I don’t really care what people think. If I didn’t write about this then I wouldn’t be doing my job properly.

2. A factory wheel nut to suit the standard wheel rims. They have a much larger mating surface with the rim and the extra large washer also helps to grip onto the rim.

You see, having the ability to write articles for a magazine like 4WD Touring Australia also gives me a responsibility to tell you all about our experiences.

My responsibility is to do my best to stop things like this from happening again, so to do my job properly I must tell you what happened and I’m sure it has happened to many other workshops.

Looking at the design of the aftermarket rims and the wheel nuts that come with the they are very different to the standard set up from Toyota. The Toyota rims have a large washer that aids to grip the rim and the wheel nut to hold the wheel tight.

A lot of aftermarket rims have these small wheel nuts with tapered nuts that don’t have as much of a purchase on the rim as the factory wheel nuts.

This is not only limited to the 200 Series LandCruiser, for years we have heard this happening on the GU Patrols. These days all the new 4WDs have been moving to aftermarket rims and the wheel nuts all seem to be the same. It is just on the 200 Series there is such a noticeable difference on the factory wheel nuts compared to the aftermarket.

To be honest I do believe it’s the owner’s responsibility to some degree to carry out certain checks on their own vehicle, especially when they are out travelling. Checking the wheel nuts is one simple check that should be done every morning before you travel.

Torquing up the wheel nuts after having had the wheel off during a service. We always do this now and ask the customers to check the wheel nuts after 500 and 1000kms.

If work has been carried out on the 4WD we are now talking with customers and are recommending them to check their own wheel nuts after 500 and 1000kms to be sure.





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