Wheel Nut / Wheel Stud Tightening.
Today I’m going to talk about the importance of tightening your caravan wheel nuts or wheel studs before every journey.
I my opinion it’s the number “pre flight check” during my time in the industry wheels coming loose was the most common cause of damage to a caravan,usually it was the kerbside wheel that came loose first.
- Torque wrench with short socket extension bar
- Correct size socket to fit the nuts/studs (I recommend a high tensile “impact socket”)
- Large bladed screw driver
- Correct torque setting for your caravan (found in your handbook or weight data plate)
NB. MAKE SURE THE CARAVAN HANDBRAKE IS FULLY ON BEFORE STARTING THIS PROCEDURE.
- Remove if fitted the plastic trim covers to reveal the nuts/studs
- Set torque wrench to required setting on the scale
- Attach the short extension and correct size socket to the torque wrench
- Tighten the nuts or studs in the correct sequence
- Double check the setting and check them again
- Slacken torque wrench back to zero
- Remove the plastic wheel trims if fitted carefully prying the trim away from the wheel rim using the bladed screwdriver (only remove the trim if you cannot clearly get to the nuts/studs).
Check for the correct wheel nut/stud torque, this is either in the caravan handbook or on the weight data plate on the side of the caravan or contact your local dealer or the manufacturer for this setting. Most torque wrenches have a knurled locking wheel at the base of the handle to lock and unlock the setting of the wrench. Undo the knob and turn the handle to select the correct setting on the scale once the correct N/M number has been selected tighten the lock wheel.
- Clip together the short extension bar and the correct size high tensile impact socket to the torque wrench and you are ready to go.
It is important you tighten the wheel nuts/studs in the correct sequence. Assuming number 1 is at the top of the wheel… The sequence is 1-3-5-2-4.
- Make sure you hold the wrench between both hands, one hand on the handle and the other supporting the extension bar so it keeps the socket snugly fitted to the wheel nut /stud. One click of the ratchet is the indication of correct tightness so you must stop tightening when you hear this click as to not over tighten the nut/stud.
To tighten with a normal right hand thread the movement is clockwise.
- Repeat method 4 to double check the torque settings.
Always release locking wheel and slacken the torque wrench back to zero to avoid stretching the torque setting mechanism within the wrench.
Once you are “down and dirty” you can also check your tyre pressures and inspect the tyres for damage perishing or incorrect wear. Pay attention to the side walls for perishing or kerbing damage and also check in between the treads for any sign of age related perishing or wear.
Tyre age and suitability is a whole new complicated subject which I will deal with another day.
“Always check and be safe”